What kind of person were you five, ten, twenty or thirty years ago? Outside of the slow but sure aging process, are you a better Christian now than ten years ago? Are you more rooted and grounded in the faith, able to exercise patience and manifest love more than you were five years ago?
Sometimes change happens all at once but usually change is a slow process that happens a little bit at a time over a long period of time. Habits, both good and bad ones, slowly develop over time that either allow us to better love God and serve His people or cause us to become isolated, stubborn, cold or hardened.
Family, employment and personal situations arise in our lives which act as agents of change. At times this change is for the good, but usually it is at the expense of our fellowship with each other and our relationship with God. As more time is diverted to handling personal matters, logically there is going to be less time available for "hanging out" with other Christians, rushing out on missionary trips and volunteering for everything.
There is a fine line between the maturity process and spiritually settling . Maturity takes time and is like the roots of a great tree stretching deeper into the ground. The more we mature in the faith, the stronger we become for we are rooted and grounded in Him. Maturity calms down our youthful irrational zeal, gives us wisdom to make right decisions and takes the edge off so we can live and serve without being abrasive, obnoxious or impetuous.
Settling is the process where, over time, a person becomes so comfortable in their faith there no longer exists the excitement and enthusiasm which once freely flowed. Spiritual settling breeds apathy and apathy breeds laziness which ends up with "excusitis". When more time is spent figuring out how to get out of doing things than figuring out how to do them, the settling process is complete.
The two great enemies which seek to distract or break us are pleasure and pressure. When a person lets down their guard and allows pleasure to seduce their heart, the inevitable result is spiritual separation from God. Solomon speaks of this extensively in Proverbs using the analogy of a prostitute seducing a young man.
Relentless and extreme pressure exposes weaknesses. Pressure will in due time wear a person down and cause them to get tired and ultimately quit. Physical, financial and emotional pressure is known as stress and just as people get stress fractures in their bones, so Christians get "stress fractures" in their relationship with God.
If we are weaker, less enthused, lazier or more distracted in our relationship with God than we were five or ten years ago, we need to stop and examine how and why we became this way. If personal objectives, family matters, physical woes or financial stress have succeeded in changing us from a living epistle of the grace, mercy and love of God into arrogant, tired, weak and fearful fools, we need to take the time to find the root of the problem and DEAL WITH IT.
With each passing day it is harder and harder to remain faithful to God. This is why the wise Christian should minimize distraction and devote more time to developing their relationship with God and strengthening their relationship with other Christians who can lift them up and carry their burdens at times. Change can be either good or bad and I pray we all strive for the positive changes available to those whose aim is to be faithful in Christ Jesus.
[quote]...the wise Christian should minimize distraction and devote more time to developing their relationship with God and strengthening their relationship with other Christians who can lift them up and carry their burdens at times. [/quote] I think this is key for so often we do one of these but neglect the other. I am at my best when I balance [i]both[/i] of these things, develop my relationship with God and also strengthen my relationship with other Christians God has led me to who "do life with me as we all do life with God together."
As you said-it is a process! Thank you for sharing again Godly wisdom and God Bless you richly! Dave
As the song states; "Where could I go but to my Lord?" So it is as we grow through the years in our relationship with God; more about God, less about me, and more about Love...Love of God, Love of our brothers and sisters, and the devotion of our time and resources in their service.
Thank you for your insights; thank you for your faith in God!