I am often in a position to counsel people as they work through suffering, discouragement and confusion. One of things that I will often ask them is if they are utilizing the means of grace. God can convey his grace in any way he chooses. But he has established certain means through which he generally pours out his grace. Some of those means of grace are Scripture, prayer, the church, baptism, communion and the Holy Spirit. We have to ask ourselves, “Am I taking advantage of what God has provided for me?”
One of the ways we utilize the means of grace is by reading the Scriptures. Many people struggle through life because they are not allowing their minds to be shaped by God’s truth. I have learned the importance of this habit through the years. Several years ago someone recommended a Bible-reading plan from Discipleship Journal that has been a great resource that I have used often. It has several tracks so a new Bible reader could choose to read through the gospels in a year instead of reading through the whole Bible.
Another great new resource that I would recommend is called “Read Scripture.” You can find info at the Read Scripture website or download the Read Scripture app. It helps you understand the Bible as one cohesive story and groups the various Scripture passages into organized sections. And as you begin a new book of the Bible, there are video tutorials to help you get your bearings and orient to the major themes.
Spiritual growth isn’t rocket science. If you want to grow in faith and wisdom, you need to work at it. And if you desire God’s grace, mercy and direction, you need to take advantage of the avenues that he has provided for your good. Are you working the plan? What active steps do you need to take as you approach the new year?
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