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On Ramp to Spiritual Growth: Understand God’s Will

God wants you to grow! And He’s provided everything necessary for you to grow! However, there are obstacles. Just like merging onto a freeway, many times we’re hesitant, things get in the way, we’re lazy, or fearful. One of the on ramps for me personally, was when began to understand what God is doing in the world. What is God’s will? is a frequently asked question. When I saw that God’s will was not difficult or hard to understand, my desire for spiritual growth increased. Here are three words that have helped me understand God’s will:

1. Relationship – The God of the Universe wants a relationship with you. And He went to great lengths to make that a possibility. Jesus showed his desire to have a relationship with us by giving His very life. See John 3:16. The growing Christian will see their life through the lens of this relationship God through Christ.

2. Identity – Christianity is not about what you do, it’s about who you are. Or really, WHOSE you are. God shapes our identity through our relationship with Him. As we relate to Him & draw closer to Him, we become identified with his character & his mission in the world.

3. Eternity – God made us for more than this life. Eternal life starts when we place our faith & trust in Christ, not when we die. One meaning of the word eternal is TIMELESS. Salvation makes us timeless. And this reminds us that God has more in mind for us than just the 60-80 years that we may live on this earth. We’re made for eternity. We are also saved & sent to help others understand & get ready to face eternity.

What helps you understand God’s will?

This month Bridge Church in Madisonville is talking about On Ramps to Spiritual Growth & Transformation. Join us Sunday’s, 10:30am at the Maritime Museum in Madisonville.

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On Ramps

I live in a growing community where the Interstate – I-12 – basically serves as a service road. That being said, merging onto the Interstate has become quite an adventure over the last few years. We’ve added on ramps & there is a wide diversity of drivers moving about every day. Along with that, there has been some questionable engineering on area bridges & on ramps. All this together means sometimes tying to merge onto or off of the interstate can cause you to get stuck.

Spiritual life is like that as well. Many people today get stuck on or never approach the path to Spiritual Growth. This past Sunday at Bridge Church we drew some parallels to growing spiritually & merging onto the Interstate.

1. Some drivers are just too HESITANT.

They approach the on ramp too slowly, they ride the shoulder. Other drivers are screaming, “ARE YOU GETTING ON OR NOT?”

A lot of people are like this spiritually. They are faithful to church for awhile or every now & then. We like the idea of spiritual growth, but we struggle to make a lasting commitment. Call it being “on the fence.” Jesus called it being LUKEWARM & SICKENING (Revelation 3:16).

2. Some drivers are easily DELAYED.

Something – a crash, debris, etc. – gets in the way.

Spiritually, our past, poor relationships, the opinions of others, sinful habits, lack of discipline, misunderstanding God & His will are some of the things that can get in our way & drastically slow our spiritual development.

3. Some drivers are just plain LAZY.

They avoid the interstate all together, even though its the fastest way, just because its TOO MUCH TROUBLE.

Relationships, commitment, dealing with our selfishness, being challenged to get out of our comfort zone. These are the things that growing spiritually will put you in the middle of. Some people opt out, because it’s not the easiest path.

4. Some drivers are too FEARFUL.

I’ve talked with people in our area, that won’t drive on the Interstate, because they are afraid of WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN.

They might ask me to serve in the nursery. I might be challenged to deal with that pain in the past. I might be disappointed again by a pastor or leader. Commitment is always risky. Jesus commended risk taking & actually sternly warned the fearful who choose the easy path (Matthew 25:14-30).

Where are you on the Path to Spiritual Growth? Are you driving full speed ahead? Are you hesitating? Are you delayed? Does it seem like too much trouble? Are you afraid?

God wants you to grow! And He’s provided all that you need to grow, starting with a relationship with Him through Jesus’ death & resurrection. He’s promised his presence & power for those that get on board with this journey. There’s no need to hesitate. You can do this! This year!

Join Bridge Church in Madisonville as we tackle this topic this month in a series we’re calling On Ramps to Spiritual Growth. Sundays, 10:30am at the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum, 133 Mabel Drive.

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Things Spiritual Giants Say

trailI’ve known what I’d consider a few spiritual giants in my life. These are spiritually mature people who I’ve looked to for encouragement & as an example of faith and discipline and spiritual growth. In thinking about what leads to spiritual growth, I got to thinking about their stories and their paths and what I’ve heard these people say about their own growth. What were the catalyst for them? Here’s a few that I remember:

“I surrendered my life to Christ when I was __ years old.”

Spiritually mature people can point to a time when they began their journey with God and they see that event as a catalyst for almost everything in their lives.

“I was reading the Bible the other day and…” or “It’s like the Bible says…”

Spiritually mature people have devotional habits like Bible reading that give them a foundation for decision making and life.

“I met ____ and they helped me understand God’s will more clearly.”

Spiritually mature people often point to catalytic relationships that spurred them on in their spiritual growth & pursuit of Christ. A pastor, a small group leader, a godly friend or family member.

“I was on a mission trip in ____ and…” or “I got involved in the ____ ministry of my church and…”

Spiritually mature people are always on mission. You’ll find them on mission trips, leading ministries, opening their homes, cooking, serving, sharing, giving.

“Life took a turn for the worse, but God & my church family gave me strength.” 

Spiritually mature people often experienced hardships and tragedy, but they can point to the good and to God’s providential hand at work in the situation. And they can often testify that the hardship was a catalyst for growth and for deeper dependence upon God and others.

“Can I help you with anything?” or “Can I pray for you about anything?” or “How are you doing?”

Spiritually mature people are focused on others. Visit with them and you’ll leave with more than you came with – spiritually and maybe physically. Always giving, always pointing to others.

So, are you and I on the path to spiritual maturity?

  • Can you point to a time when you began a relationship with God?
  • Do you practice daily devotional habits that shape the way you live?
  • Do you have catalytic relationships that challenge you? Or are you in the right place for these to happen?
  • Are you on mission? Are you serving others through your church or some other way?
  • Have you allowed the circumstances and hardships of your life to aid your dependence on God and spiritual growth?
  • Are focused on others or yourself?
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