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Bible Study and Prayer for Growth
Systematic daily connection with God though study of His Word and prayer is necessary for growth and fruitfulness. Interrupted focus on the Lord is not enough. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me” (John 15:4). To abide in Christ means that the soul must be in daily, constant communion with Jesus Christ and must live His life (Galatians 2:20).
When we study of the Scriptures, we listen to His voice speaking to us, revealing His will and directing our steps. And we can talk to the Lord through prayer. Thus, our relationship with the Lord is mutual. As believers abide in Christ, He dwells in them and they become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). It is not right for one branch to rely upon another for its life; each must have its own connection to the vine. Each member must have its own fruits. Therefore, salvation is conditional upon one’s connection to God.
When connecting to Christ, the believers’ thoughts become so branded by His will that their requests are made in line with His will (1 John 5:14). So, God answers their requests. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13,14).
It is God alone who can grant His children victory over sin for “The carnal mind … is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). It is not possible for a person in his own power to escape from the falling into sin and to bring forth fruits of godliness. Wherever people hold to the idea that they can save themselves by their own efforts they have no protection against sin.
The Christian represented by the disconnected branch may have a form of religion, but the vibrant power is missing (2 Timothy 3:5). Under temptation the superficiality of his experience is exposed. As the disconnected branches are finally collected and burned, so the unfruitful Christian, along with the non-professor, will suffer final death (Matthew 10:28; 13:38–40; 25:41, 46).
This indwelling of Christ is not a mystical experience. People accept Christ by accepting His word. As they feed upon the Scriptures, it enlightens their minds and renews their hearts. And when they make a choice to follow that word and obey it through God’s help, Christ, the hope of glory, is formed within their hearts (Colossians 1:27).
The plan of salvation is to restore the image of God in man (Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2), a change that comes about by meditating on Christ (Romans 12:2; Galatians 4:19). “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as [a]by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The Fruits of Godliness
As a result of daily growth, the believers will bear the fruit of godliness. Glory comes to the Heavenly Father when His image is replicated in the lives of His children (Genesis 1:26,27). Through God’s power, the believer can proclaim, “I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). The devil claims that God’s law is too hard to keep and that people cannot obey it. But God proves the devil wrong. And thus, the character of God is vindicated when men, through His grace, become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
When Christians draw closer to their heavenly Father, they will find that they will be at peace with themselves and also with their fellow men. For God will fill their hearts with His sweet love that will draw others to them with bonds of kindness. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).
In His service,