05 June, 2013
What Is Spiritual Growth?
Years ago, I remember getting on the bandwagon when people were talking about the Israelites in the wilderness and the fact that they missed out on God’s plan for them. If I was writing down all the derogatives comments made about the Israelites for having God right there with them yet they failed, I would have enough material to create a book by now. As I grow spiritually, I realized how juveniles those comments were. We can afford to make such comments because we truly do not know God the way we think we do. If we did, we would learn through God that there is no difference between us and the Israelites when it comes to serving and loving Him.
As the matter of fact, we do not only have Christ in front of us as a cloud and our high priest, we also have Him inside of us, so in a way, we are worse than the Israelites. We are stubborn people, we enjoy living a double life, hence why we do not want anything to do with a life of abandonment at His feet. We follow after anyone willing to dilute the gospel to make things easier for us. We are great at giving Him lip service. Not interested in anyone’s report that does not match what we want to hear. We have hard hearts, idols coming out of our ears, and we are fascinated by what the world has to offer, and the list goes on.
The key thing here is “spiritual growth.” Spiritual growth isn’t about how active you are for God, or about accumulating knowledge. While these things make us feel good, and even the Church tends to evaluate most of their staff and what they label mature Christians, by accumulated knowledge. But, that’s not what God’s word value, for spiritual growth. Rather, it’s a process by which we are slowly becoming more and more like Christ while taking on His characters.
As we grow spiritually, God keeps pushing the veil back for us which takes away the limitations God put on us after we died spiritually when Adam and Eve sinned. Only as we let Him remove the veil in increment that we understand how much we human beings have a limited understanding of the depth of spiritual growth. Imagine with me that God is working in each one of us to make us like Christ. Now, picture Christ’s character and everything He was when He walked the earth, then picture yourself and tell me in comparison to Christ you do not see almost an impossible challenge. If you can see the difference between the two, you will be able to accept the fact that there is so much work to be done that it is almost discouraging. Yet, the task is not impossible to God, all He asks is that we make every effort to keep up with Him so that He can prepare us for the future life.
Christ first Sermon was the Sermon on the Mount and should be a very good starting point for us. In reality this sermon signifies the starting point of our spiritual life. I was made to understand that I did not have to worry about the Sermon on the Mount and that God would work it out in me even after I die. As I walk closer with Christ, I found out this is something He needs to work in me and you now, and it is just the beginning of a life in spiritual adulthood as we leave behind the child life stage. As the Holy Spirit enlightened me to see the starting point with Him, it made me sad to see how today Church is trapped in a perpetual infancy stage – like the Pharisees.
Sure there is an ultimate end to our spiritual growth when we will see Him face to face just like He is. But like the Spirit taught me, there is nothing that limits Him from working most of it in us right here right now, except us getting in His way.
2 Peter 1:3-8
New International Version (NIV)
Confirming One’s Calling and Election
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I worry when I hear people say: “may be it is His plan for you and not for me” to grow so much in Him. This excuse has become so universal that I can only see Satan in the midst of it all. How then can we read the Bible, even reading verses like 2 Peter 1:3-8, then still not moving forward like we are participating in a course for our lives? If we truly get the gist of the Bible, how then can we explain that most of us are not making the commitment to follow hard after Him? Something is amiss.
We are so blinded that we lie to ourselves, yet we walk around as if God cannot see our excuses and the lies we tell ourselves to avoid a real commitment to Him. You are also kidding yourself if you think you can get there without making a painful mental effort to commit wholeheartedly to this walk. This is not a commitment to do more, but a commitment from the heart that says I want to stop playing with Christianity and learn to see things from His standpoint. I want to get to know Him intimately and I need to make things right with Him.
Think of it this way and test yourself. If you cannot find it in you after you claim to be Christian for decades, to commit wholeheartedly to Him, how do you expect your work to pass the test of the fire? Because not being able to take that mental step to abandon yourself to Him, should be your answer.
Take the step to let the Spirit moves freely in your life!