Yes . . . what if you did?
What if you really did want to grow?
...how about spiritually in 2021?
Any kind of growth requires training ~ the training that nets spiritual dividends most certainly includes Bible study and prayer to start, some might stifle a yawn at the thought. I want to blow that notion right out of the water, because these are the elements of wisdom and grace, the way to access God's power and guidance--God’s gifts to us. These are the parts of relationship with our Maker, our God.
Permit me to paint a mental picture for you:
I was not really old enough to appreciate or understand the 60s movement, though I technically lived it. I like much of the music it produced, especially the Moody Blues, Donovan, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. One song turns my thoughts toward Eden, “We’ve Got to Get Ourselves back to the Garden.” What a concept. I remember learning about the six days of Creation as a child, being fascinated about the order of things from the start. One thing has always troubled me though—why do we spend so little time discussing what the Garden of Eden was like? After all, it was the paradise God created for his children to inhabit. Before that fateful bite of the offering of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, what was it like for Adam and Eve and the animals?
Imagine with me ~ going for a walk with the Lord, in the cool of the early evening, or in the morning, while the dew is still on the roses. As you stroll, your eyes take in Stargazer lilies, resplendent in their white and rich, deep pinks; and then you spy the yellows, reds and oranges of climbing Joseph’s Coat roses. Be careful, do not step on the delicate freesias spilling into your path, or fail to notice hummingbirds scolding one another, as they enjoy the nectar of beautiful trumpet vines. In the distance, you spy exotic cats luxuriating under palms. (Ponder for a moment what else you might experience had you been in paradise~)
It is into this setting I invite you to get to know your Savior. I picture Jesus sitting on a garden bench waiting for me to come and spend time with him. What do I do when I join him? I endeavor to put my private world in order—spending time talking with God and reading his word. My friend, do you take time to order your inner life? “I want first of all . . . to be at peace with myself. I want, in fact—to borrow from the language of the saints to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, ‘May the outward and inward man be one.’ 1
I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and live as I was meant to in the eye of God. I want to consecrate myself and my day, to God.
You can’t really know God for yourself unless you spend time alone with him. Consider such in human terms as you imagine overhearing the following exchange between a fiancée and his betrothed:
She: I’m so looking forward to our wedding day. I do love you so much. I really wish I could see more of you. There’s so much of you I want to know better.
He: Yes, dear, I know. I’m going to send you a book that describes more about my life. I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of it.
She: I’ll be glad to read it. But I just want to hold your hand. (She continues somewhat mischievously) I just want to kiss you.
He: I’m sure you do, beloved. Let me send you a tape describing the role of physical affection at different stages of courtship. You’ll find it worthwhile, I’m sure.
She: (somewhat disappointed) That’s wonderful, darling. It’s just that I so look forward to our wedding day. I want to be with you so badly. I think of us being, you know, ‘together’, day and night.
He: Yes, intimacy is important. I’d like to send you to a weekend seminar; that should really be quite helpful.2
About this time, most of us would say, ‘Are you kidding me, Dude? You don’t have a clue how to love this woman or maybe even be in a relationship with her!’ Yet, we often picture God like the man in the café—distant and remote. God is not ‘out there somewhere’—he is closer than we think; he is as close as we let him be.
So, yes, you can purpose to grow spiritually in 2021 by spending more time alone with God……..what do you say? Hit ‘reply’—let me know what you think about that notion, will you? More tomorrow on this thought.
BUILD MY LIFE, a song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZW4_8_zCBE
Growing together with you,
1 - Ordering your Private World, Gordon MacDonald
2 - The Sacred Romance, John Eldredge