This is Part I of II on Overcoming Barriers to Spiritual Growth.
I was just seven years old when I asked God into my heart. I still remember the excitement as though it was yesterday. And while a lot of yesterday’s have passed, the joy remains ever present.
But there is more to following Jesus than declaring it so. Our walk and spiritual growth begins the moment we invite Him into our hearts. It’s about committing our lives to God and it’s about submitting our lives to the Spirit’s leading.
I believe this level of commitment means our souls should be on fire. And with that fire comes the attitude of ‘WE’RE ALL IN.’ In truth, it really is an ALL or nothing kind of deal.
Giving our life to Christ is an unforgettable experience; it’s the day we trade our old life for the new.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Building spiritual growth is a day-to-day process. Increasing our knowledge base and understanding God’s Word is key. Spending time reading the word is a part of growing who we want to be. Our desire and actions to be more like Jesus speak volumes about our growth. And He is the ultimate example of what it means to be spiritual.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Some people will grow more quickly, while others progress at a slower, more steady pace. But there is no need to waste time comparing yourself to someone else.
Comparisons don’t bring us anything positive and in reality, the progress we make is about our individual relationship with Christ; that is what matters most.
But even with progress, there are temptations, choices, decisions, and complications lurking around every corner to cloud our perspective.
If we are to be God’s salt and light, then we must follow Him, commit to Him, and be His hands and feet.
Today we are going to look at four stumbling blocks that can hinder, distract and interfere with our spiritual growth and keep us from all God wants us to be.
You know the old saying, ‘Pride comes before a fall.’ Pride causes the chest to swell and the brain and heart to shrink. Pride is when no one meets our standards. Pride keeps us from seeking the Lord because we don’t want to relinquish control or admit we need help. We would much rather pat ourselves on the back or puff our chest out to let people know, ‘we’ve got this.’ This is dangerous and earthly.
Read Proverbs 16:18; Isaiah 23:9; James 4:10
1. What does Scripture tell us about the consequences of pride?
2. How can we recognize prideful behavior?
This group includes spouses, siblings, children, friends, colleagues, supervisors, clients and our children’s teachers, friends and their parents. We have so much responsibility when it comes to taking care of those near and dear to our hearts that we must be cautious not to let others take away from our closest connections. Sometimes it is a challenge to balance family and activities, but we should never allow relationships to become more important than our relationship with God.
Read 2 Corinthians 6:14; 1 John 3:11;
1. How can our relationships distract or threaten our relationship with God?
Media is a HUGE distraction. Between television, social media, music, movies, the internet and more, we are bombarded with negativity, inappropriate messages and falsehoods. And an even more important point is to evaluate how much time we spend engaged in one of these activities. Remember the amount of time involved is time we can NEVER get back.
Read Ephesians 5:16; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Psalm 101:3
1. How many hours do you engage in media?
2. What are the pitfalls of social media?
4. Deceit and dishonesty
Lies, lies and more lies. The devil is the father of all lies. It’s unfortunate when people share false information with others, long before they know the real truth. When we engage in deceit and dishonesty, we conjure up stories that best fit the situation we are involved in. Just a reminder: one lie precedes the next one and from there it snowballs.
Read Ephesians 4:25; Exodus 20:16; Proverbs 12:22
1. Have you witnessed the lies and mistruths on social media content?
2. How can you use this as a teachable moment for your children?
I pray as we continue to seek spiritual growth that God will reveal all He has for us. I pray for increased knowledge of Him and for our faith to be strengthened. May our hearts and minds be protected from the outward influences that distract us from being more like Him.
Click here for the 30 Day Spiritual Growth Scripture Reading Plan.