What can the believer actively strive toward, yet at the same time must they also pray and wait upon in the same breath? The answer I have in mind is spiritual growth. I find it odd to be posting on such a topic, but I’m feeling prodded to do so, therefore I have caved. Growth is something so critical to the Christian life, however it seems one of the least understood in the general case. I’m not saying that I myself have understood this facet of life, but I certainly have some thoughts and an anecdote (surprise, surprise).
As I prepare to disappear from my friends through the New Year going home for Christmas and working the week after, I think it only fair and appropriate to give all fair warning of what will be occupying my time. A few days ago, during a markedly emotional quiet time with the Lord, I felt a strong urging to do the very thing which scares me most. I felt the need to face my demons. Honestly, I had no clue what I was agreeing to (and I still don’t exactly), but I knew that it was in my best interest. That’s the funny thing about growth. There are two things, actually. First, it is begun and completed by the Holy Spirit (Philippians 1:6). Second, it is rarely an enticing proposition, but deep down we know it will be good, however the definition of the “it” we are typically left without.
So, there I was sitting in my bedroom floor, raising my head and realizing I had no idea what I had just signed up for, nor what the next step was. Then it hit me. What is always the first step to seemingly every conundrum? Prayer. Right then and there was I granted an awesome and terrifying revelation. Growth was going to require me to do the very thing that I was certifiably scared of. He was requiring me to trust Him to delve into the very bowels of my soul.
Here’s the tricky part about living in the Spirit. Once we receive direction from Him, we must then be obeying and actively following. Yielding to the Spirit and asking for direction is a great beginning, but walking in the Spirit involves taking that first step. That’s why it’s called “walking.”
Here I am today. It feels like I’m beginning my trek, destination: my personal hell. I am intentionally diving into the darkest, most evil and Godless depths of my soul. When I arrive, I am to find everything but God. I will, at least on some level, confront exactly how evil I am as a descendant of Adam and that, what I will find there, is what scares me. The epitome of Godlessness, the very definition of hell and pure evil, is what I’m looking forward to on this journey…Freaking great!
What I needed to be reminded of most at this very moment is that I am not headed for my own personal hell, not even close. Really?! The very Spirit which prompted me to set on this journey will be with me every step of the way (John 14:16-18). This evil place is nothing more than just that as it will be Godless no longer.
I have a great promise in the Spirit. He does it on a regular basis and helps me in my pursuit of searching my heart (Psalm 7:9). When I feel faint, He will grant me the strength to press on if I ask for it (like Samson in Judges 14:6). When I lack the wisdom in my search, He will supply His own, God’s truth (John 16:13). Finally, He will continue the work of sanctification that has begun in me (2 Corinthians 3:18).
I have a long way to go on this journey, but I have been pointed right at the enemy and I have been given every tool and reason to succeed in that endeavor. Everything about it is God’s mission, I am only the wayward journeyer who has wandered into His path for my life. He has and is supplying everything else. I do not know where the path will lead, nor do I know the next step, but I know I am not undertaking this alone. Yes, I’m still apprehensive…and scared. Even still, I hear the faint voice of my Savior claiming already victory in this as He has claimed all my life up to this moment (John 16:33).