Come further up, come further in!
--C.S. Lewis,The Last Battle
As Christians we should not be content to settle in the lowlands, on the plains. When we get settled into our nice little cottage at the foot of the mountains, we get comfortable, we forget there is a battle going on and we become complacent. We become satisfied with who we are and where we are at. While growth may still occur, it is minimal at best. It is like the growth of a plant which has been shut up in a closet and receives little or no light. It is pale, spindly and weak and if something doesn't change, it will die.
Christians are creatures of The Light, therefore in order to thrive we must be in The Light. In order to be in The Light, we must climb higher and higher in our spiritual walk with God, always moving closer and closer to The Light, Jesus Christ.
What we do in this world, really does matter. If it did not, God would have never instructed us in how to live. We would have never been commanded to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. We would have never been told that we need to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Holy Spirit would not have moved upon people like Paul, James and others to write letters filled with instructions of how to live life in a manner befitting a child of God. What we say and do, the manner in which we behave really does matter. It is the outward evidence to the world that we are becoming less like ourselves and more like Christ and isn't that exactly what we are supposed to do?
Going "further up and further in" is not restricted to simply going to church each week or fellowshipping with the saints, daily Bible reading and prayer though these are things we ought to do. In the fourth chapter of Ephesians Paul writes:
Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:20-32 (NLT)
When we do these things, we will discover that we are moving further up and further in. As we do, we will become less like ourselves and more like Christ and the world cannot help but notice.