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19 Aug '10

What is in the way of your growth?

Posted by T.J. Addington in spiritual formation, The heart, The Holy Spirit
Think about the excitement that new believers have when they come to Christ and experience His presence for the first time. And, the amazing life changes that can come in a very short time. Watching those changes in our own lives or in the lives of others again reminds us of the power of the Holy Spirit and He does His thing in bringing transformation.

But that is not the whole story because we also know that for many people - perhaps for us at times, periods come when that growth slows or stalls out. It is as if they have hit a plateau and simply cease to go deeper with God.

What causes this stall in spiritual transformation? I believe that it often has to do with things in our lives that get in the way of God and prevent further growth. Until those areas that are in the way we are not likely to see the growth that we once did.

Paul's letter to the Ephesians bears this out. In that Epistle, he lists a long list of "put offs" - behaviors that are incompatible with our new life in Christ. These put offs include falsehood, anger, stealing, unwholesome talk, grieving the Holy Spirit, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, malice, sexual immorality, any kind of impurity, greed, and foolish talk. He then lists a comparable list of put ons that reflect the new life we have in Christ.

To the extent that we allow closets in our lives where the light of Christ has not penetrated, we prevent Him from entering that space and the less space we give Him the more our growth is stymied. The greater the space we give him the more our growth flourishes.

Here is a truth. All of us have areas where God is talking to us about putting something off so that He can fill more space in our lives. Often they are the very things that wake us up in the middle of the night whether worry, sin, unforgiveness, anger, or any number of issues. What He wants is to give those areas to Him, allowing Him to fill that space and every time we do that we give Him more of ourselves, put off more of ourselves, and experience more of Him. It is removing barriers to growth - and it is a life long process that brings us more and more of Him.

What is in the way of your growth today? An unforgiven relationship? Lack of trust that God can provide for your needs? An area of sin hidden in a locked closet? A lack of thankfulness for God's provision for you? Whatever it is, take Paul's advice, and put it off, so that you can put on those things that are of Christ's character and so that He can fill you with more of Himself. Every time we do that we grow!