A Mentor’s Guide for Continual Spiritual Growth #2
There is no one and done when it comes to spiritual
growth. There are key growth principles
that are constantly in play. The first
principle is realizing continual spiritual growth in your life is that “you
can’t do it.” Left to yourself the task
is overwhelming. So you rely on the One
who has the power to transform your life, you seek God to empower you to be an
overcomer. We know that we are helpless when it comes to changing our lives.
The advice of a mentor to me was “Don’t get frustrated when people don’t
change, you can even change yourself.”
We know that God gives us the power to change. In this session, we are going to learn that
to access that power to change we must bend our knee to God. Principle number two: Bend the Knee.
Recently in our culture, this gesture of bending the knee
has been subverted to mean solidarity with BLM, the Black Lives Matter,
movement. I can no longer support BLM as
it has proven not to help people of color at all but rather seeks to overthrow
everything that the privileged white male has created, especially capitalism,
and replace it with Marxist equity. I
detest racism, I detest racial profiling, I detest a system that keeps people
dependent upon the government, and I detest the founders of BLM getting rich
off the donations of people who think they are supporting efforts to bring
social justice to the disenfranchised in these United States. Bending the knee
during the National Anthem became I sign of disrespect for everything and I
mean everything that the Stars and Stripes represent. Unbelievable.
If it wasn’t for the freedom and liberty that we consider our birthright
those protestors would have been arrested, sent to the reeducation camps like
in China, the gulags like in the Soviet Union, or the work camps in North
Korea. Destroying the system that allows you to protest for changing the system
and replacing it with a system that won’t allow you to protest is a perfect
example of what happens when a culture turns it's collective back to God.
The culture may be beyond repair. Still there remains equality in the Kingdom
of God. The atoning sacrifice of Jesus makes it possible for the estrangement
that sin created in our relationship with God to be reconciled. This is the opportunity given to everyone,
the invitation is extended to all, all are welcome. We acknowledge our lives are unmanageable, we
believe that Jesus empowers us to live the way God intends, we commit to
learning to do life Jesus way. We bend
our knees. If you have not, today I’ll
explain what bending the knee entails so that you can make an informed
Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)
Therefore God exalted [Jesus] to the highest place and gave
him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue
confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Every knee bent to God.
“Throughout history, the bending of the knee has always been an act of
great respect and humility. People have been kneeling and genuflecting … for centuries
as a sign of homage and respect … a symbolic gesture of [loyalty] and
taking a knee really means: A reflection on the power of prayerful protest -
New York Daily News (nydailynews.com)
a knee represents the decision to willingly obey.
Continual spiritual growth requires that we decide to turn
our will, our lives, over to the care of God, to allow God to be in charge of
our lives, to direct us, to guide us, to use us. This is not a one and done, this is a
continual attitude of the heart, and every day we affirm our allegiance to the
God who saves. With every decision, we
do so. When we bend the knee, this is
what we are committing to, to do life the way Jesus demonstrated. When we bend
the knee we are submitting our will to the will of the one who sets us free. Consider what Jesus modeled:
John 5:19 (NIV)
Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the
Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing,
because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
Jesus is our example. When we bend the knee we see what God
is doing and we hear what God is saying, and we answer the call to be used to
accomplish what God wants. When pride
rules the heart we do what we want, disregarding God’s desires. Every time a person says no to God, it is a
detriment to their very lives. Disregarding God leads to pain. Bending the knee leads to life.
Psalms 25:9 (NIV)
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his
Continual spiritual growth occurs when we bend the knee, laying
down our imagined rights and humbly asking God what He has for us in any area
of our lives. To see and hear, the
history of Christianity recommends 7 practices.
God communicates to us through the Bible. Reading, studying the scripture and suddenly
a verse stands out in your heart. God
communicates through prayer. Take time
to meet with God, go to the quiet place and your heart will be impressed with a
new idea, a way you have not considered.
God communicates through spiritual friends, maybe even a preacher. You come expecting and someone says something
to you and it’s an epiphany for the situations you are living through. God also
communicates as we do the things He has enabled us to do, using the gifts He
has given in service to others. There is
a uniqueness about us that when we actualize our talents, our abilities, we
become confident that God is at the heart of what we are doing. When you are giving God His due, praising
Him, singing praises to Him, while enjoying the blessing bestowed, inspiration
touches us deep inside, that inspiration is God’s Spirit speaking to us. Every obedience makes us even more receptive
to see what God is doing, to hear what God is saying, to join God in what He is
doing. Then there are times when we are so in need of God’s counsel that we bar
every distraction so we can give our undivided attention to God, inviting Him
to meet with us and discuss with us what troubles our hearts.
