Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Mechanics of Spiritual Growth

Spiritual Growth should begin with a desire to grow-to do more and become more than just a 'lukewarm Christian'. It starts with the desire to move beyond the comfort we have isolated ourselves to.
Too often when we talk of 'spiritual growth' we talk out of guilt and obligation rather than a deep passion to grow through our failure-to take the road of frustration and surprise...the unknown for those of us seeking to take go deeper.
Spiritual growth isn't a 'program' or regiment of prayer, Bible studies, service, and going to church's so much more. Sure, prayer and all the above can contribute to change, but it's more than just simple mechanics or a procedure. You see spiritual growth occurs in the trenches of life, not in a classroom or youth group setting-it's about application and the utilization of the tools God has given us. And in that application we sometimes learn that the Holy Spirit asks us to violate our convictions in order to live the faith we claim-not to just talk of it.
We can talk about love all we want, but loving those who are deemed to be unlovable is how we learn to love. In previous blogs I have mentioned the freedom God gave to us through His son. In John 8:32 Jesus talks about truth and how it will set us free. And the truth is we are free to choose the good or the bad-the right or wrong everyday. Because of our freedom in Christ we can either run to Him or run from Him and choose our own way-or the world's way.
So the question becomes: are we to encourage others to fail in order to grow? Or are we to encourage others to grow which means they will fail? Well here's what Paul had to share in his letter to the people of Philippi.
Paul himself said he didn't have it all together, but urges the people to remain focused on Him. I think we can focus on following Jesus, I mean if we can carry a cell phone with us 24/7 and claim it to be our life line, perhaps we can carry Jesus in our hearts and remember God's precepts. The Psalmist said 'I will about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts-in my previous blog concerning Micah 6:8, I think God's precepts can be found there...let's learn to listen to that desire burning with in and walk humbly with our God.
I would like to close with more wisdom from Mike Yaconelli:
'Most Christians consider being 'stuck' a sign of failure or burnout, an indication that a person isn't working hard enough on their spiritual life. The assumption is, if you are stuck in your spiritual life, you aren't doing something right because 'dedicated' Christians should never be stuck. Nothing could be more untrue.
Getting stuck is the prerequisite to getting unstuck. Getting stuck is a great moment, a call from within. We get stuck when we want to change but can't, when we want to stop destructive behavior but don't, when the tug-o-war between God's will and ours stands still and we can't move.

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