It’s a new year and a new season for spiritual growth. This reminds me how the Lord once told me, “Relationship is low, bring it up.”
After hearing those words, the Holy Spirit immediately caused me to recall a time when I had begun a fitness program and my body had hit a plateau. There was little to no sign of change in my physique, endurance and strength – no matter how many times I exercised, I remained in the same stage for months. I knew the cause of it, though. When it had come time to up my intensity, I had lazily declined. I didn’t want the challenge and sweat – I wanted to continue doing the same easy exercise groups I had grown so accustomed to. I remained in this condition until I finally made the decision to switch up my workout routine and confront my refusal of challenge to reach the goals I had intended to achieve in the beginning.
The Lord convicted me to see that in the same way I had hit a plateau in my fitness program years ago, I had spiritually hit one in my relationship with Him. I had grown lazy and passive in my love for Him, and was merely going through the same daily devotions with Him as though it were a routine. I had adapted myself to a quiet time that had become nothing more than a few words of prayer a day and a quick perusal of the Bible; though they remained beneficial, they weren’t changing me. I wasn’t growing in my commitment and passion with Jesus – I was simply walking around in the same circle!
Spiritual Growth Means Stepping Out
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Revelations 2:4-5)
As humans, we hate stepping out of our comfort zones. We say, “I will go but only up until this point.” Whether it’s fear of change, lack of confidence in our capabilities, or just plain laziness, we’re often confining ourselves to do what we are used to in many areas of life, and so often, its takes a toil on our relationship with Jesus.
As believers we often get so comfortable in our walk that we neglect to challenge ourselves to go deeper into Jesus with our whole life; we pitch our tent on one spiritual learning ground and settle on one teaching, sometimes forever, never looking up to see that God is eternally calling us higher into His Presence.
I’m not trying to chide anyone but the truth is there is so much of Jesus that we don’t know yet. It’s not that He hasn’t revealed Himself to us or that He hasn’t made His life available to us – we’re simply not going after Him as we ought to. The Christian life only thrives on Jesus Christ, Who is alive today. If we’re not daily pressing to know Him beyond what we do know of Him now, we are only stunting our spiritual growth in Him and cramping His working in our lives.
The Rewards of Spiritual Growth are Matchless
Paul wrote, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)
In the beginning when we gave ourselves to Jesus, we entered into a covenant. We are to be forever climbing higher, diving deeper into His presence. The destination is Heaven, but eternal life is a journey of knowing Jesus Christ.
If His Word is not changing you daily, if you’ve grown passive in your love for Jesus, if your prayers are only dull repetitive sayings and benedictions… you, my friend, are spiritually low.
It’s time to bring your relationship with Him higher – to up your commitment and passion for Him. This could mean turning down distractions or responsibilities that are stealing your time and energy, and putting more attention on the importance of seeking Jesus. Yes, spiritual growth is challenging – it takes sweat and your flesh will have to surrender. But the rewards of His presence are matchless.
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