Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Three Conditions For Spiritual Growth

As I am doing all this work [planting blueberries received as a Father's Day gift], the thought occurs to me how precise the conditions must be for blueberries to grow in abundance. I am doing everything I can to educate myself, to get the set up right and to create an environment for long-term growth – and it still may not go well.

That got me thinking about God and spiritual things and my relationship with Him. It seems to me that I often put a whole lot less thought and intentionality into my own spiritual development, but somehow expect the relative equivalent of 10-12 pounds of blueberries a year – and I am surprised when the yield is something less.

If these plants need the right degree of sun, a certain soil mix, just enough water, etc… what are the right conditions for my own spiritual growth? My thoughts probably aren’t as well-developed as they ought to be, but based on past experience, I would say they are at least a few key elements…

Desire – I grow the most spiritually when I am hungry for God. Often, my desire for God is not pro-active. Rather, it is born out of desperation; I find myself in a situation that is too large for me to handle. But there are also times I am able cultivate this desire myself by immersing myself in reading the Bible, or by scheduling parts of my day to pause and simply talk to God for a few minutes. Typically, I find that experiencing God is a bit like drinking water; the more I taste, the more I want. Desire for Him seems to build on itself.

Humility - This may seem like a strange one to list, but God always seems to respond to me when I willfully begin to regard others as more important than myself. I can’t get around the idea that God just doesn’t honor pride. When I think too highly of myself, when I begin to feel that others should view me as a Very Important Person or treat me with a certain degree of respect, I get into trouble. Those seem to be the times that God allows me to be my own defender. But when I genuinely see myself as nothing more than His servant, willing to whatever He wants or asks or to embrace any trial He brings into my life – without concern for how others will see me – that is when I begin to feel God’s wind at my back.

Obedience – I think God is pleased when I choose to aligning myself to His way of thinking; by becoming obedient to the things I know He has asked me to do. I am ridiculously bad at this, but God somehow picks up on my desire to do right by Him and I am often surprised by the grace I find. Perhaps because my obedience is an expression of trust – “I don’t really want to do this, but I am believing You know what is best…” – God seems to do the most in me when I am most responsive to Him.

This list is far from exhaustive, but these things seem to position me to receive the life of God in a powerful way, a way that changes me for the better. I’m interested to know what things drive your own spiritual growth. Let me know…

God, forgive me for the times I neglect my own spiritual growth. Please help me to re-position my life before You. Fuel my desire. Lead me (gently, please) towards humility. Help me to be more obedient than I am. God, fill me to overflowing and make me more like You. I love you and need you. Amen.
by Jamie Wamsley

So what do you think?

I think Jamie is on to something extremely important here. Do these insight meet a need for you? Can you encourage us by sharing lessons you have learned in these key elements or other important elements?  [Wayne Anson]

Berries On The Bush by © MistyMee101

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