February 24, 2023
Observing the Growth of Others

Nehemiah - “After the wall had been rebuilt and I had set the doors in place, the gatekeepers and singers and Levites were appointed. I put in charge of Jerusalem my brother Hanani, along with Hananiah, the commander of the citadel, because he was a man of integrity and feared God more than most men do.” (Nehemiah 7:1-2)

DAILY DEVOTION

In yesterday’s devotion, we learned about Hananiah, the commander of the citadel, who Nehemiah appointed to serve alongside his brother Hanani. Nehemiah, in the scripture above makes a point to write that Hananiah was a man of integrity and that he feared God more than most men do. When someone fears the Lord, they strive to live godly lives and serve Him faithfully. When someone fears the Lord, they are committed to reading and studying the Word of God. When someone fears the Lord, they are committed to communicating with Him in prayer each and every day, multiple times throughout the day. When someone fears the Lord, it’s easy to see from all of these practices that they are continually growing closer to Him. Nehemiah saw this in Hananiah and we should look for it in the lives of others around us.

Those of us who are Christians should always be committed to growing in the Lord. The Apostle Peter writes that we should “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18). And the Apostle Paul encourages Christians in the book of Hebrews by writing “Let us go on and become mature in our understanding.” (Hebrews 6:1) There are many ways we can foster this in our own lives and in the lives of others, but we should especially want to encourage and equip ourselves and others in our understanding and application of God’s Word in our lives.

In the Celebration course Faith Foundations, we learn that “Somewhere around the year 67 A.D. the Apostle Paul, who wrote many books in the New Testament, was imprisoned. Possibly sensing that his life was about to come to an end, he sent a letter to Timothy which some consider to be his final words. In it, Paul expresses his concern for the churches of that day and for Timothy as well. Throughout his letter, Paul continually encourages Timothy and all the believers to persevere in the faith, and to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We now know this letter as the book of 2 Timothy. In the third chapter of that same book, Paul reminds Timothy of the importance of the scripture he has learned throughout his life. He encourages him to use it to equip God’s people to serve the Lord and others faithfully. This section is best summarized by Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: ‘Scripture is God-breathed, and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man (woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17).” Paul understood that people change and that ideas come and go, but that God’s word is eternal and does not return void. Whenever we or others are attempting to grow in the Lord, we should always commit ourselves to the reading and studying of scripture. The teachings found in the Bible should be our foundation and our standard in both life and ministry.

FOLLOW UP ACTIVITY

Think seriously for a moment about your Bible study habits. Wherever you might be in your Christian growth, write out a plan of how you could go to the next level. If you’re leading your family through this devotion, dialogue with them about the importance of Bible study in the lives of Christians. Then, have each member evaluate his or her own Bible study habits before making their own plan for further Christian growth.

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, help me to always strive to grow through my reading and studying of the Bible. Please guide me to help others develop a love for it as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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