We are now on point six of the 10-point Bible study tool, for edification of the inner man. In the last lesson, I explained that we must learn to deny self and crucify the old sin nature. The other side of the coin is that we must build up our spirit man, or inner man.
Someone rightly explained that the nature that grows stronger is the one you feed the most.
(1 John 3:7, 8) Let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He (Jesus) is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning….
It is possible to reach a place of spiritual maturity in your life that you rarely sin. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil, including the sin nature (1 John 3:8). In addition to denying the old self, we must practice righteousness, or exercise the spirit. Like denying self, this requires a foundation of believing and understanding as found in the first three points of this Bible study tool.
One aspect of building up the inner man is practicing righteousness. This is doing the things you know you should do and righteous works that God leads you to do. Many things fall under this aspect.
- Spend time in God’s Word. We are washed by the water of the Word; this is part of how we renew our minds. You don’t really know God’s Word until you know it for yourself. Only God can reveal His Word, and typically He does this through reading and meditating on Scripture.
- Pray. Prayer is two-way communication. It opens your spirit to receive from God. When you read and study the Bible, keep asking God to reveal it to you. Ask Him for understanding. Then expect to receive from Him greater understanding.
- Practice what God reveals to you in Scripture. It is not how much Scripture you know that God honors, but how much you live.
- Find a good church or home study group, and keep going to it. Hebrews 10:25 says not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Some are called to be teachers and preachers of the Word, and they can often give you insights into understanding it. But always reflect on what they teach by comparing it to the Word, for there are a number of false teachers in the world today.
- Righteous works. This could include helping the needy, either financially or with your time and natural ability. Every believer has some type of ministry he or she can do and God calls everyone to minister to others. If you are active in whatever area of service God calls you to, your obedience opens the door to greater spiritual growth and understanding. It doesn’t matter if it is cleaning the church toilets – if you are serving God in it, you will be blessed by God for it.
Understanding who you are as a believer, what it means to be born again, is another aspect of edifying, or building up, the inner man. Scripture presents many benefits to salvation, not just forgiveness of sins. The book of Ephesians is a great place to start. In this book, the Apostle Paul reveals many truths about the benefits of the faith.
Things to ask yourself when determining whether a verse applies to edifying the inner man: Is it a righteous work God is asking me to do? Is it something about my spirit and my salvation that He wants me to understand and believe?
In the next installment of the 10-point Bible study tool, we will examine how to establish authority in Christ.