A Mentor’s Secrets for Continual Spiritual Growth #1
A Mentor’s Secrets for Continual Spiritual Growth #1
The way the gospel has been pitched you can get the impression that it's one and done. Have your heart stirred, recite a prayer, and you’re saved, one and done. But that is far from the experience of a disciple. The teaching we are embarking upon is about continual spiritual growth. To be free, to grow deep, to grow up, to grow fruit, to live your life to the full, to bring the Kingdom, takes intention, time and effort. There are spiritual principles that are always in play. You don’t accomplish one and then move on to the next. The spiritual principles intertwine like gardening. You need seed and soil, and until the harvest, watering, weeding, fertilizing, debugging are all principles that are required at various times to produce a crop. The first principle is that you can’t do it.
The goal of spiritual growth is to become more like Jesus in thought, attitude, and action. As you become more like Jesus, your experiential knowledge of the One Jesus called Father increases. Jesus told us that it is in knowing God that we have eternal life. As you become more like Jesus your abilities to live your life to the full increase, which results in creating thriving relationships with others and yourself as you know everything rises and falls on relationships; when your relationships are quality, life is good. The more you become like Jesus the more wisdom you have at your disposal. Knowledge of life is good, wisdom is using that knowledge correctly. The more you become like Jesus the more gratitude, thanksgiving, and praise rises out of you, the more you become a source of glorifying God, your positive outlook on life makes you an encourager, the light in you shines brighter drawing more people into the Kingdom. More Jesus, more life lived well. Continual spiritual growth leads to well-living now and eternal life later.
“… when the Friend [the Holy Spirit] comes, the Spirit of the Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is.” “…he'll expose the error of the godless world's view of sin, righteousness, and judgment…”
Romans 7:18-20 (MSG)
I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.
God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him.
You need God to fix what is broken. You’ve tried making yourself acceptable to God, you try to clean up your act, you’ve been working hard to be better so that God will accept you, you have tried to earn his favor. You’ve tried so hard but still, the change you desire hasn’t come. When you come to the place where you realize you can’t make yourself acceptable the Holy Spirit presents what seems impossible a gift of faith that will set you free. Do you want to discard that unmanageable life of yours for one of peace joy and righteousness? The Holy Spirit leads you into all truth and here is a glimpse of that truth:
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
Believe, faith, in Jesus leads to reconciliation with God, the estrangement ends. You don’t earn it, there is nothing you can do to merit it, God gives it to you, reconciliation by acknowledging you’re broken, believing that Jesus fixes the broken, can and will fix you. You are to believe, to have faith that Jesus did everything necessary for you to enter into a right relationship with God and that your part is to desire the gift and ask for it.
God has never turned down anyone who wholeheartedly has sought to be made right with Him. The dabblers, the halfhearted, the double-minded, well, from my understanding of the scripture this is an all or nothing proposition. You have to go all-in, having faith that this is the winning hand.
Jeremiah 29:13-14 (NLT)
If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity…
What you can’t do for yourself God will help you do, He will supply the grace, the desire, the power to be transformed from broken to made new. Acknowledge the truth, believe in Jesus’ power to liberate and God will do what you cannot, God will make you right with Him. Being made right with God empowers you to make every other relationship in your life right also.
You’ve been made new. A new creation the Bible proclaims, the old person you were is gone, a new person has come into existence. Jesus called it being born again. What many don’t realize is that this new person is not perfect, far from it. The spiritual life is a journey, it’s a process, it’s a becoming. The new person is empowered to overcome every imperfection, every challenge. The Scripture likens it to taking off the old ways, the thoughts and behaviors of the way we were, and replace them with the thoughts and behaviors of Jesus, like taking off dirty clothes and putting on clean.
And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They've refused for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can't think straight anymore.
Imagine a staircase, as you ascend you leave behind where you’ve been. With each new step, your thinking becomes straighter, with each new step the light Christ shines on you gets brighter and you see yet another aspect of your spiritual life needs to change.
On this new step, once again you find yourself powerless to overcome these shortcomings, these imperfections, these sins. You see that they keep you from becoming the person God created you to be. The thoughts, the attitudes, the wrong desires are stunting your spiritual growth. Because of your love for God you fight against them, you become like the blacksmith at the forge, heating the iron red hot, and pounding it into the shape you want upon the anvil, but no luck, you can’t make yourself the way you want to be. Sadly some have quit, they couldn’t do it so they quit trying and slide back into all the old ways of living. You can call it relapse. They forgot that they couldn’t do it before either and had to rely on God to partner with them. Don’t give up when you see the flaws, if a relapse happens, do what you did at first, acknowledge that you are in desperate need of God’s help to change, that you can’t do it on your own. Once again look to the Holy Spirit to empower the change and lead you into all truth.
Ephesians 4:22-24 (MSG)
I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside 24 and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you.