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•NO RESTRICTIONS• I previously talked about attaining spiritual growth by being consistent in our spiritual lives, because without consistency (steadfastness), faith is sure to be stagnant or even crumble. I also talked about building on the foundation of spirituality which Christ has laid for us, as Apostle Paul wrote in 1COR. 3:11: ‘For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is (already) laid, which is Jesus Christ’. Apostle Paul then went on to write about building on that foundation through consistent toiling and works (1COR. 3:12-15). Also, in COL. 2:6-7, he wrote: ‘As therefore you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith’. With all these, Apostle Paul was emphasising working consistently to attain spiritual growth. But now, I want to talk about the freedom that has been established in Christ so as to attain this spiritual growth. That is, there is no restriction whatsoever barring us from growing spiritually. In His letter to the Corinthians, Apostle Paul in some parts chided the Corinthians for not seeking and working towards attaining spiritual growth. He virtually labelled them “babes in Christ”, due to their lack of spiritual growth (1COR. 3:1). And the ironical thing about the Corinthians was that they had the vast platform to grow with no restriction. They had devoted spiritual men who were well-versed in the scripture. Consider their spiritual leader also, Apostle Paul himself! Yet, Apostle Paul observed in them, lack of spiritual growth. That was why he wrote to them: ‘But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh’ 1COR. 3:1-3. All these prove that though the Corinthians have been blessed by the foundation of salvation-Christ Jesus, they refused to build on that foundation and attain spiritual growth through steadfastness. Although there was abundance of freedom to enhance themselves spiritually; although there were no restrictions in improving in the Word, they refused to grow. Do you know why they refused to grow? They refused to grow because according to Apostle Paul, they were still men of the flesh; that is, their focus was still on worldliness. Apostle Paul pointed out that there were jealousy and strife among them; things that were not supposed to be found with them as saved people (1COR. 3:3). Now brethren, observe yourself and evaluate your spiritual life-and please be honest with yourselves, as you will only be deceiving yourself if you are not honest with yourself, and remember, if you deceive yourself, you cannot deceive God (GAL. 6:7&8). So, examine yourself fairly, and ask yourself, are you growing spiritually? Are you trying to be better in your spiritual life? Are you trying to move up the spiritual ladder in contrast to standing fixedly at one point? Are you the type of the “Corinthian Babe” who is refusing to grow spiritually? Ask yourself all these and examine your work towards keeping your faith by consistent time with God. For brethren, there are no restrictions to attaining spiritual growth-you will be deceiving yourself by seeing restrictions. Apostle emphasized this to the Corinthians who refused to grow due to their worldliness. As an instruction, he wrote: ‘We put no obstacle in any one’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry’ 2COR. 6:3. That is the instruction brethren, there is no restriction to drawing closer to Christ; there is no restriction to advancing in Christ; there is no restriction to growing spiritually. What then would be your excuse when asked why you are stagnant in faith without any motive of advancing? Lack of time? Strength? Zeal? What would that be? Whatever that thing is, one thing I am sure of, it can never be enough as an excuse, because there is no restriction in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever restriction there is that is seen by anybody, then that restriction is an illumination formed by carnal, worldly mindset of that person. The Corinthians as I wrote earlier, were said to be still worldly, that was why they were restricted in their spiritual advancement. This shows in Apostle Paul’s words, admonishing the Corinthians to pull down imagined restrictions: ‘Our mouth is open to you, Corinthians; our heart is wide. You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted in your affections (that is, their worldly affections)’ 2COR. 6:11-12. This further shows that worldliness kills spirituality, so as Christians, we are required to not be carnal-minded, focusing on worldly things. All in all, Apostle Paul ended his admonishments by telling the Corinthians to “widen their hearts” (2COR. 6:13). That is, they should enhance their spirituality to obtain spiritual growth. Brethren, there are no restrictions, Christ has abolished all restrictions. In ROM. 8:3, it is written that God has done what the law weakened by the flesh could not do, by sending His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, I encourage you to work towards your spiritual enhancement. God rewards all these. Spend quality time regularly with God, doing His will consistently, and walking always in the Spirit, and not after worldliness. THE GRACE OF THE LORD IN CHRIST BE WITH YOU (AMEN).

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•NO RESTRICTIONS

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