In many of Paul’s letters, such as Thessalonians, he encourages believers to strive for spiritual maturity. His words are always precisely written, and his message has a way of spurring others to embrace sanctification.
As I reflect on Apostle Paul’s writings, I find myself measuring my own pathway and process of being purified by Christ. I wonder what Paul’s message would be if he penned a letter to me. What areas would he address? What clarifications would he need to include? Where would he need to reveal reproof?
Have you ever wondered what your letter might include? What comes to mind when you think about your spiritual growth?
Transparency moment: There was once a time in my life where sanctification seemed like a long list of what to do and not to do. The process felt heavy even though I knew God was the one purifying my life.
I didn’t have a problem embracing the deliberate action on my part, but I became overwhelmed with all the to dos. It was paralyzing. (Remember, I am the queen of doing nothing when I don’t know precisely what to do or how to begin!)
Over the years I have learned that God is more concerned about my relationship with Him and the intentionality of my heart than all those to dos and not to dos. He wants me to focus on who He truly is and direct all my efforts towards His purpose.
Let me share with you three major areas I have found essential in maintaining spiritual growth:
- Continually seeking a more accurate view of God. The more I get to know the LORD’s attributes and characteristics, the less I depend on myself. My view of God is so skewed by my human mind’s eye. However, as I intentionally strive to see Him more clearly and grow to understand His holiness, power, and love, I find myself surrendering more and more to Him. WHY? Because a deeper level of trust, intimacy, and worship develops. Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. -1 Peter 1:3-4
- Allowing the Holy Spirit to lead. The LORD gave each of us a helpmate living within once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. However, it takes a conscience effort to listen the quiet voice and humble our steps, thoughts, actions, etc. to the discernment of the Holy Spirit. For me, this is essential in my spiritual maturity. I must daily lay down my fleshy desires and permit the Holy Spirit to guide my entire being. This is an ongoing process just like getting to know the LORD intimately. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh, for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. -Galatians 5:16,17
- Spending time in God’s Word. The LORD gave the gift of His words. Throughout Scripture, He reveals Himself to us and provides a life manual for us. Our sanctification progress depends on our deliberate action to read, study, seek understanding, pray, and apply the Bible. …yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. -Colossians 1:22
If you feel overwhelmed by all the “to dos”, understand God never wanted your relationship with Him to be complicated. He is a relational father who is gracious and loving. Take it minute by minute. Get to know Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal who the LORD really is and your role in God’s plans. Stay in His Word and let it transform your life.
If we were to receive a letter from Paul today, I think his main message would be:
know God, rely on Him, and live under His biblical authority.