In the last few months of each year, I take time to seek God about where we’ve been and where we are going in the year to come. I do this for myself, my family, my church, and the body of Christ as a whole. I’m not claiming to be a prophet or that God sends me a yearly progress report with set goals for the new year! I simply take an honest look at where I am and how I got there—both good and bad! If I have achieved something that I’ve really been working on, I want to say I get a gold star and that’s it. But, nope, I have to keep moving and progressing. What and how I got to point A may not be the roadmap that will get me to point B or even maintain where I am. If you’re going on a trip, who wants to stay at the airport? You’ve arrived at your destination but that’s not where you stay—you’re ready to explore the area and see what it’s about and all it has to offer. For example, maybe you had a goal to get up an hour early to do Bible reading. What a great discipline! Now, maybe God says, “Now that I have you up at this hour and you are disciplined in your Bible reading, I want you to spend time with me for that hour in prayer and communion. I want to be with you. You can do your Bible reading at night but uninterrupted like before.”
We went through transition and now we are in a new season, a new milestone as we grow in faith. Now what? We have to have more than just basic knowledge; we must have the wisdom of God. We have to have an inner divine instinct and act on it. That instinct only comes one way—by seeking God and developing the mind of Christ. In order to have the mind of Christ, we have to have and behold Him above anyone or anything!
Mainly, we need to recognize where we are. As we grow, we must understand the stages of development, both spiritually and in wisdom. Without wisdom we will miss the mark and mishandle our moment; the divine intervention, the answer, the miracle. We have soul-searching to do. Do we have a stage or a platform? Knowledge will get you through a stage but wisdom will give you a platform from which God can use you. I’m not speaking in literal terms either. We have to have a Christ-consciousness that only comes by seeking where He can be found. First, we must get honest with me, myself, and I.
Are we acting on something prematurely? Are we trying to get somewhere faster and easier? Are we hitching our wagon to someone else’s star or can we ride alone and wait letting patience have its perfect work? Do we know where we are in God; what stage of development we are in so we can give in and give all to grow up and be trusted, useful, and obedient? Do we want or need? Is our want purely motivated or self-centered? Are we wanting for others more than ourselves? It’s all in the basics, but do we want to skip what’s elementary and go to college where we’re in charge? Our kids went to college and lived in dorms but still had rules made by us. Why? They had not fully matured at that age nor had they reached the place where we could stop parenting them. They weren’t old enough to be totally trusted on their own. The decision-making part of their brain had not fully developed. To them, we were overbearing; but to us, we knew we still had a responsibility and job to do. Most importantly, they still had us to look to. They didn’t have to look far because they were ours and we loved them. However, our love came with “yes” and “no” and “not yet.” We knew their stages and their time to fly had not yet come.
We also have a loving God to look to but He says, “Let my yes be yes and my no be no.” There comes a time when we too have to parent ourselves through self-control. We have to leave the nest of comfort and convenience and build our own nest. Learn to get God yourself! I know it sounds harsh, but it’s true! “Seek out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Hey, it’s scary growing up! Stop nursing on social media trivial tidbits and eating baby foods from mommy preacher that soothes the sin-sick soul. It’s a milestone when you can eat solids that make your system function at the stage where you should be! To continue spiritual growth takes work, knowledge, and determination to get to a higher place in knowing God and thereby reflecting Him.
I once watched a bird build her nest on a place on our deck. I watched and watched her. First she knew she was in the right stage and would soon lay her eggs. She chose a place that was safe from predators, then she searched for the exact type of twigs she would need. Then Mama bird kept going and finished it off with down feathers of comfort. When it was ready, she “saw that it was good” and rested until it was time for the eggs. She knew there was something in those eggs and she had the job to protect and nurture because they were hers. After the eggs hatched, she flew off and found their food, fed them, and kept them happy and singing away. At some point though, she knew the time to fly would come and the nest won’t be too comfy with every bird so she had to say her sweet goodbye and out they go...hint, hint millennials!
It’s sad that birds are smarter than humans and understand the stages of life better. Yikes! They have instinct and with it comes an inner knowledge that gives instruction. Likewise, when we are born-again we have a new instinct, a new sense of knowing; we have the Holy Spirit! Once that mommy bird knew when those baby birds had the instinct to survive on their own, she let them go!
Our walk with God is one of survival and it’s just us and God. Sure we can have help but nobody can communicate and commune with the Lord but you... and you all alone. We have to grow out of our grave clothes that keep us insecure and needy. The main reason God wants us to grow up is so that we do not look anywhere or at anyone but Him. When we do, we begin to compare and then we compete. It’s then we label ourselves either good enough or not good enough. We have kept old records playing and screeching from the past. Even though God tells us that old things are passed away, we hold on to them because we know the next stage demands more of us. It’s then that fear takes the hand of failure and plays “Red Rover” and keeps us from moving forward. If we do not move, we cannot grow God’s way. The enemy will do everything he can to keep us stagnant and ineffective. Then he labels us too—threat or no threat. I want that label that says threat!
I do not fear because I know that I serve the God of life and life more abundantly. God is a patient, loving Father and He will hold our hands as we take our first wobbly steps and still hold them when we’ve been saved 42 years (like myself) as I cry like a baby. God is in no hurry and we have to accept that He will do what He wills to do when He is ready—not when we are! I’m ready the minute I pray, but God’s timing is always perfect just like He is and just like His love for us. That love never fails!