not letting your spiritual growth stop

11 09 2006

I recently heard someone say most Christians eventually reach a place where they quit growing spiritually.  I thought about this, because I hope it’s not true.  But it may be.  I can’t judge what’s going on in someone’s spirit, so there’s no way to know for sure.  And it’s not really my business to know how it applies to everyone.  But I do have to ask myself if it applies to me.

God requires us to surrender all of our life to Him.  There is an initial decision to do this, but the actual implementation of this takes a lifetime to complete.  At first we don’t realize everything, and as we grow, we find more areas of our life that we have to surrender.  Some things are fairly easy to surrender, but some other things prove quite difficult.  And here’s where I think that quote may apply.  To go up, we must give up.  If we reach a place where we refuse to keep giving up, we quit growing (for the most part).  I suspect many people reach this point, and that’s why there aren’t many people who are really like Jesus.  I’m not saying many people consciously choose this, because they may not be aware of what they’re doing.  Let me explain…  If we’re honest with ourselves and hearing from God, we know of areas in our life where we need to do better.  We may repent of our shortcomings over and over, honestly wanting to change.  But if we keep stumbling over these same areas, for years, are we really making progress?  Perhaps, but maybe not really.  We may be trying, and sincerely repenting, but just not breaking through in some particular area and thus hindering our growth.  I’m not saying that we aren’t growing because we’re struggling — that means we’re trying.  But how hard are we trying?  And I’m not saying that because we struggle with something for years that we aren’t making progress — but how many years will we keep stumbling over the same issue?  Shouldn’t we ever gain the victory over it and move on to greater things?

It’s a tough discussion, because it’s hard to cover all angles and to account for every possible interpretation someone may have of my writing.  I’m not trying to condemn or judge anyone.  But as I look at my own life, I’m trying to grow closer to God, and I expected to be doing better by now.  There’s also some things that I struggle with on a recurring basis, and while I want to be past them, it seems like I’m not making much progress.  And so I’m wondering if I simply need to make more drastic changes to accomplish what I’m trying to do.  (I realize it takes the power of God to overcome these struggles, and part of my problem is that I need to increase the amount of quiet time I spend with God; I also need to further surrender my will.)  It’s not fun to search my motives and intentions and find the truth.  We tend to judge ourselves based on our motives, but that’s not objective.  I can say I want to increase my prayer time, but then if I look back over the past year and see little to no improvement, then how much priority am I giving to my intentions?  Obviously not enough.

And so back to the original premise, of whether most of us hit a ceiling or not, I hope it’s not true.  I don’t plan for it to be true concerning me.  But I realize that I must make changes to my thinking and my lifestyle to keep growing.  I can’t keep doing what I’ve been doing and expect to keep growing closer to God.  It all comes down to how much I want it…  And that’s how it is for each of us — will we give up the things that hinder us, even some things that aren’t sinful?  God certainly wants to be closer to us than we’ve ever imagined, so it’s up to us.  We have to seek after God with our whole heart and not get distracted by the things of this world or even our own dreams.  And we have to spend the necessary quiet time with God to keep growing our relationship with Him, not just doing religious works.  Ultimately, it comes down to how much we want it.  If growing closer to God is our top priority, then we won’t let anything stand in our way…




One response

12 09 2006

Well, now you’re just being meddlesome. Everyone should read this. Very challenging!

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