PART 3 CHURCH TEACHINGS
To Learn How to Grow Spiritually and Love Ourselves
How can I experience God’s presence on a more consistent basis?
I think for many of us, this is what we aspire to. If there could be a close second or maybe this would be your first priority, it might be centered upon this question.
How can I learn how to address those areas of human weakness in my life?
Whether these weaknesses are attributed to those inclinations of our sin nature that have a genetical association or whether they be those that have become pronounced in our life due to being in subjection to the abuse by others which can have detrimental effects on us, these can be a contributing factor in seeking a mental release from the continual mental pain by engaging in a semi-conscious state of relief through alcohol or drug abuse. They can influence us by creating a desire within to join a particular group that advocates inflicting dominance over others. They can also cause us to want to lash out at others whose life evidences the kinds of attainments that we wish we could have achieved but were unable.
Now that we are on solid ground as to learning about the Foundational Doctrines of the faith, what are those doctrines that will help us grow spiritually and love ourselves? Are you ready to find out what these are all about? Let’s get started.
The next step is that we should learn how to grow spiritually and love ourselves. This could be one of the most if not the most misunderstood doctrine of the Christian faith. Unfortunately, spiritual growth is often confused with volunteering to participate in church functions and doing good for others. While we should participate in church functions and do good for others, this should not be the main emphasis of church teaching or of our involvement with it. I will call these doctrines, Spiritual Growth Doctrines. If you learn these and apply them to your life, you will begin to love yourself with a new perspective. This will in turn help you to love others and deal with the circumstances of life in a manner that glorifies God and evidences His life to others.
You might be thinking, really, do you have to start with teaching on this doctrine. Sometimes, I don’t think we realize how important this is. This is extremely important. Let’s find out why.
Confess our sins
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This seems like an odd recommendation. Why would this benefit me, if all of my sins were already paid for and forgiven at the cross?
For many church goers, sin is considered to be that which involves an overt action. Sin, however, is not just what we exhibit in our behavior, it also has to do with what we think or say. Being jealous of someone in our thoughts is just as much a sin as taking (stealing) for our self what someone else has.
Scripture admonishes us to confess (admit ourselves guilty of what we are accused of) our sin to God the Father, and to whomsoever we have offended. We should do this, because believe it or not we are actually benefitted by it in three ways. The first has to do with being reconciled with the person, whom we might have offended. The second and third reasons have to do with the word forgive. Secondly, when we confess our sins, God the Father is faithful to forgive us of our sins. This means that He removes from us the chastisement or discipline that He would have instituted if we hadn’t confessed them. And thirdly, another benefit of confessing our sins is that we are restored to fellowship with God the Father along with recovering the filling (control; rule) of the Holy Spirit. If you are wondering what it means to be under the filling of the Spirit, we will take a look at this in the next chapter.
Yes, it’s true that every persons’ sins were paid for and forgiven on the cross. But this has to do with satisfying God’s justice. However, receiving God’s forgiveness in time has to do with our walk with Him.
I have heard from fellow believers, who have stated that confessing their sins is a waste of time, because they mentally sin throughout the day. They would say that confessing didn’t stop them from sinning again and again, so why continue to do it? I understand what they were saying, because I went through this myself following my spiritual conversion. After I eventually found a Spirit-filled church and began attending to the worship services on a consistent basis, I would notice that when the service was over and I was on my way home carnal thoughts would creep in. I would confess them, and then they would come right back. What was I to do to address this madness? The answer to this dilemma is what we will take a look at next.
I finally came to the realization that there was something I could do to limit the confession of sins and that is recovery.
What is recovery?
Recovery means to choose to reflect upon in my thoughts God’s perspective as it relates to a particular area of human weakness or human strength in my life. You might say, I don’t understand what you mean. What this is really all about is what is called the renewing of the mind. Let’s take a look at this next.
The renewing of the mind
Romans 12:2b … but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The apostle Paul is instructing the Christians at Rome to be transformed by the renewing of their mind. The word transformed in the Greek means inward transformation; to appear as new people with new habits; of a person changing his outward expression from that which he has to a different one, an expression which comes from and is representative of his inner being.22
So, what causes inward transformation in the believer?
It’s by having our minds renewed that brings about inward transformation. The words renewing of your mind in the Greek means the changing into new views and feelings; a complete change for the better of the believers’ mental processes; as the mind keeps on being made new by the spiritual input of God's Word, … his lifestyle keeps on being transformed23; as you spend time meditating on God's Word, memorizing it, and making it a part of your inner man, God will gradually make your mind more spiritual.24
Do you understand what this verse is saying? It’s saying that it’s not obedience to the do’s and don’ts of religion that brings about inner transformation. It’s not knowing backward and forward the doctrinal platform of the church. It’s not obeying leadership as to whatever their commands are for us to participate in. What is it, it’s addressing each and every aspect of our old sin nature, i.e. worldly thoughts pertaining to jealousy, lying, stealing, fornication, extortion, etc. by replacing them with how we should think what the divine perspective is in relation to these areas?
Colossians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
So, how does this pertain to recovery? It’s what recovery is all about. Let me give you an example of what I mean. Let’s say I have a weakness of fantasizing about having sex with women. I begin by confessing this mental attitude sin to God the Father. I might say something to Him like, Lord, I acknowledge my sin of fantasizing about having sex with women. Now comes recovery.
Matthew 5:27-28 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
2 Corinthians 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
After which, I choose to think with God as to how He would have us to think in this regard. If this fantasizing is in relation to someone who is an unbeliever, then I would memorize and meditate upon the Scriptures presented above. God’s mindset now becomes my mindset. I don’t think of them as objects of my pleasure, but as lost souls, who need a savior.
1 Peter 1:22 … see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
What if I am fantasizing about having sex with a woman, who is a believer. Scripture tells us that we are to love our fellow believers with a pure (genuine; not for the love of ourselves; to not use for our advantage; free from hypocrisy (a pretense of having a virtuous character25) heart (mind; motives; thoughts that are in obedience to the truth) fervently (striving with all of one’s energy; in an all-out manner) as those, who, like ourselves, are new creations. Thus, an affection or fondness for another is based upon the likeness of that other to one's self.26
With that said, we should begin by addressing one weakness at a time; one that seems to continually distract us. This will not be easy, but it will be beneficial. As our thoughts begin to change, so will we be increasingly impacted. Impacted? By what or whom? This is where our spiritual life really begins to take a turn. A turn to what? All of what I am trying to say, I will call a wowsa. Are you ready to find out about what this wowsa is all about? If you are ready to find out, then please turn to the next chapter.
New Covenant Ministries - Ministerios NuevoPacto
Sunday & Thursday Worship 7:00PM - Domingo & Jueves 7:00PM
Harbor Church, Block Island
22 Weust’s Word Studies from the Greek New Testament Pc Study Bible version 5, 2005.
BIBLESOFT. WEB. 09 February 2020 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
23 Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament, 2000. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 09 February 2020 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
24 The Bible Exposition Commentary/New Testament, 1989. BIBLESOFT. WEB. 09 February 2020 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.