Category Archives: Principles of Growth

Why We Shouldn’t Be Trying To Draw People Closer to God

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

How do we draw other people closer to God?  We don’t.  He does.  This is one of those simple truths that has a profound impact on how we will attempt to relate to both God and humans.

Now at first, it’s easy to shrug and say, “Well, of course God is the One actually drawing people closer to Him—that’s obvious.”  Christians are quick to agree with statements that sound God honoring, but they rarely stop to really absorb those statements into their theologies.  Take the idea of putting God first in life.  We all know that He’s supposed to be our First Love—the One who we’re living to please.  “Put God first” is a common Sunday School mantra, but saying the words and understanding what they mean are two very different things. Continue reading Why We Shouldn’t Be Trying To Draw People Closer to God

Spiritual Maturity: Learning From A God Who Loves To Teach

9999

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

God always initiates in His relationship with you.  This means that it won’t even occur to you to submit to Him or to change the way you talk to Him until He brings those subjects up with you.  God talks to you in many forms.  Often God talks to us through things that other people write or say.  However God chooses to introduce a new idea to you, you need to realize that He is the One who is inviting you to the next stage of maturity in your relationship with Him.  You also need to realize that God is not the least bit disappointed that you’re not already at that next stage.  Continue reading Spiritual Maturity: Learning From A God Who Loves To Teach

Why We Need to Grow Past the Wishful Thinking of Psalm 1

92

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Human beings are spiritual beings. You are your soul, not your body, and yet while you’re in this world, your body seems very important to you. In this world, your body, or earthsuit, feels as critical to your survival as a rocket ship does to an astronaut who is orbiting earth. If something goes wrong with the astronaut’s ship, he’s going to feel very stressed and fearful because he needs that ship to survive in outer space. In the same way, when something goes wrong with your earthsuit, you get very stressed and fearful and you start praying for God to fix whatever the problem is. It is because we humans are so focused on our earthsuits that we end up deciding that what our earthsuits want is what matters most. Our earthsuits are amazing machines with minds of their own, and what your earthsuit wants boils down to two basic principles: feeling good, and being safe. A lot of things make your earthsuit feel good: comfy cushions, nice cars, being popular, being rich. A lot of things make your earthsuit feel safe. So as a human, you want these things very much, and it’s very easy to get so consumed by the thought of having them that you totally lose sight of what really matters.

So what really matters? Pleasing your Makers. Why? Because They control the well-being of your soul, and your soul is the only part of you that’s going to go on to eternity. Now you could say, “Hey, I’m not in eternity yet, so why not live for my earthsuit while I’m here?” This would be a fine plan if it weren’t for the fact that your Creators are going to use your soul choices in this world to determine what They’re going to do with you in eternity. It is because your soul’s response to your Creators now is going to have such a major impact on you later on that putting Them off is such a foolish decision. Yahweh, Jesus and the Holy Spirit say that now is when you need to be seriously seeking Them, listening to Them, and fully submitting to Them as the Supreme Authorities that They are. Continue reading Why We Need to Grow Past the Wishful Thinking of Psalm 1

Growing Close to God: The Critical Role of Choice (The Mountain Metaphor)

148

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

If you’re a committed Christian, then at some point you decided that pleasing God was going to be your top priority in life.  This is certainly a fabulous thing, but it’s also just the first step in your personal journey with God.  In this post, we’re going to use a metaphor to understand how God deepens His bond with you after that critical decision point.  The purpose of this metaphor is to help you set realistic expectations in your relationship with God, as well as steer you clear of drawing wrong assumptions about how God responds to your frustrations along the way. Continue reading Growing Close to God: The Critical Role of Choice (The Mountain Metaphor)

It’s Personal: Understanding the Divine Perspective of Trials

143

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

In life, we experience many kinds of trials, but they don’t all feel like they belong in the same category. There are some trials that seem to just happen to us out of the blue. That flat tire on the road. Our kids falling ill. Then there are the trials that other people stick us with. The jerk who steals your purse, and then starts racking up bills in your name. The boss who is always giving you a hard time at the office. And finally, there are the trials that we seem to bring onto ourselves. You cheat on your man, and he divorces you. You steal from the company and you get caught. These are the three main categories that humans tend to divide their trials into. But how does God see it? Continue reading It’s Personal: Understanding the Divine Perspective of Trials

Romans 13: How should Christians respond to governing authorities?

61

AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

“Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves.” (Rom. 13:1-2)

In Romans 13, we find a leader of the early Church ordering Christians to obey governing authorities no matter what. How should we be responding to such instruction today? Well, let’s start with a broader question: how seriously should we take any of the commands, guidelines, and viewpoints that are found in the Bible? After all, the Bible is a collection of documents which were penned by human beings, and some of those humans were spiritual dingdongs. Romans was written by the apostle Paul–a man who rejected the Divinity of Christ, made a lot of insulting inferences about Yahweh, and put out a lot of really bad teaching (for specific examples, see The Great Offense of Paul: Rejecting the Divinity of Christ). Rather than own up to these things, the Church teaches you to view “St. Paul” as some icon of spiritual maturity and wisdom. She says that you ought to view Paul as an infallible mouthpiece for God Himself, and assume that anything Paul wrote is beyond question. Well, no, we certainly will not sit back and smile while a man refers to the magnificent Jesus as a mere mortal who only reigns on a temporary basis. Anyone who so shamelessly bashes on Christ can hardly be viewed as a reliable source of truth. And yet the fact remains that God frequently speaks through humans–even spiritual rebels like Paul. So we can’t just blow off everything Paul says as wrong. Like most bad spiritual leaders, Paul is a mixed bag. He puts out a cocktail of truths and lies and if you’re not seeking the wisdom of God in your own soul, you’re going to end up in a muddled mess. Continue reading Romans 13: How should Christians respond to governing authorities?