Your Spiritual Growth Plan

There is a great article from John Ortberg with the same title that can be found here.

John is a great thinker around spiritual formation, and some of his latest stuff is his best yet.  Here are a couple of great excerpts from this article, but the whole thing is worth reading:

Jesus made staggering promises about his ability to transform human lives:

“‘Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flowing from within.’ By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive” (John 7:37-39).

This life is not something we produce; it exists independently of us. It is the Spirit of God.

Often people are moved by the vision of Jesus, are overwhelmed by the hope and beauty of his promise, and they say yes to it. For a time, there’s a kind of a spiritual honeymoon period. They’re filled with love for God, and they’re drawn to the Bible. And some things change. Maybe coarse language gets cleaned up. Maybe certain habits get overcome.

But over time this sense of progress stalls out. People find themselves wrestling with patterns of anger, or sexual addictions, or chronic anxiety that are embedded too deeply in their bodies to be lifted out simply through hearing more information. And they get stuck in a gap.

When they first hear the gospel, they’re aware of the gap between them and God caused by sin. And they come to understand that human effort cannot bridge that gap; it can only be bridged by grace.

But over time they become aware of another gap: the gap between who I am right now and the person God wants me to become.

And then he gives some examples of the way God customizes spiritual growth plans for different people in the Bible:

He had Abraham take a walk,
Elijah take a nap,
Joshua take a lap,
Adam take the rap.

He gave Moses a 40-year timeout,
He gave David a harp and a dance,
He gave Paul a pen and a scroll.

He wrestled with Jacob,
argued with Job,
whispered to Elijah,
warned Cain,
and comforted Hagar.

He gave Aaron an altar,
Miriam a song,
Gideon a fleece,
Peter a name,
and Elisha a mantle.

Jesus was stern with the rich young ruler,
tender with the woman caught in adultery,
patient with the disciples,
blistering with the scribes,
gentle with the children,
and gracious with the thief on the cross.

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