"You grow or you die."
It sounds malicious or harsh but it's how God created life.
We were made for change, for growth, for different seasons. And when we stop growing, we start inwardly dying.
Every gardener knows that plants should not look the same way for very long- but they need to grow upward and outward. And to grow they require specific care. They need the right amount of sunlight and rain, the soil, fertilizer, and the right amount of work in the ground. In this way the plant will continue to bear fruit or produce, new leaves, until it's season is complete.
I believe our Christian walks are similar. If I'm not walking closer to Jesus and gaining new territories in my faith, then I'm dying inwardly. If I'm not conscientiously pursuing the cross, the denial of my desires, the communion of Jesus- then I'm likely falling more and more captive to this world and it's lies.
The stories and influences of the past, the roots that got me here, my testimony- they are my foundation. But I have to be receiving the nutrients I need: the correct environment in order to keep growing. My testimony of my youth is never enough to save me. The awesome story Jesus did in my life 5 years ago is still awesome, but it's not enough for the daily needs of today.
And for so long, I wanted to cling to what I knew. The stories, the people, the promises, the accomplishments- and it was real- and it was great. But then I got stuck, and I forgot that I had to keep growing. Because before long, if you are not journeying upward- you realize that although your trying to hold onto something, it's not enough just to remember the past.
Friends, I feel like lately I've fallen in a hole. I've gotten sidetracked and lost focused of the person I'm supposed to be moving closer towards and gotten stuck on a "thing" I'm supposed to be doing. I thought I was supposed to be a pediatric nights nurse- and I feel like I've given away alot of myself trying to do this job. I thought I was supposed to find happiness, and pay off my loans, and search for a boyfriend. But the pursuit of these things, only leaves me empty when I forget why I'm trying to do them.
This morning I listened to the song "Draw me close to you" by Michael W Smith with a feeling that: maybe I haven't been growing in the way God wanted me to recently. Maybe I've hit a point in my journey where I'm a bit stagnant, even worse, maybe lately I've been drifting or compromising on some of my core beliefs, in order to accomplish some secondary objectives.
And when I came upon the lyrics that say "Your all I want Jesus. You're all I've ever needed." I realized that I needed a perspective change. That in my heart, I want to know that Jesus and Jesus alone is everything and all I only need. But that lately, I haven't been living that way.
I want to grow closer to Jesus, I'm guessing if you're reading this you do too. But what holds us back from drawing close once again? What keeps us from growth? Is it fear, afraid to change, complacency, distrust of what plans God has for us?
I know that I must start growing again. And that if it's my environment that's making it difficult for me to grow, then I need to change it.
The encouraging this is Jesus reminds us, that He sees it, absolutely where we are right now, as well as where we've come and He never gives up on us. Jesus encourages us to move upwards today, to journey to new heights with Him: to win battles, to overcome fears, to create new relationships, to bear new fruits of the spirit. He asks us not to get comfortable with where we are at. He calls us to purity, to honesty, integrity, responsibility, discipline, patience, virtue. And I can have faith, that when I ask Jesus to help me keep growing in Him, He will help me to make choices that will lead me in doing so.
"Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain on the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me." John 15:4
"Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and faith in God" Hebrews 6:1