Chaplain’s Column: Spiritual Growth
The question of Christian growth has been weighing on my heart lately. Turning in the Bible we see in Philippians 3:12-15 that Paul urges us on to perfection, even though he was admittedly not completely there himself. He struggled to leave the past in the past and pursue the future. He shows that part of the process is maintaining a perfect attitude—a mind ready, willing and seeking after the prize of the high calling of Christ. We must sometimes look at the past to see how well we are attaining that goal to this point.
Philippians 3:12 states “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Other recommended reading would be 1 Timothy 4:15.
An arborist is a scientist who studies trees and other woody plants, usually individual specimens. A forester is a scientist who studies large swaths of woody plants like a forest. The domain of foresters and arborists overlaps at times in the pursuit of health of both trees and forests.
I believe the Christian life is made up of two similar domains – individual days and life as a whole. Unfortunately, we get so caught up in the pressures of each day that we sometimes fail to step back and look at our spiritual life as a whole. Questions need to be asked: Since coming to know Christ, how have I grown spiritually and emotionally? What differences can I see over my entire Christian life, and over the last few months or years? What areas of my life in Christ need attention? The apostle Paul talked about “pressing On” toward Christ in his own life and talked to Timothy about making “progress” in his life as seen in 1 Timothy 4:15.
The word picture in Philippians 3:12-14 is of men straining to win a foot race. The Christian life is especially like the longer races where the runner must sustain a winning frame of mind over a longer period of time. We cannot run our race like the hare of the "Tortoise and the Hare" fable, in which the hare took a nap during the race.
Are you a spiritual arborist or forester? Are you focusing more on the trees or the forest? Ask God for His help in showing you how to measure your maturity.
As the old hymn says we must “Take Time To Be Holy.” You see there are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. That maturity comes with a daily walk and a closer walk with the Lord each day of our lives.
Remember to pray for the Dragoons that all we do will be pleasing to God. We could also pray for growth in membership.
Please remember all those on our prayer list.
Yours In Christ,
Chaplain Tom Snowden