As the year rapidly comes to a close and our topic of spiritual growth, likewise, is replaced with a new theme, I find myself asking a simple, yet complex question; that is, why is spiritual growth so important? My attention is drawn to a text often stated when talking about growth, it is Romans 12:1-2. Consider v2 which says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Just what does it mean to be conformed to this world? The world conform here is powerful in meaning. The idea is that a person behaves according to socially acceptable conventions or standards.
Just consider this for a moment: there was a time when living together was seen as morally wrong. That getting drunk was equally foolish (or, for the more recent times, getting high). That homosexuality was not acceptable to God. But how times have changed! Now, before I go forward, I have to admit something about that past. Those sins listed, have been in times past, treated with bigotry and distain to such a level that God’s love for the sinner couldn’t be seen through His children. It is important to remember that all have sinned (Romans 3:23), and that includes me. That being said, we are confronted with the possible reality that the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. Living together is seen as prudent, recreational drugs are acceptable and sexuality is none of anyone’s business. Moral truths, that were so clearly defined are now obscure and evolving.
But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason
of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
As God’s children, we are exhorted to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits” (1st John 4:1). Some “will depart from the faith…having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1st Timothy 4:1, 2), some to such an extent that they “have lost their feeling of shame. And they use their lives doing things that are morally wrong. More and more they want to do all kinds of evil” (Ephesians 4:19, ETRV). I know that the previous text does not speak directly to the things I expressed in the previous paragraph, but they do reveal something about mankind; that is, left to ourselves, our own desires, we will deviate from God…I will deviate from God.
Hosea 14:9 reads, “Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them. But transgressors stumble in them.” I can so relate to the stumbling side of things. Even now, I at times find myself giving way to selfish desires, and in so doing, inevitably violate God’s will. It is for this reason (among others), that I should seek to grow spiritually. For I want to “discern both good and evil,” so I can be best equipped to fight against conformity; that is, going along with the crowd. Help me lord! Help us Lord!