Read: Philippians 3:4 ; Proverbs 16:3 |
Brooke Greenburg never looked her age.
At birth, Brooke weighed 4 pounds but had serious medical issues. After multiple tests and surgeries, the doctors determined that her “developmental inertia” was too slow. Therefore, her body was not going through the correct physiological changes – only her hair and fingernails grew. In her late teens, she was 30 inches tall, weighed 17 pounds and had the mind of a 1-year-old. [ABC News Maryland 20-Year-Old Dies Never Having Aged, Oct. 29, 2013, By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES]
Sadly Brooke passed away at the age of twenty, leaving behind her parents and three sisters who cherished their time with her. While Brooke Greenburg’s case is unique in the medical community, it is not so unique in the spiritual community. There are untold numbers of Christians who remain “spiritual babies” their entire lives! They choose not to grow and never look nor act their spiritual age.
Take a moment and look back over the last twelve months. If you had a spiritual growth chart to show your growth for that period, would you have shown any growth for the year? In either case, let us talk about ways to ensure that you are growing.
Recognize your current spiritual condition
A man, after 25 years with one company, was still doing the same old job and drawing the same salary. Finally, he went to his boss and told him he felt he had been neglected. “After all,” he said, “I’ve had a quarter of a century of experience.”
“My dear fellow,” sighed the boss, “you haven’t had a quarter of a century of experience, you have had one experience for a quarter of a century.”
Recognize and acknowledge where you are in Christ to determine your current spiritual condition. Ask God to help you understand where you have only repeated one experience versus where He wants you to develop new experiences.
Trust God for Guidance
A story is told of a young woman teaching swimming lessons. She started with a floating line separating the deep from the shallow end of the pool. After a week when everyone could at least swim the width of the shallow end, she took down the line separating the two levels.
A nervous young boy remarked, “Miss Tahnee, please put the line back up…the deep water is getting into the shallow water!”
While his astute observation evokes a smile, how do you handle it when God urges you to grow by asking you to swim in the deeper water of greater responsibility? Are you tempted to say the same thing the little boy did?
Recognize that God will never put you in a situation that you cannot handle, no matter how deep the water may seem. Trust God!
Develop a plan of action for growing spiritually
Unless you wish to stay in the same spiritual state each year and ignore the Holy Spirit’s call to press on toward the goal, then review these nine steps to trigger your “developmental inertia”.
1. PLACE — Find a regular place to get alone with God. Get away from music, TV, cell phones, or any other distraction.
2. PLAN — Seek God’s insight on what to read for your Quiet Time. Select a daily devotional or select a book of the Bible to study one or two verses at a time.
3. PRAY — Ask the Holy Spirit to still your heart and mind so that you can totally focus on what He is saying to you as you read.
4. PASSAGE — Read your devotional or your Bible. God’s word will speak to your heart.
5. PRAY — Pray that God will keep the Word on your heart during the day. Ask for insight, and then listen for the Holy Spirit.
6. PRAISE — Praise Him for what He has done. Praise Him for what He is doing that is not yet clear to you.
7. PETITION — Share with God the desires of your heart. Focus not only on your needs, but for your family and extended family as well.
8. PRINT — Journal your prayers, the answers and the insights that you have gained.
9. PRAYER PARTNER – Identify a prayer partner and pray with them at least once a week for 5-10 minutes.
Once you commit to God whatever you do [Proverbs 16:3], God will surely allow your plans to succeed.
God, thank you for loving me as you do. I want to grow closer to you. I am ready to do whatever it takes to move forward in my relationship with you. I want to get rid of everything that holds me back in order to follow you more closely.
Thank you that I am not bound by my past mistakes but can actually learn from them. Thank you for using them to teach me. I am determined to discipline myself out of love for you. Lead me, and I will run after you. Show me your way, and I will follow. Thank you for the glorious future you have promised when I follow you. [Prayer from Student Life Lesson – “Consequences”]
A. Are there spiritual areas in your life, that you have set off-limits for God?
B. What have you trusted God with lately? Discuss with a prayer partner.
A. Change requires “developmental inertia” otherwise we have “eternal youth”. Are you interested in growing spiritually or are you satisfied with your current spiritual stature?
B. Discuss this statement with your prayer partner: How do you know when you are close enough to God and do not need to grow anymore –or– is that possible and why?
A. For my son, we marked his physical growth on a chart and marveled at his growth spurts during a given year. Looking back on your life, can you identify spiritual growth spurts in your life?
B. What caused your growth spurts? What can you do to ensure you keep growing spiritually?