1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Hebrews 12:1-4 NIV)
Was just thinking today about the importance of forward progression in life as I was playing with my children today on my day off. My younger two kids, Zion my son and Jordan my daughter are still in diapers. That’s fine, because that’s age appropriate for them to still be garnering Mamy Poko and Huggies products around their waistlines. But imagine them at my age (let’s just say I’m still in my 30’s – just… haha!), still wearing Mamy Poko or Huggies? Scary thought huh?
Real men don’t wear diapers, we change diapers…
With each area of development, whether it’s physical, mental, emotional – there are age appropriate factors to which we look upon as keys in measuring forward progress.
So why is it in some Christian circles we hesitate to look at our growth in Christ as adamantly as we do in these other areas?
I think there may be a number of reasons, and all of them find their roots at the cross of Christ. Let me give you three:
1) Beating the same drum
If you want to grow in God, it’s not measured by doing more. He’s done it all. Actually maturity in Christ is measured more accurately by the depth of the Gospel being evident in your life. Ah, yes… The Gospel message of an over-the-top-loving God propelling himself to be sacrificed in history and time, so that sinful humankind can be called His children. This message of salvation through the work of Christ at the cross is the only message that matters – all 66 books of the Bible point towards this. It’s why any good screenplay with a good hero will have an element of sacrifice. It’s the same drum.
Don’t make the same mistake I made before in my understanding of our faith as followers of Christ. The Gospel isn’t the starting point to the rest of Christianity to be lived out. The Gospel IS the whole of Christianity. To grow in Christ is to constantly let the Gospel flood your soul, mind, spirit and flesh on a daily basis. More and more.
2) Lay it down
If you desire to grow in Jesus, you must go like Jesus. Simply put – he “joyfully” endured the cross. Sacrifice for the sake of others and to the glory of His Father. Maturity in Him means living sacrificially, understanding that this life presents to us an opportunity to give crazily, the way He gave to us crazily.
We like things fast in this generation. And so when growth requires meditation in His word, undistracted communing with the Holy Spirit, our watches or cellphone clocks should not be a factor. Growth in Christ is only inconvenient when our priorities reflect and expose the true first-places in our lives.
Let us consider the car windshield in proportion to the rear view mirror. There’s a reason why the windscreen is a lot bigger than the rear view mirrors, it’s more important to know where we’re going, than to know what is behind us, and not to live in the place of our pasts, or in what this world has to offer us. Let eternity be our windshield view…
Let everything in our lives rear view mirrors be a testament of where we’ve been that would cause us to be propelled forward in our growth in Him
Reflection question: How far are you willing to go to grow and move forward in Christ?