Day 75 – How Growth Happens
Brother Lawrence offers some insights on how spiritual growth happens: “Actual union is the most perfect. And completely spiritual as it is, its movement is perceptible because the soul is not asleep as in the other unions, but finds itself powerfully stirred. Its operation is more intense than fire, more luminous than the sun in a clear sky. Nonetheless this feeling can be misleading, for it is not a simple expression of the heart, like saying, ‘My God, I love you with all my heart’ or other similar words. It is, rather, an ‘I don’t know what’ of the soul, gentle, peaceful, spiritual, respectful, humble, loving, and very simple, that upholds and incites it to love God, to adore him, and even embrace him with an inexpressible tenderness that experience alone can enable us to understand.”
Okay, what did he just say?!
To say that we are “not asleep” in practicing God’s presence means that we are not unaware of what God is doing inside us. We find ourselves being moved by the Holy Spirit, and we are more sensitive to these inner movements and promptings.
Our senses may be heightened with the clear and powerful reality of God’s near presence . But this experience is not necessarily an emotional “feeling” nor does it happen automatically.
As we seek God, we know he is powerfully at work within us, speaking to us, directing us, revealing himself to us. Yet we can’t fully explain how, what Brother Lawrence describes as an “I don’t know what” experience. Still, we know we are growing spiritually.
Take the spiritual discipline of Bible reading, for example. You first read the Word for information while wearing your “Student Hat”. You analyze the passage – what does it say? You ask questions – what does it mean?
Then you shift to meditation on the Word for spiritual formation while wearing your “Disciple Hat”. You savor the passage – what does it mean to me? You let God speak to you – what is God saying to me?
You are growing spiritually through the discipline of Bible reading and into a relationship with Christ.
While you work at growing spiritually, God is at work within you, conquering your heart, establishing his presence in you, living through you. You know it, and you know him!
God is leading you into a new spiritual height or taking you to a new spiritual depth. And your heart is becoming a living flame of love to God and others.
It’s hard always to measure and quantify spiritual growth. But you know as you contemplate the Lord’s glory, a genuine change is happening inside you.
God is more real to you. You are being transformed into Christ’s image with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). And Christ is increasingly living his life out through your personality (Colossians 1:27). Be encouraged.
Action Step: Celebrate your spiritual growth from where you were at a year ago and where you are now.
This is God’s Word for you today,