GROWING IN CHRIST

Victory over Evil: St. George slays the Dragon in this painted stone plaque in Southwark Cathedral, London.

By Dr Foster H. Shannon

I Peter 2:2,3: “It is apparent that God wants us to grow beyond our commitment and baptism to Christ. Christianity is not static, it is to be in progress. The tree is to bear fruit The Bible encourages us to grow. “Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that you may grow up to salvation; for you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.”

Galatians 1:6,7: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel—not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.”

GOD HAS BETTER DAYS FOR US

If we have missed many of the encouraging passages in the Bible, these two may discourage us, when actually we should be reassured. It means that as our knowledge of God increases, we enjoy the richness of his teaching  – that God has better days for us.

The Ten Commandments, the teachings in the scriptures, the example of Christ and the example of strong Christians teach us not to kill, not to steal, not to harm others. This enrichment betters us and others.

Unfortunately there are significant numbers of scoundrels who will shoot and kill – even in schools, or in a theater or an outside plaza like the one in Las Vegas, Nevada. Violence even occurs in families. You may have read about Anthony Avalos, who died with head injuries and cigarette burns covering his body after being abused by his father and family. According to sources familiar with the case history, law enforcement officers and child protective case workers documented years of severe abuse allegations and yet the law did not prevent the boy’s death.  Or the case of a husband in Brooklyn, New York, who chopped off his pregnant wife’s arm and two of her fingers. It is frightening and repulsive to think of.

We could list hundreds of wicked activities of human beings defiling, threatening, torching, and killing their fellow human beings.

Genesis 6:5: “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

GOD DELIVERS US FROM EVIL

Evil exists, but God is the one who delivers us from evil. The letter of the law cannot make a person good. Only God’s spirit in us enables us to grow in his grace as we allow Him into our hearts. God will teach us to avoid harm and to be a blessing to others. Jesus teaches us to love others, to rescue, to bring healing.  As God loves us we are to love one another.

GOD WORKS IN US

It is those who reverence God who are compassionate and care. As we grow in our walk with Jesus Christ the results will be for the betterment of others and ourselves, our household and our friends. God wants us to be happy.

“Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace on which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.” ~ Romans 5:1,2 

The words of Jesus tell us in John 15:4,5:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already made clean by the word with I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you…I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

CHRIST IN US, THE HOPE OF GLORY

We are not running short of despots, liars, thieves, and murderers. They are the disciples of the Devil. Therefore, an active, strong Christian community is the hope of the world! Goodness is more than what we might value.

All of us must contend with good and evil. The Devil and his minions are not out of the picture yet. We are to be sanctified and live as our God would have us to live. God depends upon his children to study, and live, and walk in His will. As we study the Bible and draw closer to God, we are equipped with truth, reason, and the presence of God. This will bring us to a better life and to a diminution of the evil in our midst. We should not think that we cannot do anything about it. We have awareness. We have prayer. We have the study of the Bible.

WE HAVE THE GREAT POWER AND AUTHORITY OF OUR GOD

Luke 10:19: ”Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you.”

Jude 24: “Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

Psalm 23:3: “He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake.”

Along with our age and physical growth, should be our spiritual growth. The world can be healed and blessed with the presence of faithful Christians, faithful churches, and the proclamation of the teachings of the Bible.

II Corinthians 7:1: “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, and make holiness perfect in the fear of God.”

II Corinthians 9:8: “He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”

It is possible for us to have better people in the USA and in the world!

Foster H. Shannon

Foster H. Shannon
More about Foster…
Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences.
The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com.
He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.
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