Weekly Scripture References:
- Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33, New Living Translation)
- Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15, New International Version)
- Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. (Psalm 1: 1-2, New International Version)
To develop spiritual insight from a Christian perspective search the Scriptures, read additional historical text, and study ancient cultures. Christian Scripture delineates the teachings and works of Jesus and the historical context in which they occurred. Studying other historical texts and ancient cultures provide the background for a balanced and deep understanding of the practical application of Christian principles. This Lenten lesson focuses solely on viewing the world through the eyes of Jesus as depicted in Christian Scripture.Therefore, readers are encouraged to also read church history, study world history, and examine the doctrines of their particular denominations.
What specific things did the disciples do to nurture their spiritual growth? Lets begin with the following statements. Jesus and his original disciples were Jewish. According to Scripture, they observed Jewish customs and traditions. They also drew connections between Jesus’ teachings and Hebrew Scripture (the Christian Old Testament). Like any serious student involved in mastering a discipline, the disciples spent considerable time studying under Jesus’ tutelage.They listened to him, engaged him in meaningful conversation – including raising questions, and they observed his behavior. In other words, the disciples became active learners.
For Christians, developing spiritual insight (growing in grace) begins with spending time studying the words and behavior of Jesus as depicted in Scripture. Read the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) daily; mediate on the words of Jesus, internalize his teachings, and pray for understanding. In addition, observe Christian traditions: regularly attend worship service; observe Christian Holy Days- Christmas, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter, and Pentecost; give to the work of the church for the sake of spreading the Good News of the Gospel, and help others.
Food for Thought
- For the next 30 days, spend two hours and forty minutes each day reading and studying the Gospels-focus on the teachings of Jesus. Begin and end each day with Scripture reading and prayer.
- Think of Scripture as the nutrient necessary for personal spiritual growth; not a weapon to use against other people.
- Pray constantly for yourself and others. Pray while driving or riding in your car, on the bus, exercising, and relaxing. Pray everywhere all the time. Remember to pray for homeless and hungry people, for those living in war-torn countries, those adversely affected by natural disaster, and for the sick and those bereaved. Pray for mercy and justice for all.
- Avoid “I statements” except when praying. Make Jesus the center of each personal testimony.