Spiritual Growth – Part Two

A New Level with God

A life with Christ is a journey full of twists and turns that is exhilarating and full of surprises. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a journey is “an act or instance of traveling from one place to another.” When athletes are training for a marathon, they train for months to prepare and build endurance to complete the race. It takes time, dedication and patience to train for a race. Life is much like a marathon. We prepare our journey with God as we make strides towards knowing Him on a deeper level. God is continually teaching us His ways and removing the impurities in our lives. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!”

Along the journey, we may have a bump in the road that will slow down our progress. We will have to stop and learn how to work through the “bump” that we call life. The “bump in the road” is our struggles and challenges we face during our journey. God never promised that it would be easy but He did promise He would be with us through the difficult times. The Bible states to “be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). This Scripture should comfort all of us knowing that God is with us and on our side.

Picture yourself at the starting line of a race pumped with excitement and anticipation. You are stretching and bouncing side-to-side impatiently waiting for the race to begin. The months of training allowed you to be mentally and physically ready for this race. The time has finally come for the race to start and you hear the words, “ready, set, go” and you begin to run. You look straight ahead and remain focused on your ultimate goal – to finish the race. So many times we focus on finishing the race but not focus on the journey. We want to get to the finish line as fast as we can no matter what it takes to get there. The finish line represents an accomplishment.

How many times do we rush through life trying to speed up the process to see our reward?  Joyce Meyer says that “we need to enjoy the journey and not be so focused on our destination that we miss everything else.” Sometimes the journey takes longer than we expected due to complications or waiting for answers. We do not like to be delayed to reach our goals in life. Just like life goals, getting to know God on a higher level will take preparation, patience, dedication and time to reach new levels with Him. As Christians, God has expectations for us to meet and, by conquering them, we learn to trust and know Him on another level.

Another way to see God’s journey for our lives is to visualize a mountaintop. When you are on a mountaintop, the scenery is breathtaking. Imagine yourself above the clouds, there is complete silence and you get the first glimpse of the mountaintop view. The view is one-of-a-kind and cannot be explained with words. It is the most beautiful, heaven-like view you have ever seen and you are in awe of God’s creation. Our destination for our lives is to reach the mountaintop.

Before we can climb a mountain to reach our destination, we have to walk through the valleys in our lives. The “valleys” are the moments that God is teaching us how to handle difficult situations. It may be healing from our past hurts or conquering our fears. The “valley” builds our character and shows us who we are in Christ. It is in those moments that we are the closest to God because we are depending on Him.

We do not want to premature our next level with God. He is preparing us in the valley so when we reach the mountaintop, it is the ultimate victory. Philippians 3:14 says that we need to “press on toward[s] the goal to win the prize for which God has called [us] heavenward in Christ Jesus.” I encourage you to enjoy the process and be ready to cross the finish line in God’s timing.

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