Our growth toward God starts with us actually moving toward God. One of the biggest lessons I had to learn was, I have to put effort into my relationship with God. If you have ever listened to or read anything about spiritual growth you have heard this as well. The problem is that I wasn’t doing it. I came up with a lot of new and innovative ways to persuade God into seeing things my way. The problem was, that I didn’t actually want to spend time getting to know God and seek His true will for my life.
I spent years struggling with God. Early in my life in the church, I knew that when I spent time in prayer I saw a spiritual growth in my life. However, I was never willing to stop and put the time in. There was time to go to college, maybe head knowledge would get me closer to God. I got on staff at a church, maybe working for God would get me closer. I got ordained, He will love me so much more now that I’m a pastor. All that time and money, and prayer and meditation were what I needed to get closer to God.
In the valuable little book, Way of the Ascetics, (Amazon Link) Tito Colliander writes,
Faith comes not through pondering but through action. Not words and speculation but experience teaches us what God is. To let in fresh air we have to open a window; to get tanned we must go out into the sunshine. Achieving faith is no different; we never reach a goal by just sitting in comfort and waiting, say the holy Fathers. Let the Prodigal Son be our example. So, he got up and went to his Father (Luke 15:20).
Spiritual Growth Isn’t An Option
When we decide to let God start to change us, we have to also realize it can’t be optional. Just like eating, and breathing, out time in prayer daily is not optional. Our job is to put ourselves in a position to hear and learn from God. My biggest problem was that I wanted to tell God what I wanted my spiritual growth to look like, not sit down and learn from Him. I wanted to force God into a box, not to be changed. I didn’t want to give myself up so I could truly grow. Meister Eckhart said, “Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.” I want to be a beginner every day so that I may learn from God.