Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!
–2 Corinthians 13:5
Maybe right now you feel like you are in a spiritual rut. You are not interested in the Bible. You are really just not interested in the deeper things. How do you get out of that rut? Let me give you some practical suggestions for how you can move from spiritual immaturity to maturity.
First, confirm your relationship with Christ. You know, you can give a puppy steak and potatoes all day long, but he will never grow into a human being, because he does not have the DNA for it. It is the same way with people. They can read the Bible, come to church, and be involved in spiritual service, but never become a Christian. If you have no interest in God’s Word or being with God’s people, it may be because you have not had the seed of salvation planted in your heart. That seed is planted the moment you trust in Christ as your Lord and Savior. Paul said, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Corinthians 13:5). If you find yourself a slave to sinful habits, to disobedience, and to disinterest in God, maybe it is time to check yourself. Is there a time you can point to when you trusted in Christ as your Savior and committed your life to Him?
Second, build some spiritual disciplines into your life. If you do not have any spiritual practices, then start building them into your life. And start small. You know, when I go a day without eating, I am so famished when that time is over I grab a cheeseburger and french fries and a milkshake. If I go a day without eating, I kind of gorge myself. But I’m told when somebody is in danger of starving to death, the final stage of starvation is they feel no hunger at all. They are not interested in eating, and that is when you know they are near death. Some of you have gone so long without God’s Word, you might be near spiritual death. You do not need to gorge yourself. Start small in building some spiritual disciplines into your life.
Third, learn to listen attentively. That is something you have to practice. Instead of making your grocery list for the week or your to-do list, be proactive in listening attentively during the sermon or Sunday school lesson. Parents, teach your children to do that early as well. I remember when I was growing up, I used to sit in the balcony during church services on Sunday nights. My parents knew I was a restless kid and had difficulty sitting still through the service, so they said, “Robert, if you’ll listen carefully to Dr. Criswell, we’ll give you a dime for everything you can remember that Dr. Criswell said.” And man, I started listening, writing things down, and after church I would start reciting all these things. It was great. You may say, “That’s bribing your kids!” Yes. There is nothing wrong with bribing your kids. Proverbs talks about the value of a bribe. A bribe is a good thing if it is to entice people to do good. A bribe is evil only when it entices people to do wrong. Teach your children to learn attentively.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “From Here To Maturity” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.