My senior year of high school I took a Spanish class at a community college. The first half of the semester went relatively smooth. I had outlasted half of my class that had rapidly dropped out. Despite my inability to understand other languages I was able to maintain a solid grade in the course to get the needed credit for graduation. Eventually I reached a point in the course where I knew I could sit back, take it easy, and just put things on cruise control. My studying wasn’t as in depth, the time put into homework started lacking, and my overall determination pretty much disappeared for the course. However, I knew it was ok because despite all of this I was still going to pass. I figured I had done well enough to get by. If I had kept up the pace I had started with I would have gotten an A and probably retained a good chunk of information. I ended the semester with a C, and I could not tell you a thing I learned now.
Often we do this in life. We reach a point in our lives, and in our walk with God where we decide we have reached a high enough standard to be able to coast for the rest of the ride. We do this with a couple things in mind.
1.We believe we will be able to remain at our current standard without putting effort into it. We don’t need to grow, and similarly we won’t move backwards.
2. We believe we have arrived at an amazing standard of perfection. We assume we likely aren’t ever going to get much better than we are now. We compare ourselves to others around us. We believe we are so high above the majority of others that we can get away without more personal growth, and still appear mature and spiritual.
We weren’t meant to just get by in life. We were never meant to stop growing. We fall into the trap of comparing ourselves with others, and assuming we are far enough along in this race that we can afford to chill for a little while. Everyone is at risk of this too whether it be parents, teachers, pastors, or leaders. We lie to ourselves in saying, “I have arrived.” We tell ourselves that this is the best we can do or at the very least the best we need to do.
Something happens though. When we decide to stop growing we don’t remain at a standstill. A standstill would be bad enough, but instead we actual go in reverse. If something is not growing it is dying. Christianity is full of people who believe they are at worst in a standstill of life.
It’s a little bit like the athlete who spends time working out. Once he reaches a certain level he doesn’t just stop working out and assume at the very least he can maintain that physique he worked so hard for. He needs to keep working out, and do even more in order to maintain that strength and improve it. If he stops, he will eventual no longer have that strength because it is never put to use.
How do we keep growing? There is a variety of ways we can do this.
1.Get under someone who can be discipling you. If you don’t have a mentor then go to someone who you trust, and feel you can learn from.
2. Disciple someone else. We grow when we help others grow. Some may say that discipleship isn’t for them. The truth is we are all called to make disciples.
3. Cultivate relationships. We learn from others just by being in community. The more we distance ourselves from others, the more we tend to wilt and die.
4. Get in the Word and write. Read Scripture and write down something that spoke to you. Keep in mind this is just a small step. The more you grow, the more you will need to delve into in various ways to keep growing.
There is a simple truth. Standstills in life don’t exist. You never stop growing. You are either growing or dying. You know which one it is. The question now is what are you going to do about it?
Got anymore tips on growing in your walk and life? Discuss them with me in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts.