Rising or stagnating
God has a plan for our lives, and there is all the time one thing he needs us engaged on. Are we engaged on it although?
I sometimes look again at my life and marvel if I’ve ‘progressed’ in any significant or important manner.
I am positive all of us get that feeling now and again, the sensation of dissatisfaction with our private progress, like we’re not dwelling as much as our full potential. Typically it would simply be the results of having an excessive amount of time on our fingers, wanting inward and dwelling on theoretical could-have-been’s relatively than getting on with our lives.
This may additionally be partly because of dwelling in a tradition which has a lot alternative, that our expectations of what life ought to seem like are massively overinflated.
I do assume there are applicable moments although to cease and look at our progress because it pertains to our religious journey, and ask ourselves if we’re rising or stagnating. Are we making progress on the trail to maturity?
Do not accept previous progress
In a latest message I heard, the pastor posed the query “are we searching for new encounters with God, or are we settling for a previous encounter?” He elaborated that typically now we have had a previous expertise or encounter with God that modified our lives or moved us ahead, however now we have settled for this previous expertise and grow to be complacent, not persevering with to go additional in our relationship with the Lord.
It acquired me reflecting by myself progress and whether or not it confirmed proof of progress in direction of religious maturity, i.e. sanctification. In different phrases, was I actively searching for a deeper relationship with God, or was I holding again someplace and permitting myself to accept previous ‘encounters’?
After I checked out particular areas of my life that want work, I spotted I wasn’t doing issues I already knew I ought to do, I used to be holding again. I used to be procrastinating in my very own religious journey as a result of a few of these areas had been robust to take care of. Similar to the numerous occasions throughout college that I delay an task till the night time earlier than it was due, I used to be delaying coping with obstacles to progress as a result of they had been going to be onerous to beat.
What stagnation appears to be like like
The issue with this example if it turns into a sample is that it is stagnation. It is the other of progress, and within the religious sense progress means not holding again something from God. Development requires sacrifice, and typically God has already proven us what He needs, we’re simply not able to do it.
The way in which the Bible describes the Christian life makes this rigidity very clear. It’s usually depicted as an lively factor – a race, a journey, or like a tree that grows to maturity and bears fruit. These analogies depict an ongoing course of that requires lively involvement and participation.
The work of sanctification is one thing we participate in, and is meant to proceed towards fruition all through our total life. It isn’t like a music monitor that we will play and pause as we please.
I think this informal mentality in direction of religious progress has grow to be pervasive amongst Christians. It is a characteristic of the tradition – that we will have interaction with what we wish and once we need – and little question it has infiltrated pondering on religious issues as effectively.
Anecdotally I see this mentality in ‘Sunday Christianity’, the place many churchgoers reserve consideration and dialogue of religious issues to Sunday gatherings and residential teams. However this isn’t how Christian life was meant to be lived, we’re to strategy Jesus on His phrases, not ours. So we should problem the supply of our complacency.
What progress takes
In a sequence of movies, the Bible Mission examines the ‘Shema’ (pronounced Shĕ-mah), a passage in Deuteronomy which was recited as a prayer each morning and night in historic Israel, as each a pledge of allegiance and a prayer of reward to God:
“Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone, and also you shall love the Lord your God with all of your coronary heart, all of your soul, and all of your may” (Deut 6:4-5).
Within the unique Hebrew, the phrase ‘soul’ on this passage truly meant one thing like ‘being’ or ‘sentience’. So once we learn it in context, it means we should love God with our ‘total being’ – with full and complete devotion.
If we’re holding again in any space of our life, it’s unimaginable to fulfil this command totally, and we might discover stagnation occurring – delicate or apparent. We won’t transfer on to new encounters with God if we aren’t coping with the issues He has already revealed to us.