Developing Your Spiritual Life

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Developing Your Spiritual Life

Lesson One: Beginning the Spiritual Life
In his now-famous mini autobiography, Bill
Cosby says, “I started out as a child.” We smile
when we hear that because it’s so obvious that
we all begin life the same way.
But if it’s true that we start out as children, or
babies really, in our physical lives, it’s also true in
the spiritual realm. Jesus talked toNicodemus
about the need to be “born again,” not physically
but spiritually. At our second birth, we are born
into a new family, the family of God.
Isn’t it enough just to be a Christian?
Just as we don’t want physical babies to stay
small and helpless, we don’t want to remain in a
state of neediness and immaturity as new children in God’s family. Think back to a time when
you were about 10years old. Do you remember
how much you wanted to be “grown up”? How
you wanted to be able to drive or to do other
things that older kids could do? That longing is
what we sometimes feel spiritually as well. We
don’t want to remain as spiritual children. We
want to grow up. As we learn to know and please
our Father, we want to have the responsibilities
of a family member.
In addition, weneed to get to know our spiritual
brothers and sisters, other Christians who know
and worship God as we do through a new-birth
relationship with Jesus Christ.
Just as growing up physically takes nourishment,
exercise, learning, and time, so our development
as Christians is a process as well. In these lessons,
Developing Your Spiritual Life - Lesson 01

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we will talk about God’s plan for our spiritual development so that we can become the fulfilled and
productive men and women God desires us to be.
But before we talk about that growing-up process, let’s make sure we all know what it means to be
born into the family of God.
What does it mean to be born again?
Some of you may not yet know God in a personal way through His Son.You may think of yourself as a
Christian only because you went to church as a child. Or you may take comfort from the fact that you
were baptized as an infant and confirmed.
Family and church connections are an important
part of religious life. But these experiences don’t
make a person a Christian.
Centuries ago, a religious leader named Nicodemus approached Jesus to find answers to his
ownspiritual questions. Nicodemus said, “We
know that You are a teacher come from God; for
no one can do these signs that You do unless
God is with him” (John 3:2).
Jesus’ response seems surprisingly unrelated to
Nicodemus’ comments. He told him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he
cannot see the kingdom of God” (v.3).
Their conversation underscored the contrast betweenphysical and spiritual life. In the Garden of
Eden, when God began to fellowship with Adam
and Eve in the cool of the day, they had not yet
disobeyed God. They were in a state of complete
innocence. But after they disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit, a fundamental change
took place. A great barrier to fellowship between
God and man damaged their relationship. When
they heard Godwalking in the garden as He had
done in the past, they showed an awareness of
their disobedience by hiding (Gen. 3:8-10).
Sin created an insurmountable chasm where
once there had been an intimate union between
God and man. The same alienation has persisted
since that fateful day. All of us were made for fellowship with our Creator, but we have chosen to
go our own way. The Bible says that “Allwe like
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sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every
one, to his own way” (Isa. 53:6).
The tragic result of this rebellion against God is
spiritual death. Adam was told that on the day
he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and
evil he would surely die (Gen. 2:16-17). Adam
ate of the...
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