There are many methods that God uses to grow Christians into fuller maturity (sanctification). I have often thought about, for example, how time is an overlooked aspect of sanctification. You can read every page of the Bible, sing every praise song known to man, and share the gospel with every human on the earth, but unless you are a Christian for a certain amount of time, those events and experiences will not reach their full potential as agents of change to grow us closer to God and to make us more like Jesus. Just like with our physical bodies, it simply takes patience to grow. “Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9; emphasis added).
Another aspect that I have been excited to have the opportunity to witness more this year than ever before in the past is reading the Bible with new believers. Have you ever seen a movie, play, or concert–or eaten at a restaurant that was so good that you wanted to take someone else with you and go have the experience again? I think the reason we do that is because when we see someone else experience something amazing for the first time, we get to– in a way– experience it for the first time again.
I have been a follower of Jesus for about 13 years now and would consider myself someone who knows the Bible well. Even though the Holy Spirit very often shows me new application of the truth of Scripture, or new ways that the truths of the Bible fit together, I never gain any new information about it, for the simple fact that I have read it all.
Because of this, I found myself really excited this year when I got to start studying the Bible weekly with a new believer here in Thailand. Like many Christians here in Northern Thailand, he is the first person in his family to become a follower of Jesus, so he did not grow up hearing Bible stories.
Not long ago, we studied about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. He sat there saying, “whoa!” in amazement as we studied through the story. For me, that was one of those moments where I got to see that story through the eyes of someone who was experiencing it for the first time.And that feeling can be addicting.