I'd like to do some thinking this week on the dynamic of spiritual growth. My hope is to lay out a couple of key principles and, in doing so, encourage anyone and everyone in their pursuit of what's ultimately true, good, noble and right.
So right out of the box on a Monday morning, I want to point to the foundational principle of it all: Jesus Christ is the greatest treasure you'll ever gain. Matthew 13.44 speaks about a man who is walking a field and stubs his toe on something on the ground. After he's done saying all the bad words we all say when we stub our own toes, he looks down to see what Lego some kid left in the middle of a field (admittedly, I'm interpolating this a bit). Instead, he finds what looks like the corner of a box. He pokes around a little bit, digs a little bit with his hands, and figures out that it's a good sized box. Having dug enough to crack it open to examine the contents, he realizes he has stumbled upon a treasure of immense worth.
Now, if you and I were in this position, what would we do? Would we call a lawyer (what they tell Lotto winners to do)? Would we call our financial guy? Would we hire a mule or rent a UHaul to get the box back home, essentially stealing it from the person who owned the field?
This guy was different. He went and sold everything he had. I can only imagine what the conversation sounded like at his house that afternoon as he puts a FSBO sign in the front yard. Did his wife think he was crazy or look at him with some innate sense of trust? Did his kids run down the street to tell their friends to come watch the meltdown in progress or tweet to their friends that their dad was at it again? #myparentsarecrazy.
He not only sold everything he had, he did so with joy. And he did so with purpose. He bought the field with the treasure. All the "loss" wasn't really "loss" at all. It was gain (cf. Philippians 3.7-11)
And there's the principle: Jesus is the greatest treasure you'll ever gain.
We have to make this decision over and over and over and over again in our spiritual journey. We have to decide if He's better than superficiality, unforgiveness, lust, anger, a new shiny fill-in-the-blank, the approval of that person, or any other number of the thousands of distractions and deceptions that come our way.
(And here's an encouraging hint about spiritual growth: like the guy, it's for our joy not our drudgery)
The bottom line is that you will not grow spiritually unless you affirm and reaffirm the value of Christ in the daily choices of life.
But that's just me thinking thoughts...