We don’t get to pick and choose when or where because it’s actually already happening all-the-time.
Every day, moment-by-moment…
We are ALWAYS becoming a certain kind of person.
Opening up to God more deeply or closing ourselves off. Growing emotionally or staying immature. Developing relationally or suffering the injury of under development.
Spiritual growth touches ALL of our life. There is no such thing as our “spiritual life” and then our “real life.” It is all integrated into ONE life—the one you live every day.
Adversity: The Outer Clothing Of Growth.
I find it difficult to accept [even though it’s too often true] that the deepest kind of growth happens in the most challenging and difficult spots of my life. And even though I know I’m growing in the middle of it, it never seems to be a satisfying consolation in real-time.
Ever pray this prayer: “Lord, is there any other path I can go rather than this one I’m currently on?” I know I have. And Jesus did too. But experience teaches that what we’d rather avoid, can indeed be something God uses to grow his purpose in and out of our life.
I often seem to think that some other place will be the ideal spot for me to grow more adequately. But rarely is it the place I’m presently at; I most often think it should happen somewhere else, or in some other way—mostly in greater comfort and on a smoother path.
Fully Embrace YOUR Life.
I’m realizing a seed only flourishes by staying in the ground in which it is sown. And, the SEED is US and the GROUND is OUR LIVES. We can’t replant ourselves into another life. We can only flourish in the life we’re planted in, because it’s the only one given to us.
We might do better to realize and trust that the “ground of our lives” [no matter what circumstantially is prevailing or where we find ourselves] is in fact the best place to discover everything that we need to flourish and grow.
Gripping Too Tightly To Your Life.
Spiritual growth implies a lessening of self-concern in conjunction with a deepening awareness of God’s presence at work in our lives. Often we are too preoccupied—thinking too much of or feeling overly sorry for ourselves—to notice the presence of the divine in the moment, at work, in our inner most being.
Lessening of self-concern? But why? So that we can engage more fully in our life—the life that God gives and created for us to live. When we are too full of ourselves, we fool ourselves into believing that we are the source of our own life. And, when we swim in the deep waters of self-pity for too long, we soon discover we’re drowning in a lack of gratitude to fully appreciate and enjoy our life.
Spiritual growth moves us in the direction of the best possible life for us. And we have a living, breathing picture of how God wants us to live. Jesus is a living portrait of the many ways in which we can live the best possible life.
Three Things From a Living Portrait Of Jesus.
Which seem to be foundational for spiritual and life development.
- Emptying our selves by giving up “equality with God.” Our sense of entitlement must die. Life has been given to us; it is a gift. We cannot be the source of life to ourselves, or be in control of everything, attempting to play God. But as we take on the very nature of a servant, serving others and their interest as well as your own, we’ll grow by getting smaller. Ascent by descent, humbling ourselves, this begins it all.
- Submitting to God’s will. In all growth we have to accept and bow our knee in trust of God’s path for us rather than making for ourselves our own. Embrace all of your life—the beautiful and the ugly—and trust that God is at work in the center of it all to bring about good. Even when there’s a misstep or a redirection on the path you currently know; trust in God, lean not only to your understanding, acknowledge God in all your ways, and know he’ll direct you.
- Overcoming evil with good. Regardless of how you’re treated, give back better than you receive. And, never become the evil that’s being done to you. Your health and maturity are not dependent upon someone else. You’re not a slave to someone else’s immaturity. Jesus was concerned with doing the right thing, no matter what was done to him. If we will identify with that kind of suffering, we will certainly grow much faster in spite of what is thrown at us and transcend the immaturity around us.
The opportunities to grow, mature, and be formed spiritually are present every day in things like conversations, relationships, emotions, circumstances, etc., the very real stuff that makes up our daily lives. Let’s embrace it all, allowing every part of our lives—and the example of Christ’s life—to develop, shape, and form us?