Why do we just stop growing spiritually? Or why, do we meet people that used to be so alive in their relationship with the Lord, and now they have reached a kind of plateau and one never observes any spiritual growth in their personal lives.
Paul urges us in Eph 4:1 to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received,” and later (verse 12-13) we are told to “be built up… reaching unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature; attaining the full measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Today, I would like to share five obstacles in our lives that hamper spiritual growth:
- A dangerous contentment – No more stretching and believing God for something; limited vision of what my life in Christ looks like; no great desires for the Kingdom; limited passion for service and work. We say;“I am comfortable where I am right now.” Problem is that we cannot live on our past growth in our relationship with the Lord. God wants us to experience Him daily in our lives and continue to experience Him in an “abundant life” (John 10:10).
- Personal comfort. When we go “off the boil” we simply stop growing because there is no energy being used to get momentum. In wind free areas, the trees stop producing roots to stabilize them, we are not supposed to get comfortable. If you are growing, you will always be outside of your comfort zone. When last did you get uncomfortable? When last did you commit to something that was inconvenient, learn a new skill that was difficult, take on a task that was complicated, start a new discipline which took away some leisure time, went out of your way to do something for someone else.
- Failure to self evaluate. Personal insight into your strengths and weaknesses is an empowering gift for change and improvement. Many of us do not take the time to examine our lives: how are we doing in our relationships; are we being our very best; where in our lives can we develop new strengths; what habits have I developed that are not contributing to my future. We have many reasons why we don’t evaluate ourselves: it does not come naturally to us; we just never take the time; don’t think it is good to look too intently on ourselves; other people don’t do it, why should I! If we don’t self evaluate, we don’t see the consequences for our life choices, we fall into a false pride: “I’m O.K. I’m doing fine!” The enemy hides the consequences of bad choices until it is often too late for us. Therefore it is important to keep a solid foundation of humility in our lives, which involves evaluation.
- Inability to die. The inability to die to old ways and habits to make way for new things in our lives. The in-abilities to die to what we like, prefer, dream of or want. Inability to die to thinking habits that are destructive. John 12:25 MSG “Anyone who holds onto life just as it is – destroys it.”
- Not enough nutrients that nourish spiritual growth, or not enough of a variety of nutrients. In Luke 13:6-8, Jesus explains that expecting fruit (produced by godly living) from a (fig) tree is natural to the Father, who tends the spiritual garden of the believer. If not, He will not tolerate its un-productivity, but cut it down. It is best for the tree, to accept the nutrients and care given to it by the gardener and start producing fruit.
Here are two truths about spiritual growth:
It is not automatic, it is intentional.
It comes from God, but is facilitated by us, co-operating with the Holy Spirit.
All summed up in Phil 2:12-13 “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”
Art Linkletter , from the TV program: ‘Kids say the darndest things’ said:
I never want to be, what I want to be,
Because there is always something out there yet for me,
I get a kick out of living in the here and now,
But I never want to feel I know the best way how.
There’es always one hill higher, with a better view,
Something waiting to be learned that I never knew.
Till my days are over, never fully fill my cup,
Let me go on growing up!
Make a decision today, to remove the obstacles to your spiritual growth and embrace all that God has got for you in your life right now.
Father, I have realised today that I have allowed…. to get in the way of my personal spiritual growth. Your word makes it clear that I should be growing over time, developing greater fullness in You and producing fruit in my life. I want to be sure to live a life worthy of the calling I received from You, help me to start growing.
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