The Stages of Spiritual Growth (Good, Better, Best)

The best-known location of the spiritual growth continuum is probably 1 John 2:12-14:  little children > young men > fathers.

But another one I’ve discovered in recent years and just love is this:

“Remember Jesus” > “Consider Jesus” > “Fixing our eyes on Jesus”     (in 1 Timothy 2:8, Hebrews 3:1, and Hebrews 12:2)

(If I were in alliteration mode I might say “meet, meditate, metamorphose”)  (I especially love that last one, PERFECT word since here’s the meaning per the Merriam-Webster dictionary:  “to change into a different form especially by supernatural means; to change strikingly the appearance or character” – that’s EXACTLY how it is in the Christian life!)

I discussed these in a prior post but didn’t point out the poignant and palpable progression  of these three.  (I guess I am  in alliteration mode after all! =)

When I first confessed Christ as my Savior, as THE Savior, as the ONLY Savior (1 Timothy 2:5), it was as though, from a personal experiential standpoint, after not really  being an inherent part of my life much less  MY LIFE (Colossians 3:4; Galatians 2:20), I “remembered” Jesus.  From those countless sanctuary sermons, Sunday school lessons and youth group events.  All of that accumulated knowledge about Him and His Word which flames the fuse  of faith (Romans 10:17) came back in a big way but this time came to life.  (Literally.)

Thereafter I found that I “considered” Jesus regularly, consistently, without the elongated spells signified by spiritual silence as it were.  I found myself thinking about Him all throughout the day.  This was coupled with (produced by) a greater and greater presence of the Bible (the “sword  of the Spirit” – Ephesians 6:17 – which He wields so well, like a doctor’s scalpel) in my life and mindspace, which fans the flames  of faith.

Now that has gone to a whole other, more intense, even more consistent level such that NOT thinking about Him and His Word has become the exception, not the rule anymore.  The script has flipped.  And I couldn’t be more thrilled.  Or more grateful.

In which stage of spiritual growth do YOU find yourself today?  That’s the second most important  question in life.  One huge help in my journey has been to regularly “take inventory” of my mindspace, of the actual thoughts which enter and exit or linger in my mind each day.  I’ll elaborate on this in a future post (see item “3.” in the Side Panel or very bottom of this page if you’d like to automatically be notified by email whenever a new post is published) but for the purposes of this one, the main thing is to truly and straightforwardly evaluate  the nature and duration and especially object  of your thoughts that day or hour or week.  If the Lord and Heavenly Father and Holy Spirit and the Bible top that list in both quality and quantity, in both essence and extent, in both degree and duration, you can be sure – no, “certain” – that you’re on exactly the right path (2 Peter 1:8).  Otherwise, not (1:9).  But we’ll never knowunless we regularly (“all the more diligent”) self-administer that test, unless we consistently complete that self-examination (1:10; also 2 Corinthians 13:5).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the most  important question in life, and that’s whether we have a relationship with the Lord at all.  That’s the very beginning, the genesis (no pun intended), the starting line spiritually, and only then can the race (1 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 5:7; 2 Timothy 4:7; and to bring it full circle for this post, Hebrews 12:1) of the Christian life begin.  Like when they fire that blank gun at the start of most track events.  It’s an obstacle course at times (2 Timothy 3:12) but well worth it (Romans 8:18; James 1:2-4) as you seek to remember” then “consider” then “fix your eyes” on Jesus.

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