We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
- Hebrews 5:11-14
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
- John 3:1-3
“According to Jesus Christ, those who repent and receive him as Savior and Lord are ‘born again’ (John 3:3)—not physically, but spiritually. And with this spiritual birth must come spiritual growth. It is crucial therefore to be intimately acquainted with the ABCs of spiritual growth.
“First, no relationship can ﬂourish without constant, heartfelt communication. This is true not only in human relationships, but also in our relationship with God. If we are to nurture a strong relationship with our Savior, we must be in constant communication with him. The way to do that is through prayer.
“Furthermore, it is crucial that we spend time reading God’s written revelation of himself—the Bible. The Bible not only forms the foundation of an effective prayer life, but it is foundational to every other aspect of Christian living. While prayer is our primary way of communicating with God, the Bible is God’s primary way of communicating with us. Nothing should take precedence over getting into the Word and getting the Word into us. If we fail to eat well-balanced meals on a regular basis, we will eventually suffer the physical consequences. What is true of the outer man is also true of the inner man. If we do not regularly feed on the Word of God, we will starve spiritually.
“Finally, it is crucial for new believers to become active participants in a healthy, well-balanced church. In Scripture, the church is referred to as the body of Christ. Just as our body is one and yet has many parts, so too the body of Christ is one but is composed of many members. Those who receive Christ as the Savior and Lord of their lives are already a part of the church universal. It is crucial, however, that all Christians become vital, reproducing members of a local body of believers as well.”
- Hank Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Book (Question 2)
Hank Hanegraaff said in a few words what I have said many times over the past five years.
Do I do what I say? My systematic reading of Scriptures is suffering a bit as of late, but I talk to God all the time. Sometimes in a prayer closet type setting and sometimes just walking through the house or driving the car. The traffic is so bad these days, not heavy, just crazy (mostly inattentive) that I do not know how a Christian cannot pray while driving, but then, if you are among those who are inattentive, you probably would not know how bad it is getting. And if you believe that the only way to pray is on your knees with your eyes closed, please, do not pray while driving – maybe just before and a word of praise and thank you at you destination.
As for the reading, I do a lot of research, and a lot of Bible research to back up what I have read in books, but that is not the same as simply sitting down and reading the Scriptures. I have kept up with two daily devotionals, but on occasion, I might have to read a few devotionals in one day to stay on pace. Is this a sign of being too busy? It may be. That gives me yet another thing to pray about. After all, we should take everything to the Lord in prayer. That statement is quite Biblical, but the thought is in many hymns also.
And we also must maintain some type of church attendance, within our abilities. My wife attends Sunday school, since I teach a class, and if she feels well enough, we stay for church. For the past two Sundays, she did not attend either. One Sunday she felt ill and the other Sunday, it was very cold, and her heart condition does not like the very cold temperatures. Frankly, I felt more alive in the brisk air. But while home, she watched several church services on television. She may not have been communing with others, but she was worshipping.
She also keeps up with a few members of our church over the telephone. And even her outreach ministry, or what could be considered one, includes keeping in touch with people that she has not seen face-to-face in some time – a phone call just to see if they are still answering the phone. I could have said “to see if they were still breathing,” which might be the case, but no one likes that as a starter question when they answer the phone.
God tells us to commune with other believers, but in this modern age, that can take many forms. But to have mutual accountability, checking to see if we and they are growing in the faith, face-to-face should be done whenever possible.
And what if you are in the hospital, unable to go to church? My wife had me bring her a huge bag of chocolate “kisses” and a bowl, when she was in rehab after open-heart surgery. When a nurse, technician, therapist, etc. came into the room, she would ask, “Have you had a kiss today?” She would get some very strange reactions, people wanting to excuse themselves from the room, but then my wife would laugh and say, “No, a chocolate kiss from the bowl over there.” She ended up having nurses from other wings of the rehab center coming by to “check up on her.” If only to spread a little Joy and a little Love, she got to talk to a lot of people and although she was the one in rehab and they were the “healthy” ones, they left her room feeling better.
God works His miracles in many ways, and when we devote ourselves to becoming more like Jesus, He works His miracles in us and through us and somehow, someway, the world around us seems a little bit brighter.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.