By now things are settling back into a routine – the kids are back to school, the weather is turning cooler, summer travels are over, and the new fall television shows are being advertised and we are now able to program our recording structures to catch the new programs that have caught out attention as they begin their attempt to gain a viewing audience. Hopefully this means you are also back to a daily routine with your time with the Lord. As I have spoken to many believers during the summer it has become obvious that the season we call summer does have an impact upon our devotional life – either we use the warmer weather and slower pace to spend more time with the Lord or we find ourselves drawn to the many specific summer activities and thus lose some of the time we would normally spend with the Lord. Time to establish the pace of the fall and winter – at least until the Christmas rush of events crashes in upon us.
Thinking about spiritual growth. It seems to be that the regular daily time with the Lord – Bible reading and prayer – are more of a ‘maintenance’ activity. Our reading and study of the Scriptures and our speaking to and listen to the Lord simply maintains the level of relationship we already have. My thought is that spiritual growth really happens on a need-to-grow or a need-to-know basis. As life happens, we are suddenly confronted by the need for personal growth or more biblical information in an area of life that up to now has not seemed all that important.
So, as a result, I purposely place myself in situations where I will need to know and grow … I step out in faith into a new venture for the Lord and find myself needing to know new information, new skills, new understanding… and this begins a flurry of reading, studying, seeking others who can help me to know and grow. I say yes to things that are really beyond my current skill set because I know it will cause me to grow as I come to know more of God’s ways and see more of His Kingdom. These challenges and intentional cutting edge experiences are what keeps my Christian faith fresh as they stretch and challenge me in so many ways. However, when there is no need-to-know or need-to-grow experiences happening I find I stagnate and simply return to maintenance mode. So, I continue to look for that next exciting opportunity to grow.
I believe this is one of the reasons that Jesus commanded us to “seek and save the lost” as we “go into all the world and make disciples.” He knew that we needed to be challenged finding ourselves in situations beyond our abilities and knowledge base. Thus, in the need-to-know and need-to-grow situation we are challenged and find ourselves developing new skills as needed and accumulating more knowledge, wisdom, and insight. It also makes for a great journey with Jesus because no day is ever the same as another. And that builds faith as well.
So, if your Christian faith and belief in the Lordship of Jesus is not stretching and challenging you so that you are finding yourself in need-to-know and need-to-grow situations … reach out to the lost and watch how quickly you are challenged and how much new life you will be experiencing on a daily basis. The Christian faith was never meant to be boring or routine – and neither should your relationship with the Lord be static and repetitive. It should always be “new every morning.