For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
– 1 Corinthians 3:4-9
“The instrument of our sanctification is the Word of God. The Spirit of God brings to our minds the precepts and doctrines of truth, and applies them with power. The truth is our sanctifier. If we do not hear or read it, we will not grow in sanctification.”
– Charles H. Spurgeon
Sanctification could be expressed as living and being like Jesus. It is a life-long process. But the Scripture above means that the work of sanctification is done by God. The Apostle Paul’s metaphors at the end don’t sound pleasant however. If we are God’s field, He will subject us to the plough. If we are God’s building, it might not feel comfortable when He breaks out a wall to add a new wing.
Spurgeon suggests that the Word of God is our instrument toward sanctification. Could it be that Christian brothers and sisters that have an aversion to reading God’s word are afraid of what God might do in their lives as He sanctifies them? But if we are to have a real relationship with Jesus, we need to learn more about Him.
Dave Peever, of Live 4 Him, wrote recently about being ‘Stuck in the Entryway’. We are often too satisfied as individuals, and a church as a whole, at simply getting inside the entrance to heaven before the door closes. We cannot serve a risen Savior, and be a personal friend of His, if we are satisfied with being stuck in the entryway. We need more to grow.
I loved the impressionists of my youth. When David Frye did his impressions of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon, he seemed to look like each person. Rich Little got close enough to the voice that you didn’t need to see him to know who he was impersonating. Many impressionists, who copied mannerisms, posed with one hand holding the other elbow and the other hand against their cheek. They did not have to say, “Well, you see …” very convincingly for everyone to know it was Jack Benny. But those, and others, spent a long time studying those that they impersonated.
Yet, we say that we have a personal relationship with Jesus, and too many do not know the basics.
And what I have learned in the past few years about listening to the Holy Spirit could fill volumes on the shelf. As Spurgeon says, the Spirit of God will bring God’s precepts and doctrines to us and apply them with power. I realize that I wasted much of my life. Yet, God knew I needed those years to build upon.
God is Truth and as such a better judge of wisdom than anyone on earth. To learn from God, we need to turn to God’s Word, the Bible.
Warren Wiersbe wrote, “God gives us a compass and a Book of promises and principles – the Bible – and lets us make our decisions day by day as we sense the leading of His Spirit. This is how we grow.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.