The subject of spiritual growth has been floating around in my head for a while now. Not just knowing more or praying more, though these factors can be a consequence of growth, but really knowing the Lord in a real way. I wonder if people say, “That Jamie. When he speaks of Jesus it is as if he knows him personally.” I doubt people do say that. I imagine people’s response is more, “He is a Christian, though a bit dry and dusty.”
The big problem with real growth is it’s a painful process. I know that for me to grow I must be bent to His ways. This may mean I have to be broken spiritually. To take up my cross and follow him is not to sit back, relax and enjoy the worldly pursuits of this life. It’s not to have an easy time of things. The Bible does not present it in such a way. To follow Christ is to sacrifice, to suffer. The problem is I rarely want to suffer, and I rarely want to give up my worldly pursuits.But talking will not change me. Only Christ can change me.
This hymn was shown to me by a friend yesterday. It is the story of John Newton, and my friend suggested it may help.
I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.
’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.
I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.
Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.
Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.
Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.
These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”
I read this through several times and it speaks of so much truth in my life. I beg God that he would subdue my sins and give me rest. I see my problem in the last verse. I am reluctant to become verse six. I am in desperate need of relief from sin, but for what reason?
Mainly self. To relieve myself. Rarely because I want to know Him, and be molded to His way, and to pursue His face.
If you would pray that I would grow, if we would pray that we would all grow, and be prepared to be broken to His ways, that my joy would be of Him and in Him for evermore. Amen.