Wednesday, November 25, 2015

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 Three-dimensional Spiritual Growth

KEY TEXT: 1 Thess 3:11-13 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

KEY THOT: Paul’s prayer expresses the 3-fold will of God for the church: that (1) UPWARD: their faith in God may be strengthened (“supply what is lacking in your faith”, v.10); (2) OUTWARD: their love for one another & others may be increased; (3) INWARD: their hearts may be established by being “blameless in holiness”. 

Paul longs for the spiritual growth of his spiritual children and he was overjoyed to hear that their faith and love are growing. And he looks for these three marks of growing maturity: upward faith in God, outward love for others and inward holiness of hearts. So we may make these three characteristics the goals in disciple-making and mentoring: UPWARD (strengthening our mentee’s faith in God through God’s Word), OUTWARD (increasing our mentees’ capacity for love by encouraging them to serve and participate in CG ministry) and INWARD (establishing personal holiness through the discipline of daily QT of bible meditation and prayer).

Effective spiritual mentoring is purpose-driven and goal-oriented. It’s not just “meeting up” for fellowship and socializing. The goals must be clear: is my mentee increasing upwardly in his or her faith in God, growing outwardly strong in his or her love for others (especially family members) and establishing inwardly the daily discipline of personal QT with God. 

But mentoring must first begin with myself. I have to set an example in all these three areas: I cannot bring people to places I myself have not gone. So as a mentor of God’s sheep, I have to not only practise what I preach—I have to practise before I preach: “For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel”( Ezra 7:10). The correct order is: study, do, and teach. In other words, practise before preaching.

Father, teach us as mentors to be an example to our mentees in strengthening our faith in You, increasing in our love for others and establishing personal holiness through the daily habit of QT. Amen.

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