A SEASON OF GROWTH
Time moves quickly from us, never returning. It’s our most valuable, non-replenishable asset. We can make more money, but we can’t make more time.
This concept has been a significant motivator in my spiritual journey, urging me to make the most of every opportunity, and to never stop learning.
I gave my life to Jesus ten years ago this fall and I’ve been devouring my Bible, extrabiblical literature, and sermon podcasts ever since. I’ve grown spiritually to a degree I never thought I would, and it’s all because God continues to extend his grace to me.
There have been some milestone moments but the most important one I can think of happened when I was simply reading through Matthew and came across chapter 7, verse 21.
The lights came on, my stomach turned, and I was in shock. To me, this verse presented to me a sickening reality.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
This is shocking because it introduces a category of people who call Jesus “Lord” yet do notenter the kingdom of heaven. They look and sound like Christians on the outside but their hearts are not true to their title.
My family members race through my mind. Are they really saved? Sure, they go to church but do they really belong to Jesus?If they die will they stand before Jesus only to hear, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”?
The only thing that matters is the degree to which we belong to Jesus. Do we belong to him to such a degree that he will put his claim on us when we stand before him? Will he claim me as his own? How we answer these questions will challenge the unsettling darkness of Matthew 7:21.
This verse has always reminded me that things aren’t always what they seem on the outside, and to keep my heartin tune with God’s.
A SEASON OF DROUGHT
Although Scripture has been a major player in my spiritual growth, there have been times where it doesn’t resonate with me at all. As a matter of fact, right now I’m in a place of spiritual drought and doubt. I feel my passion has dried out a bit, and the things that used to get me excited no longer do.
My doubts have grown to a degree I never thought they would. But I always come back to the incident in John 6 where hundreds of people leave Jesus and he turns to his disciples and asks, “Are you going to leave too?”
They just look at him and say, “Where else are we to go?”
Even though I have doubts about aspects of my faith, turning from Jesus would be infinitely more damaging on every level. I can’t leave because nothing in the world offers anything close to what Jesus does.
He holds the words of life and eternity.
His story is the greatest ever told in human history.
His sacrifice is globally known as the greatest sacrifice of love ever made. Who is greater? No one.
There is nothing to turn to and no one to follow that is greater. So I remain his, not under obligation, but because I’m trusting that he is who he says he is, and that his life and death have implications on my life and death.
I’m his, and he is mine, and my number one goal in life is for him to say to me, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
ALL THAT MATTERS
We have to know that if we’re not moving toward maturity in Christ then we’re not really doing anything that matters. Everyone dies, and everything that anyone has ever done on earth goes away eventually, except for the actions that were investments in the kingdom of heaven.
My biggest fear used to be that I would be insignificant in this world, but now my biggest fear is putting all my time and energy (something I can’t get back) into insignificant things that will eventually become vapor.
We all want to be successful and how we do this is by putting our time and energy into things that will last forever, and the only thing that will last forever is Jesus and his church.
Whether we’re in a rich time of growth or in a season of drought, we need not forget that all is vanity without God, and if we are faithful to move toward him, he will absolutely be faithful to move toward us.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you . . . ” (James 4:8).