Following Christ has never been easy, and even now I struggle with sins. However, I know I am growing as a Christian and my sins have been nailed to the cross. I am mindful not to let them creep back into my life. Our Lord gives us space to grow and He is never overbearing. My spiritual growth, albeit slower than desired, is because of the application of spiritual disciplines the Lord has taught me through the Bible. These spiritual disciplines, also referred to as “means of grace”, help me to unlock the richness of His abundant grace, provided by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, which cannot be earned, but given freely to all who believe in Him.
The means of grace must be intentionally acquired in our discipleship process to put us on the path of His blessing. The various means of grace may be grouped under three main principles of the Word, Prayer and Fellowship as found in Acts 2:42 which reads …“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” As Christians, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we are to build our altar with these means of grace.
God speaks through the Word
John 17:3 reads… “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent”. Jesus Christ is the Word who became flesh out of God’s love for human kind. Jesus said in John 6:54 that “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last days”. To drink Jesus’ blood is to participate personally in His death, i.e. to die to our sins. Feeding on His flesh means dwelling on His words, taking them in, acting upon them so that we may receive His grace upon us. Our Lord has sent us the Holy Spirit to guide us in understanding and living out His Word. The Word must be meditated on. By coming back to the Word repeatedly, we will learn new way of thinking, new way of living and new way of being pleasing to God. Meditating on His Word and acting on it in God’s will is the key to our intentional discipleship process.
God wants us to speak to Him through prayers
The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) guides us to pray the different components of ACTS – i.e. adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. The heart of prayer is not just petitioning something from God but getting more of God and the joy that comes along. God knows our heart and what we need, but He wants to hear from us. He wants to interact with us in response to His Word. He wants us to love Him, His greatest commandment (Mark 12:30). Prayer is not only the place for divulging what’s on our heart but also developing our desires. He desires us to participate in His will through prayers. Prayer sharpens us to be authentic before God.
God wants us to love as He loves in fellowship
God created us for a love relationship with Him. His second greatest commandment is for us to love one another. John 13:35 reads … “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.“ God has given each of us families to learn from, to know and to share His love. Family is not just our biological family members but includes the Body of Christ, the church. The Holy Communion we practice weekly is part of fellowship. Corporate prayer is part of fellowship, where we unite in One Spirit, to intercede for God’s will to be done. True fellowship is partnership in Christ that keeps fellow believers in communion, helps one another to be holy and also brings us to work together to reach the lost for Christ. Fellowship is the engine God empowers to carry out missional and community works for Christ.
Let’s keep on building our spiritual person with the means of grace. Let’s persevere, even if sometimes we falter, remembering that problems and trials help us to develop endurance, and endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our hope.
By Lum Weng Kiong (YCKC Bulletin 17&18 June 2017)