By Charles Wages
The Bible clearly teaches that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” There is no doubt but that God is interested in children growing properly in grace and knowledge. Spiritual attainment is not something to be grasped after for personal or selfish gain, but to know God and to fulfill His purpose for our lives.
Just as an athlete exercises in a gymnasium so should the Christian be actively engaged in God’s world. This activity should not be just “beating the air,” but actually participating in vital, worthwhile endeavors in accordance with God’s will and Word. Four things that aid in spiritual attainment will be briefly discussed. The order in which they are given does not necessarily reflect their relative importance.
Concentration or intense interest in what a person is trying to accomplish is of utmost importance to attainment of goals. The apostle Paul states in Philippians 3:13, “this one thing I do,” in reference to “pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Then again in Colossians 3:2, he says, “set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Concentration of the sun’s rays on a combustible material will set it ablaze. In like fashion, if we give our strict attention to something for God, it will bring results.
Abstaining or holding off from partaking or participating in certain things is important to spiritual attainment. Sometimes things we don’t do are just as important as things we attempt to do. In our over-indulged generation, the thought of restraint or self-denial is rejected by most people. The truth concerning abstaining, as taught in the Scriptures, is not confined to marriage and food, but principally concerns “holding off from” evil, religious doctrine. For instance, in 1 Thessalonians 5:22 we are admonished to “abstain from every form of evil.” When we consider that one of the major characteristics of this present evil age is “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” (2 Tim. 3:5), we conclude that God would have us not partake or participate in religious error. Even the Gentiles were instructed by the apostles at Jerusalem to “abstain from meats offered to idols.”
Nourishment, of the proper sort, is important to spiritual attainment. It is common knowledge that the Bible uses items of physical food to teach some of its greatest spiritual lessons. Our Lord did this time and time again. Bread, meat, milk and honey are just a few examples. But we understand the Word to tell us of a more important form of nourishment. Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:6:
“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto, thou hast attained.”
In Colossians 2:19, we are instructed that our nourishment comes from the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” (Col. 2:19)
Someone has said that we should take this spiritual nourishment and
Study it through,
Pray it in,
Put it down,
Work it out, and
Pass it on.
A proper attitude is absolutely necessary to spiritual attainment. The wonderful passage found in Philippians 4:5-9 is so appropriate when we think of our attitude and what it should be.
“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Phil. 4:5-9)
We need to read and re-read this passage. We might say our attitude could be found in three respects:
Our attitude toward God and His Word.
Our attitude toward other people.
Our attitude toward ourselves.
It follows that if our attitude is proper and the way our Lord would have it, we will attain spiritually for the glory and honor of our Head.