“And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.’” Mark 8:34,35 (ESV)
I wrote recently about the need to take up our cross to follow Jesus. Today I want to emphasize the fact that this is a process…not a one-time event.
The Christian life is a matter of taking up our cross…and following Him. But following Him also involves daily taking up our cross.
Previously I wrote that taking up the cross means to die to self… adopting an attitude of self-denial.
It is something we should do daily…and comes with practice.
That’s why we use the term spiritual growth.
Spiritual and physical growth have similarities, yet there are differences.
Physical growth is clearly visible, especially when examined over a long period of time.
Spiritual growth is less visible.
Physical growth is always progressive…it never regresses.
Spiritual growth often involves both forward and backward movement. We’ve all experienced the old saying of taking two steps forward and one step back.
Yet physical and spiritual growth are similar in that they both occur at different rates at different times.
There are both physical and spiritual growth spurts.
In addition, physical and spiritual growth are both processes we don’t completely control.
We create conditions that allow for maximum growth.
We tell our patients that maximum physical growth is achieved through proper nutrition and adequate vitamins and minerals.
Though God is ultimately responsible for our spiritual growth, there are things we can do that will maximize our spiritual growth.
Just as there is physical nourishment, there is spiritual nourishment in the form of Scripture and well-written spiritual books.
Just as there is junk food…there is plenty of junk we can take into our souls.
It’s all about forming the right habits…
Habits that help us take on an attitude of self-denial and maximize our ability to grow spiritually.
Spiritual growth is a process that doesn’t happen overnight, and its goal is to hear “well done” when we finally stand before the Lord.
Prayer: Lord, show me what habits I need to put into place that will maximize my growth in You.