Growing Beyond the Status Quo
Reflect with me for a moment back to a time when you measured your child‘s height against the door frame in the kitchen. Your little one stood as tall as he could without cheating. Beaming with anticipation, he could hardly wait to discover how much he had grown.
One thing for sure. Children are all about growing up. Their greatest desire is to be older, smarter and better equipped than they are at the moment. There is no status quo in their mindset. Children don’t stay still long enough to become stagnate, do they? And their little minds are like sponges, soaking up everything around them.
What about us? Do we have a burning need to grow spiritually? Do we ache with a desire to become all God wants us to be? To experience everything He wants us to experience in this life?
We can get stuck in a complacent mindset and find it difficult to grow beyond our status quo. As Christians, it’s also very possible for us to become content with the assurance of eternal life while oblivious to the lessons God wants to teach us this side of heaven.
Water stagnation occurs when water stops flowing. Spiritual stagnation occurs when the living water stops flowing in and through our lives. God has planted within us the need/desire to progress beyond our limitations. Satisfaction with the status quo leads to a resistance to spiritual growth.
As Benjamin Franklin so wisely said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
We can learn much about spiritual growth from the way children grow toward maturity. Three of the many important characteristics of emotionally healthy children are courage, curiosity and confidence. What can we learn from them?
At the age of 50+, during a visit to Switzerland, my husband and I tried to learn to ski. It was a horrifying experience! I couldn’t stand up on my skis, much less navigate the Swiss Alps on them. But while I was tearfully declaring my imminent demise, a child no older than five came flying by us on the edge of a cliff with no poles. Do children have courage? Case closed!
How do we find the courage to become more spiritually agile? By asking God to equip us with the knowledge of His Word, the power of the Holy Spirit and the courage to be stretched beyond our own capabilities.
In the following verse, King David is talking to Solomon his son about the building of God’s temple. But we can apply it to our spiritual growth because I Corinthians 3:16 tells us that we are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in us.
“. . . Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, he will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.” I Chronicles 28:20
Isn’t it amazing to observe the curiosity of children? In the beginning, everything is a wonder to them. But this is how they learn, isn’t it? If there were no curiosity, there would be no reaching beyond themselves to examine what lies before them. Sure, it can be dangerous and that’s why children need supervision and guidance. But what a sad thing it would be to squelch their curiosity.
If we desire to grow spiritually, we must approach God with a cognitive mind and a curiosity that drives us to explore the wonders of His Word, His will and His transforming power.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. . . For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance: and to perseverance, godliness and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” 2 Peter 1:3&5-8
As I learned from our “skiing” experience, children possess much more natural confidence than many of us do as adults. But with encouragement from adults, children can continue to grow in their confidence as they experiment and grow in knowledge of the world around them.
According to KidsHealth, “When kids achieve something, whether it’s brushing their own teeth or riding a bike, they get a sense of themselves as able and capable, and tap into that high-octane fuel of confidence.”
How do we tap into the high-octane fuel of spiritual confidence? By learning how to trust God to strengthen and empower us to reach for the goals He has laid out for us. Goals to grow us beyond the status quo.
“ . . . blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.” Jeremiah 17:7 NLT
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10:35
Regardless of how old we are physically, we are God’s children. And our heavenly Father has created within us a propensity to grow spiritually. Perhaps when you and I arrive in heaven, God will stand us next to the proverbial door frame and He will beam with pride as He shows us how much we have grown spiritually.
And then, He will call your name and mine and say, “Elizabeth (or your name), ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:23
And we really will live happily ever after!
Now, let’s talk: Just as in the physical realm, growing pains are a natural by-product of growing spiritually. What growing pains have you experienced and how has God helped you to grow past them?