As human beings, we can measure growth in every field of endeavour that we are involved in. Growth is obvious in how we develop from infancy to childhood, adolescence to adulthood and from being a subordinate to qualifying as a superior. We move from amateurship to professionalism, from fumbled words to clear speech and from innocence to assuming responsibility for our actions. The phases we go through visibly register our growth process and pattern.
It is not any different in the spiritual realm either. When we are born again by accepting Jesus as Lord and Saviour over our lives, we kick-start a spiritual growth process. Any attempt to stall the process will lead to stagnation. Now that we have found nourishment in the word of God, let us seek to graduate from milk to solid food.
The process demands however that we desire such growth. It is not automatic. We must stir up the spirit in us to hunger for the Word in order to grow. Our desire to grow becomes a lifestyle. Just as a plant needs water and manure to grow and produce fruits, the believer needs to conform to a pattern of living befitting the new creation that she or he has become in Christ Jesus. “The old is gone the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
There is a need to break away from the old mould, bind the strong man and thrust him out of our houses where he had taken up illegal residence. Our reawakened spiritual self must manifest itself by the company we keep and the places we frequent, to safeguard our newly-found identity. It is not just enough to be happy with our new status and just lay back as spectators or stand idly by. No, we must get involved.
How? Daily rations. Just as our bodies are fed, our spirits and souls desire to be fed with the word of God. Our daily intake of food is vital to our existence, to staying alive. Likewise, we may have to drink from the well of life for a steady and balanced spiritual development and growth pattern that would affect all areas of our beings. When we do not, we become drained and cannot withstand the trails and temptations of the evil one. God has put His Spirit in us so that we may be sensitive not only to earthly things in our human habitat–but also to the ‘things’ not seen, the things of God.
We have a Guide in the Person of the Holy Spirit, when we become spiritually active – that is, when we become ‘born again’. We need to change the mode in which we perceived things, conscious that as spirit beings we belong to the spiritual world. Everything was conceived by God in His Spirit before it became a reality. We attain our full potential when we operate in the Spirit, hear from God and listen attentively and obediently to His voice.
The Spirit of God dwells in us and works in us, telling us what to do and what not to do; where not to venture, what not to indulge in, where not to set our feet. He becomes our signpost, keeping us out of danger and harm. Without Him we are lost. The Spirit was given to us as our antenna by which we can easily capture the voice of God–it isn’t any different from the air waves and signals we receive on our radio and television sets to make them functional.
We are to be careful though; there are two voices – one that prompts us to “will and to do according to His good pleasure”, and the other that pushes us to do evil. The positive voice is from the Holy Spirit, the other negative voice that is constantly nudging us to pose disobedient acts that would not please God, is the voice of the devil. Our first response is to run for cover like young Joseph in Potiphar’s house did. (Genesis 39:12)
We ought to resist his suggestions by quoting the word to him. “It is written!” When he boldly attempted to dissuade Jesus from accomplishing His mission, the Lord countered with Scripture and as the Bible record says; “He (the devil) left Him alone.” (Matthew 4:11) When we shun him, we are training ourselves to become attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but Spirit gives birth to Spirit.” (John 3:6) Repeatedly ignoring the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the long run would make us callous to a stage where our consciences become seared. We do not care to listen, we do as we please. That is not the way to go; that kind of attitude leads to destruction.
Every gauge is an indicator of the current status; ignoring it will not be wise. Let us keep our eyes on the gauge as often as we can so that our faith will not falter. Most of all, let us remember “… that faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)