Well, 2009 has come and gone and evidently, my informants ESPN alerted me a few days ago (with their "top ten plays of the decade" and whatnot) that a decade has drawn to a close.  This of course should not have been news to me, but somehow my silly brain was imagining that it would be another year (at the completion of 2010) that such a "turn-of-the-page" would come.  Seeing as how I have only lived through a couple of these decade things, and seeing as how the last one changed when I was all of 18, I am hit with the magnitude of the occasion.

Not wanting to let the moment slip by without sneaking in a quick line, I worked to squeeze in time for a post.

I have spoken before of how the Christian life---from our birth, to our spiritual birth or conversion, and throughout our entire life until our dying day---is a process.  It is a spiritual journey in which God is drawing us closer to Himself.  We may not always understand how or why or that it is even happening, but for Christians walking with God, He is perfecting us all the while and transforming us back into the image-bearers He meant for us to be...in the image of Christ. I have written about this subject (sanctification) previously.

With that spiritual and theological reality firmly in mind, let me ask you----could you adequately map your spiritual journey in words or art or music or a line graph or some medium of the sort?  What if you reflected on where God has brought you, what He has done in you, what He has transformed about you and when by the decade?  Where were you spiritually in the early 80s?  What changed about your faith by the mid 90s?  What did God do in your life by 2000 or by the time you had children, etc?  This is a spiritual journey and it is important (even very Hebrew) to walk forward through life looking backwards over your shoulder and recalling the great things that God has done.  This reflection is also healthy, deeply rewarding, and often humbling.  It also happens to be a marvelous spiritual exercise to start any new year.

Have a happy one!

-RCW

P.S. One of the astonishing things about this sort of activity is that you may at times be tempted to think that you had certain times or years when you were far from God or that you felt distant from Him.  Let me encourage you that it is often in our lowest and bleakest of states that God is doing the most refining and bringing about the most spiritual growth in our lives.  If I were to graph the spiritual "valleys" of my life, I doubt very much if God would chart them as valleys...to Him they might be mountaintops.  For it is when we are weakest---when we must lean most closely upon Him for everything---that His power is perfected in us.  To adapt some words from A.W. Tozer: "Before God can use a man greatly, He has to break a man deeply." 

P.P.S. For you theology dorks like me out there, Wayne Grudem provides a good spiritual growth graph of this sort in his Systematic Theology in the section on sanctification.   
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2 comments:

On January 5, 2010 at 2:20 PM , brandon kyle said...

Cole,

Helpful thoughts here. I admire people who set up "rock gardens" like the Hebrews as a testimony to what God has done at this time or in this place. It's a sort of permanent "best of", a physical reminder that attests to God's great acts.

The first image that came to my mind at your mention of a spiritual growth chart was a constant upward slope. Sure, there are plenty of ups and downs, but the overall direction is almost always upward. How is that the case? I'm no spiritual hero, so it's not on account of me. My graph was accompanied by a picture of Christ walking upward, with me slung over His shoulder like a dead weight. This is to say, the older I grow in my faith, the more I find that sanctification is accomplished by my posture rather than my actions. If I am broken, weak in my own strength, and drained by my own sin, that is when Christ carries me higher. My own righteousness simply has not served me well in my life, but has caused my nearness to God to dwindle. I don't know how I would live without Christ. Thanks for the encouraging thoughts bud.

 
On January 6, 2010 at 3:46 PM , RCW said...

Wow! Thanks, Brandon, for your tremendous insights and kind encouragement.