I realized the other day that at age 24, I have been a Christian over half of my life.
You would think I’d be a little further along by now.
I know I’ve grown in a lot of ways… I guess I have honed some talents in leadership, teaching, public speaking, and the like, but those personal improvements don’t necessarily indicate spiritual growth, do they? I guess I have grown some in knowledge… I can quickly turn to any book in the Bible. I can quote some verses. I can answer most doctrinal questions pretty easily. But is that spiritual growth? Sometimes I wonder if I am any better than I was five years ago. Am I more like Jesus than I was five years ago? I have a beard now… maybe that counts for something. But have I grown in the things that really matter?
As long as I can remember, I have looked up to people who seem to have it going on spiritually. Maybe you can think of someone like this. They seem to be on a higher plane. They seem to always say and do the right thing at the right time. You know who I’m talking about. They are the ones you want to have vouch for you on judgment day. I have tried before to pinpoint what sets these people apart from the rest of us- we Christians who desperately want to grow, but feel like we are spinning our wheels in the mud. Well… I was thinking that maybe I’ve figured it out.
Sometimes I feel like a little sprig of grass in the middle of a forest. There was a time, early on, when my spiritual growth was on par with everyone else. In fact, there have been times when I seemed to zoom past others in this area. But now the forest has grown up around me and I'm still just a little shrimp. What happened? What exactly went wrong? What did I do? What didn't I do? These are frustrating questions I have asked myself over and over again. And now finally I think I have a decent answer. I believe the day I stopped reaching my spiritual potential was the day I accepted partial obedience as the norm.