Yesterday, I drove down a road I don't normally travel on. Things are starting to bloom here in South Georgia since it's March. I wish I would have stopped and taken a picture of this set of trees I passed...but I didn't. When I passed by, the thought came to me about how the trees are cut so they don't get in the power lines. God whispered to my heart that this is a great illustration for how we stop spiritual growth.
I found this picture online that shows how they "prune" trees around power lines. I find it interesting that they call it pruning. Jesus told the story about pruning the grapevine in John 15. God does prune the bad things out of our lives in order to help us look more like Jesus.
The continued pruning of these trees causes them to stop growing on the sides they are cut on. That keeps them right where the power companies want them.
There are things in our lives that can stop our spiritual growth. And that keeps us right where Satan wants us.
Here are the 5 things I feel like God wanted me to share:
1. Not praying. When we don't pray at all, or very little, we aren't communicating with God. We can't grow closer to Him if we aren't talking to Him. I'm not saying you have to pray for four hours a day. Start off with 5 minutes at home, or by turning off your radio in you car to pray. Pretty soon, you will be waking up early to spend more time with Him.
2. Not having a personal Bible reading/ devotional time. It is through Bible reading and devotionals that we can learn about God's character and the way He wants us to live. This is not saying that you have to read the Bible through in a year. Or that you need to be some Bible scholar. I know I'm not. Reading God's Word is one way He talks to us. If we aren't reading, we can't hear what He's saying.
3. Not attending church. This is not a legalistic view point or a jab to anyone who isn't in church. I do not believe you have to be there every time the doors are open. However, I do believe in corporate worship and the message a Pastor has for a body of believers. We grow through these and serving. Jesus came to serve, not be served. Following in His footsteps, we can serve in a church. (And other places.)
4.Focusing on our problems instead of magnifying God. When we let our problems be bigger than God, we are in trouble. It's easy to get focused on the negative or bad stuff in your life because we can see it. We can't see God. But when we make Him bigger, by magnifying Him, worshipping Him, and praying to Him, we are letting Him handle our problems instead of trying to handle them on our own.
5. Living for ourselves instead of God. Living for ourselves means that we just aren't that concerned with God. We make our own decisions and we do whatever we want. As Christians, that's not how we are supposed to live. We are supposed to let God lead our lives. If we are fully surrendered to Him, then we are living for Him and not ourselves. We can't be God... nor should we try. We need to abandon our worldly ways and live fully for Him.
It's not "easy" being a Christian in today's world of selfish, fast paced, live however you want ideals. It is the better choice though.
God has a purpose and plan for each of our lives. If we just do life our own way, we might miss out on what He has for us. I don't know about you, but I want everything God has because it's way better than anything this world has to offer.
I also want to always be growing spiritually. The closer I am to God, the better. I'm not perfect. I sin. I make mistakes. However, I strive to stay close to God through everything. I want what He wants for my life. He is my first love, and that will never change.
If you need prayer to establish a daily quiet time with God, or help learning how to put anything into place that you are missing, please contact me. I would love to tell you what's worked for me. It might not for you, but it's worth a try. I know God will answer my prayers for you... so ask away!!
God bless you today and always.