Welcome to Part Two of our Spiritual Growth Series on 2 Peter 1: 3-9. In Part One of this Series, we debunked a common myth about the true purpose of the Christian Religion.
In this blog, I’m debunking a common myth about Spiritual Growth. One which has been pushed by the grossly misled Self-Help Industry and the “Gurus” of the New Age Movement…
Growth Isn’t About Getting, It’s About BECOMING
Go to the Personal Growth section of any bookstore, or any on Personal Growth seminar, website, Social Media group or YouTube channel and you’ll find loads of advice on how to get something you want: how to make more money, how to improve your marriage, how to find your soulmate, how to lose weight, how to become more confident.
This “Goal Getting” approach is the primary focus of most Self-Help and Personal Growth products. So-called “Spiritual Growth” literature is no different. Whether its coming from the New Age Movement or from Christian Authors. Most of it is focused on “getting.”
It’s fine to want a better life. But, the things you achieve will never be as important as the person you become.
Moreover, the lasting results in your life are an expression of who you become. That is to say, they’re the cumulative result of your consistent habits, and your consistent habits are expressions of your true character.
This is NOT to say that you’re an invalid if you’re unhappy with your career or your financial status. Your character can express itself in many ways, and everyone is hard-wired for a different destiny.
My point is that Spiritual Growth isn’t about getting, it’s about becoming. I often tell my coaching clients that they should grow for the life they want, not the life they already have. Sure, you can change your life by sheer willpower or by luck. But using willpower to change your life is like holding your breath underwater. Anyone can keep this up for a while, but once they out of air, they’ll come flailing to the surface, gasping for breath.
This is because anything which requires excessive willpower is, by its nature, out of your “comfort zone.” It’s above and beyond the realm of your everyday habits. And there are only two ways to transcend your natural habits…
Willpower can create a temporary boost in your results. Just like a rocket being propelled into the air by the brute force of combustion energy. But once that rocket runs out of fuel, gravity will pull it right back down to earth. The same thing happens when you run out of willpower. The gravity of your old habits will suck you right back into your comfort zone.
But when you outgrow your comfort zone, habits which once required a great deal of willpower will become second nature. When this happens, your comfort zone grows, and your life grows along with it. Of course, there are shortcuts, and some people find them. They achieve success through raw talent, luck or by a combination of both. But such “success” often comes at the price of their character.
This is because any success that doesn’t come from growth gives you the opportunity to indulge all the vices you haven’t outgrown yet. Vices which you couldn’t afford to indulge before you become “successful.”
For example, some people get rich and become addicted to buying expensive clothes or cars. Others get famous and become approval addicts.
Others become addicted to drugs or sex or something else they couldn’t get access to when they were broke and struggling. These are all examples of what happens your success outgrows your character.
I’m NOT saying that becoming rich or famous is bad. It simply depends on whether you’ve GROWN into your success or not. Growth is empowering and leads to lasting and fulfilling change. Anything else is a mere imitation.
So, how do we define Spiritual Growth?
Spiritual Growth Is The Expression of Your True Potential
When God’s Spirit lives in you, that Spirit will always seek out greater expansion and expression. This expression of God’s Spirit manifests itself in the physical world as the expression and “perfection” of your God-given potential.
We all have spiritual gifts. But not everyone develops and expresses these gifts to their full potential. Some never discover their gifts at all. They’re too immersed in the vain pursuit of the symbols of success. This is the difference between worldly success and godly success.
But the drive for greater and fuller expression of your GENUINE NATURE is something you have in common with every living thing in the Universe. Everything is naturally wired, not just to survive, but to grow and to reproduce after its kind.
If you’ve ever seen a tiny plant force itself through a crack in a concrete sidewalk, you’ve seen this drive in action. If left unchecked, that plant could overgrow the entire sidewalk.
Watch the documentary “Life After Humans,” and you’ll see just how universally persistent and powerful this drive is. If mankind were to suddenly go extinct, and thus stop building artificial structures, nature would completely reclaim the earth within less than a thousand years.
This drive for expression is seeded in ALL of us. It’s in you and its in me. The problem is, our personal desires often get in the way of this expression. And that’s why one of the first, and most important steps in our journey is to accept this universal Spiritual Truth…
God’s Promises Are ALWAYS Greater Than Our Desires
Nothing you are I will ever wish for can ever be greater than the promises of our Creator. This is easily the most liberating Spiritual Truth of them all.
Sin, by definition, is what happens when we allow ourselves to take on desires which are not aligned with the purpose and the promises of God.
I’m not saying we should be mindless slaves of God’s Will. But if there is a God at all, it makes perfect sense that He would understand the desires of our heart better than we do. It would also make sense that God would know the wisest and most natural path towards achieving those desires.
According to them, we just need get a clear vision in our mind and focus on that vision until it “manifests” itself in reality. This is a naive and narcissistic belief.
It ignores the fact that we live in an interconnected world. A world which was meant to be the expression of the Creator. But that Creator also gave us a will of our own. And when we become absorbed in our own desires, we drop into the “Competitive Mindset.” We become distracted by the pursuit of status symbols and by the need for social validation.
Eastern Spiritual Teachers consider this attachment to our own desires to be the source of all human suffering. And the true Biblical definition of sin tells us the same thing. But when our desires become aligned with the will of our Creator, WE become an expression of God’s will and of God’s nature.
So, as we start this series, I’m asking you to make ONE SHIFT in your thinking. Stop thinking about end results. Focus instead on the PROCESS of Spiritual Growth. Remember that true Spiritual Growth is the natural expression of God’s Divine Nature working through you. The closer you become to God, the more YOUR desires will become aligned with the divine will of your Creator.