This is Part II of ‘Barriers to Spiritual Growth.’
The other day I was thinking about my days of baton twirling, public speaking and yearbook. Three different activities that I really enjoyed in school and gave my very best to.
Each one of these interests gave me a starting point with which to work from. There were stages to navigate through and tasks to master. There were both difficulties and challenges that required every ounce of dedication and practice I could give.
Many times I pushed beyond my comfort zone because I wanted to be successful. I spent hundreds and even thousands of hours rehearsing and perfecting each skill set.
Today I can say that two of the three areas continue to be a regular part of my life and career, so the time was well spent.
But can I say the same for my spiritual journey? Is my investment and commitment to God just as consistent and intense as my training for the extra activities in my life? Am I equipping myself to stand strong in His Word and stand strong against evil?
Growing in God’s Word is a lifelong process and the progress we make as a Christian is a direct correlation to the hours we spend reading the Bible, praying, investing in quiet time, and memorizing His Word. We must make room for God if we are to navigate the stages of life.
None of this is easy. But God’s Word is forever and the investment is eternal.
Like the activities I was involved in during my teen years, my spiritual journey had a beginning too. Along the way I’ve run into stumbling blocks that attempted to throw me off balance and keep me from seeking God’s truth and promises. I’ve also spent thousands of hours learning to grow in grace, practice the fruit of the Spirit, reject evil, deal with difficulty, show kindness, and unconditionally love others–all signs of the Christ who lives in me.
Jesus is the source of ALL things spiritual. Never forget that. We can trust Him, depend on Him, pray to Him and connect with Him. And, it is our growth that transforms us to be secure in His Word.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Colossians 2:6-7 NIV
Every step we take adds to who we are. God longs for us to cultivate a thankful and grateful heart. He wants us to be anxious for nothing. He desires us to memorize Scripture to help fight sin and be victorious. He wants us to guard our hearts and minds so we can be free from darkness.
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.”
John 5:39 NIV
Even in the midst of adversity, God is busy building character, perseverance and commitment in each of us. Staying connected to Him is top priority.
Knowing how to deal with adversity strengthens our relationship with God and promotes spiritual growth. Here is another list of barriers that can hinder, distract and interfere with all God has for us. (I’ve included the link to last week’s post at the bottom)
Nobody wants to hear this, but discord and drama ooze from people who feel the need to stir up trouble, gossip about others and/or cause division among those who would normally NOT be divided. Some people look for opportunities to start trouble. Others use social media to cause conflict. It seems social media has taken us down a road with little or no regard for civility. It’s so easy to treat people poorly when hiding behind a screen.
TAKE A DEEPER LOOK:
Read Romans 16:17; 2 Timothy 2:14; Proverbs 6:19
- Do you know people who consistently feel the need to cause drama and division among people?
- What drives that kind of behavior?
- How do you personally handle discord?
It never fails that money most always makes the list–whatever list. It’s not money itself that’s the problem; it’s the love of money and what it does to people. Money doesn’t interfere with our daily walk with Christ, but we must never let it take precedence or believe it can do more for us than our Heavenly Father.
TAKE A DEEPER LOOK:
Read Luke 12:15; Matthew 6:19; Ecclesiastes 5:10
- Have you experienced a time when money caused problems in your marriage or family?
- How did you work through the situation and what did you learn to do differently?
7. Work and Hobbies
There is nothing wrong with an honest day’s work. In fact, many individuals and families have to put in the hours to make ends meet and pay the bills. We do what we have to do. The problem sometimes comes when overwork and too many hobbies take away time from the important things in life. The disconnect is when people start doing things out of selfish ambition or motives, instead of doing what God wants them to do.
TAKE A DEEPER LOOK:
Read Psalm 127; 1 John 2:15-17; Colossians 3:23-24
- When it comes to work and extra activities, are you doing what God wants you to do?
- Or, are you overwhelmed and extended to the point of frustration? What changes can you make?
Today we do busy better than ever before. It’s baffling to see our humanness drive us to overload ourselves, our families, and our schedules. Why would we trade a peaceful and calm life for the constant frenzy of more, more, and more? Sometimes our age allows us to handle busy a little better. Sometimes we are just tired of being tired. Whichever it is, we can all be more intentional about what we are committing our time to. Be extra thoughtful about what you say YES to.
TAKE A DEEPER LOOK:
Read Colossians 4:5; Psalm 31:15; Ecclesiastes 3:1
- Busy comes in different seasons of life. But if you are consistently overcommitted and overwhelmed, what changes can you make to free up your schedule?
- What are you missing out on when the busyness takes up your time?
As you study the Scriptures and answer the questions I pray this list helps you think about what’s standing in the way of your spiritual progress. I’ve also included the link for last week’s post, ‘Overcoming Barriers to Spiritual Growth.‘
I’m praying for you.
Blessings & Hugs,