I just want to describe the chart I made (See Image), as I’m trying to illustrate how the spiritual way of life works, as in how spiritual growth takes place and also spiritual retrogression happens, for all who are in Christ. The chart should make sense after reading the points below.
1. The foundation of spiritual growth is biblical truth. To just learn what the Bible says is not enough, this is just going half way. You must make application of pertinent truth to life's circumstances. The full Bible Study method is Doctrinal study and Application in life’s circumstances. Therefore biblical truth + Application = Spiritual growth. The sole aim of Bible study is spiritual growth. (note: all spiritual growth is in the context of knowing Christ more which results in growing into His likeness).
2. Just knowing the truth is not good enough, the truth must be known and done. Knowing the truth + Doing the Truth = The Bible Study Method. Unless doctrine is applied to the pertinent circumstances of life that come our way, zero spiritual growth can take place.
3. the truth must be known. Good doctrinal Bible study is needed to prepare the Christian for when that doctrine can be applied to the life situation. You cannot do what you do not know.
4. Every life situation triggers either an Old Man Belief or a New Man Belief. The Old and New Man beliefs are illustrated by the brown and green circle on the chart.
5. Christian growth happens when an Old Man belief is replaced by a new man belief, in the circumstances of life. So how does this happen ? read on….
6. A vital principle of Christian living is the principle of alertness and awareness. This is the person’s objective consciousness in the moments of life. It is a state of neutral objectivity and awareness where choice can be made. This is illustrated by the red circle.
7. Alertness and awareness is like a radar system. In alertness the radar is switched on and the Christian is ready to apply doctrine to life. Alertness is just like a cat with its ears perked alert to respond to any enemies. Awareness represents the blips on the radar screen, and these blips are life’s situations with which the Christian should apply the doctrine learnt in Bible study previously.
8. Christian living is about responding to these life situations, in the right way from the source of the new man. 9. After a number of times of consciously applying a new man belief from the source of the new man, the belief will be habituated. When it is habituated, the new man belief moves from the consciousness, and now is in the area of the subconscious. Spiritual growth has taken place. (see the black circle on the chart)
10. Subconscious beliefs are habituated beliefs which happen automatically. Subconscious beliefs can be both Old Man and New Man beliefs. The source of Old Man beliefs is the Old Man, the source of new man beliefs is the New Man.
11. If the Christian is not alert and aware, and the only belief for a situation in life is an Old man Belief, that is how the Christian will react to that circumstance of life. This just highlights the importance of alertness and awareness in Christian living.
12. The new man belief which has moved into the subconscious, will now be automatic when the same life situation comes along. It’s automatic because it is habituated.
13. A Spiritual mature person is one who has possessed his life. A life which has been possessed is a life which responds the right way automatically. In other words does the right thing from the right source. This subconscious response of a new man belief is automatically applied to life's specific situation when it comes along.
14. A life being possessed is illustrated in scripture by the Israelites being asked by God to possess the promised land. They were saved but God wanted them to possess what they have been given. In the New Testament possessing our life is illustrated in the structure of the whole book of Hebrews. Possessing our life in Christian living is the daily walk of faith in Christ.
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