One of the benefits of daily practicing these 7 habits,
bible study, prayer, fellowship, service, worship, obedience, and contemplation
is that you are taking inventory of your attitudes and actions. In part, the practice is like looking in the
mirror and seeing what needs to be done to make you effective in the kingdom.
Lamentations 3:40 (MSG)
Let's take a good look at the way we're living and reorder
our lives under God.
When you see something you don’t like, you don’t break the
mirror. You present what you find as
unacceptable for submission to God. When
you realize you have failed, you don’t quit. You present the failure for
submission to God. Another name for this
presentation of our shortcomings, our habitual sins, our unruly attitudes, or
inappropriate judgments is confession.
When we confess we are admitting to ourselves that we are not the way we
know we should be. When we confess we
are bringing the matter before God.
Consider the promise of true, sincere, and honest confession:
1 John 1:9 (NIV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive
us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Confession means that we agree with God that our lives need
to change. The promise is that what is
out of sync with God will be rectified.
There will be a reordering of heart and life. Confession leads to
reordering your life under God. It’s
taking what is keeping you stiff kneed and hauling it into the light where it
can be addressed and dealt with.
Confession may be good for the soul, but to be effective it must also be
accompanied by a partnership with God to overcome whatever stiff kneed thought
or behavior you’re dealing with. You ask
for the desire to overcome, you ask for power to repent, to forsake your wrong,
and never to return to it. Here’s what I
have discovered, often owning up and taking responsibility, confessing to self
and to God is not enough to reorder my life.
I have to confess to another person.
James 5:16 (MSG)
Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other
and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed.
When I bring a trusted spiritual friend into my confession,
there is a special power of accountability that helps me to stay true to my
desire to repent. I am going to be held
accountable, my friend will be asking for a report on how I am overcoming my
stiff knee problem. There is also a
freedom in hearing a spiritual mentor tell you that God forgives you; that the
Holy Spirit will empower you to change as you partner with Him; that this soul
friend will be praying for your deliverance and checking in with you for
victory reports. To continually grow
spiritually you need another person or small group of like-minded individuals
to keep you accountable to your vows.
Confession involves admitting to ourselves, to God, and a
spiritual confidant the exact nature of our wrong while seeking the Holy
Spirit’s partnership in reordering our lives so we no longer have a stiff knee
but freely bend in submission to the God who loves us.
James 4:10 (MSG)
Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way
you'll get on your feet.
Having taken personal inventory, inspecting your life in
light of the scripture, you’ve discovered an area, an attitude, an action, that
misses the mark. The Holy Spirit has
revealed it, shown you the error of your way.
You know a change is needed, you know a reorder of your life is
necessary, you need a transformation.
You have tried to change, to repent on your own, but you’ve realized
that you can’t do it. So you confess
your inability to overcome, you realize you can’t do it, but with God’s help
you can, so you confess to God, calling out to the one with whom all things are
possible. The sincerity of your desire
is demonstrated in confessing to a trusted soul friend, one who understands and
extends the love of God to you, who holds you accountable for your part in
partnering with God. You realize you can’t do it without the help of
All this is a prerequisite for asking for help. We cry out
with the Psalmist--
Psalms 51:10 (NKJV)
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast
spirit within me.
I have read of those who experienced an instantaneous
deliverance. I have heard testimony to
the personal experience of meeting God and being set free from some habit,
attachment, or addiction. I have heard,
more so I have witnessed, the fight to get free. I know that God can give you a miracle; the
smoker who never smokes again, the drinker than never touches a drop, the foul
mouth never again uttering an expletive. I know that God can change the
attitude of the heart in an instant, from vengeance to forgiveness, from
stubbornness to willingness, from stingy to generous. I know that God can transform in a moment,
the negative disposition into positive, the hurt into healing, the mess into a
masterpiece. I know this, I ask God for
this. I also know that change takes
intention, effort, and time. If a change happens instantly praise God, if not,
praise God for the journey of progressive progress He has set you upon.
To bend the knee to God is to make a sacred vow that you are
going to learn how to live in obedience.
To bend the knee to God is to acknowledge His right to rule. You will be constantly submitting your will
to the will of the One who facilitates the changes that you seek. To bend the knee to God is the path to freedom.
Bending your knee invites the transformation and
purification of our lives that we realize we so desperately need. Bending the knee you are partnering with the
Holy Spirit to facilitate a change in thinking, a change in attitude, a change
of character. Bending the knee puts you
in sync with God. Now you can ask God to
do what He is famous for.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NKJV)
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean;
I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will
give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of
stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit
within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments
and do them.
The first principle to continual spiritual growth is that
you can’t do it. The second principle is that what you can do is bend your knee
to God, earnestly seeking to do life righteously.
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