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Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Sept. 11: Grow in Spiritual Maturity
Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh
August 29, 2011
3 MIN READ TIME

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Sept. 11: Grow in Spiritual Maturity

Bible Studies for Life Lesson for Sept. 11: Grow in Spiritual Maturity
Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh
August 29, 2011

Focal Passage: 2 Timothy 3:1-17

While rummaging through an old trunk,
I discovered my birth announcement. Among other things, it stated my weight and
length. No doubt my doctor observed me periodically to determine whether my
growth progressed normally. Concern to the contrary would have triggered
immediate action. My story would have appeared in medical journals and
tabloids, along with photographs of “the baby who never grew!”

In contrast, when I was born spiritually, I received little
assistance in promoting my spiritual growth as God requires, “until we all
reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, (growing) into
a mature man with a stature
measured by Christ’s fullness” (Eph. 4:13).

Afterward, when I united with a church, only a few members
lined up to welcome me into the fellowship. Perhaps to the majority I was just
a college student who would graduate soon and move away; therefore they felt
little responsibility to get to know me and help me grow in Christ. Without a
class for new members, I remained on “the spiritual delivery room table” until
I married a seminarian whose sermons shaped my theology and spurred my
spiritual growth. Eventually I claimed the definition of Christian growth as “journeying
steadfastly in the direction of Christ-likeness.” Paul’s advice to Timothy
challenged me to grow as it gave me guidance, urged me to keep my faith strong,
discern and flee false teachings, and hold fast to truth and Christian morals
(2 Timothy).

I could not play with evil influences and expect them not to
influence me. I could not read defiling literature and be none the worse for
it. Sin always exacts its price.

When a cadet was being expelled from the Air Force Academy
for cheating, he argued, “There are not 10 men in this academy who would not
cheat on an exam.”
To that his superior responded, “Has it occurred to you that
you could have been one of those 10?”
Paul advised Timothy to flee youthful lusts, follow after
the good, and hold fast to Scripture (3:14-17). He reminded Timothy that the
Scriptures had been his from childhood, providing wisdom unto salvation,
usefulness for teaching the truth, and direction for correcting error.

Someone said, “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is
optional.” God disagrees. He commands, “Like newborn infants, desire the
unadulterated spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it in your salvation,
since you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3).

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Coming soon readers will see the Oct. 2
lesson for Explore the Bible lesson, a curriculum published by LifeWay. The
Sept. 25 Formations lesson will be the last lesson from Formations, a
curriculum printed by Smyth & Helwys Publishing. LifeWay’s Bible Studies
for Life will continue to be printed.)