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Hindrances To Spiritual Growth

1 Peter 2:1-3: Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

The first time I personally tasted and knew that the Lord was gracious was when I surrendered my heart to Him. In that moment I was born of the spirit.

John 3:5-6: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

We cannot grow spiritually before we become born spiritually. After we become born spiritually we cannot grow until we lay some things aside. We need to lay aside malice. (badness, depravity, malignity, trouble, evil, maliciousness, naughtiness and wickedness.) We must lay aside all guile. (decoys, trickery, baiting, wile, craftiness, deceit, guile and subtilty) We must lay aside all hypocrisies. (A feigned part, deceit, condemnation, and dissimulation) We must lay aside envy and evil speaking.

When I first became saved I naively did not know that the flesh of we born-again Christians could be that bad. But in my nearly three decades as a Christian I have seen almost all of the evils listed above in other Christians and way too many of them in myself. Once the if in 1 Peter 1:3 becomes our reality, we should be able to see clearly the evil that is in our flesh and the hindrance that it is. We shouldn*t just be sickened by the evil, we should go to war against it, first against the evil that is in our own flesh. One of the symptoms of the born-again that he will not enjoy will be an ability to recognize the evil within himself. It is more difficult and more painful to see the evil in ourselves than in others. If we are going to grow, we need to see it.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon on that *if*:

If:-then, this is not a matter to be taken for granted concerning every one of the human race. *If:*-then there is a possibility and a probability that some may not have tasted that the Lord is gracious. *If:*-then this is not a general but a special mercy; and it is needful to enquire whether we know the grace of God by inward experience. There is no spiritual favour which may not be a matter for heart-searching. But while this should be a matter of earnest and prayerful inquiry, no one ought to be content whilst there is any such thing as an *if* about his having tasted that the Lord is gracious. A jealous and holy distrust of self may give rise to the question even in the believer*s heart, but the continuance of such a doubt would be an evil indeed. We must not rest without a desperate struggle to clasp the Saviour in the arms of faith, and say, *I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him.* Do not rest, O believer, till thou hast a full assurance of thine interest in Jesus. Let nothing satisfy thee till, by the infallible witness of the Holy Spirit bearing witness with thy spirit, thou art certified that thou art a child of God. Oh, trifle not here; let no *perhaps* and *peradventure* and *if* and *maybe* satisfy thy soul. Build on eternal verities, and verily build upon them. Get the sure mercies of David, and surely get them. Let thine anchor be cast into that which is within the veil, and see to it that thy soul be linked to the anchor by a cable that will not break. Advance beyond these dreary *ifs;* abide no more in the wilderness of doubts and fears; cross the Jordan of distrust, and enter the Canaan of peace, where the Canaanite still lingers, but where the land ceaseth not to flow with milk and honey.

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