Spiritual Growth

Spiritual Growth

Have you ever been happily reading an enjoyable book when suddenly a sentence hits you right between the eyes? In The Furious Longing of God,1 Brennan Manning writes:

I’ve decided that if I had my life to live over again, I would not only climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets; I wouldn’t only jettison my hot water bottle, raincoat, umbrella, parachute, and raft; I would not only go barefoot earlier in the spring and stay out later in the fall; but I would devote not one more minute to monitoring my spiritual growth. No, not one.

I loved the first part, because in my older contemplative years, I enjoy poetic musings about the simple things of life. But his phrase to “devote not one more minute to monitoring my spiritual growth. No, not one”—what does that mean?

I reread the sentence a few times slowly until the word grace came to mind. Walking with God is a spiritual journey that will last this lifetime and beyond. God doesn’t seem to be in a hurry, and as we go along together, He points lessons out to me. Sometimes I get it the first time around, and other times it seems like He needs to repeat the lesson several times before I get the point. Just like parents have to do with their children.

But our lives aren’t about climbing a ladder to get to the top of our field of spiritual expertise, hoping we can earn extra points or more blessings if we try hard enough. Jesus said that if we seek first His kingdom, then everything else will fall into place.2

So do I need to be working toward something or not? The author finished his thought by writing:

What would I actually do if I had it to do all over again? … I would simply do the next thing in love.

I think if I live under the shadow of His grace and His love, then everything else in my life will fall into place.

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You can’t make yourself grow spiritually. It doesn’t come by self-effort. It comes by living close to Jesus, living in His Word, soaking up His love, being filled with His Spirit, and engaging in heart-to-heart communication with Him.—Virginia Brandt Berg (1886–1968)

1. Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing of God (David C. Cook, 2009).
2. See Matthew 6:33.

Sally García

Sally García is an educator, missionary, and member of the Family International in Chile.

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