Many people recognize a general brokenness in their own lives, and also sense it multiplying through our culture over the last 50 years or so. We have developed an expansive vocabulary related to different forms of dysfunction, addiction, and mental health. Most people seem to feel a need for help from beyond themselves to develop healthy and free lives. Often, they are on some kind of spiritual quest. In many circles it has even become quite chic to pursue spiritual things. For what kind of spirit and spiritual experiences, however, are people looking?
There is a (sometimes subtle) natural draw to seek spiritual growth primarily for the purpose of self-improvement, personal influence, or power. We can be tempted to use the spiritual realm, trying to get it to submit to our own personal wills. The temptation is to look for spiritual power that will help us get what we want. So, we may turn to impersonal expressions of faith/religion to boost our sense of self – a kind of...
Are you growing as a person?
Are you growing spiritually?
How can you tell?
We may hope to become spiritual “giants”, but that will never happen without becoming more honest and responsible. It just will NOT happen.
Spirit life – the Fruit of the Spirit - is described as: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. (Galatians 5:22) These are wholeness words that permeate and are reflected in one’s entire character. These are the by-products of the presence of God in our lives, and our cooperation with His promptings.
Peter also writes a personal growth list for us to consider: Faith, Goodness, Knowledge, Self-control, Perseverance, Godliness, Brotherly Kindness and Love. (2 Peter 1:5-7) He goes onto say that if we possess these qualities in growing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of Jesus Christ.
God wants us to be faithful and fruitful in life....
Most of us tend to do whatever we can to get out of the path of adversity. We will try to think our way out of a mess, look for help from others, or pray that God will just make it stop. Additionally, we all experience the constant inundation of advertisers that offers products to relieve and remove our troubles. They promise to give us access to the good life to which we are all “entitled.” If your difficulty is weight, muscle tone, sickness, finance, loneliness, depression, or erectile dysfunction – “We have a product that will take care of that for you.”
God’s ways are often very different from ours. He uses the hurdles and stubborn obstacles of life to deepen us and produce lasting fruit in our lives. Wisdom and character are grown through adversity, not through escape. There is no product that you can buy that will give you the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) or understanding of the ways of God. These are only forged...