Weekly Thought – November 10, 2020
Fred believed in maturity and the growth process. He thought and wrote often about personal and spiritual development. He lightly regarded any systems which were “overnight success stories.” Faith, as other aspects of his life, was grounded in principles.
Promoting Spiritual Growth
Several years ago a friend was in deep trouble, even facing bankruptcy. He asked a pastor friend to pray for him. Before praying, the pastor said, “I will pray if you will promise me you won’t be mad at God even if you go bankrupt.” My friend told me that was the beginning of his serious spiritual growth.
Not only should we avoid being mad at God during adverse times, but we should also avoid the “spoiled brat” syndrome expecting God to protect us from the normal problems of life. Wanting God to make exceptions for us is immature.
A top executive came to me during a business downturn saying, “Why me? I have been a good Christian. I don’t drink, smoke, or chase women.” I don’t think those behaviors define “good Christian.” A more mature attitude would be “why not me?” We can’t expect a pass from human troubles.
It is important to develop a right image of God. Lecturing at a conservative seminary one of the students approached me and said, “Mr. Smith, God has me right where he wants me.” “Where is that?” “Broke,” was his answer. “My wife and I have a son. Do you think that is the way we want him to think about me as his father?” This improper view of God hampered his spiritual development. Ray Stedman said his life turned around when he found out “God is for me.”
Another key element of spiritual growth is a proper concept of how God works. God’s plan for us is conforming and transforming us. He has a purpose and is not an absentee landlord.
Phil Yancey, in his book Disappointment with God, writes of questions people often ask “Is the Father listening to me?” “Can He be trusted?” “Does He even exist?” I am convinced God is not afraid of these questions. Too many Christians believe they have to protect God. His integrity is worthy of every challenge. Learning to appreciate God’s silence is part of promoting our growth. Oftentimes in the depths we feel like God is silent, not giving us clear direction. God’s delays are not God’s denials. True faith does not require sight and sound productions of Hollywood proportions. Oswald Chambers says “God honors us with His silence.” Faith is an act, not just a theological concept.
The deep-rooted answers come through the struggle. He is serious about our growth so we shouldn’t be surprised at the process.
This week seriously consider: 1) How am I doing in my spiritual development? 2) What is He working on in me right now? 3) When He is silent, how do I respond?
Words of Wisdom: “Wanting God to make exceptions for us is immature.”
Wisdom from the Word: “So that you may live worthily of the Lord and please him in all respects – bearing fruit in every good deed, growing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:10 NET Bible)