Eleven years ago, when I began writing these articles for the daily newspaper, I chose to entitle them “Higher Ground.”
The hope was the thoughts shared would encourage people to become dissatisfied with the commonplace in their spiritual pilgrimage and seek a deeper, or higher relationship with God. I have seen so many people make a profession of faith, begin to grow for a while, then settle in as if it were a spectator sport — something you come to enjoy, as it makes you feel good and gives you strength for the day’s problems.
Then you come back the next week for another time of fellowship with friends, have your senses touched by good music, hear a sermon, and go out into the real world to fight the battle encouraged, but not really changed or challenged to confront the “thief (Satan) who is out to steal, kill and destroy.”(John 10:10)
He is described in Scripture as “a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”(2 Peter 5:8) Back in Genesis 4:6 God warns Cain that “if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you but you must master it.”
Every person is responsible for his growth. He needs to become a “self feeder” that is, one who assumes the responsibility for his own spiritual growth. What are we doing daily to make us more like Jesus — growing in our understanding and obedience?
The picture drawn here is that of a battle. Satan is satisfied when we are “easily satisfied.” It is when we take seriously the claims of Christ we begin to have trouble. The Israelites were afraid to cross the Jordan to engage the Canaanites because they refused to believe God would keep his promises. Often we settle for a life of wandering in the wilderness instead of trusting God to keep his promises.
This is a challenge to get into the battle, to set your course for victory. Romans 12:2, 3 challenges us to “not be conformed to the pattern of the world, but to be transformed (changed) by the renewing of your mind.” The slogan of a popular Christian network is “Think deeply, act differently.”
Outside forces challenge our way of thinking. Certainly, for the Christ follower, the Scriptures should prioritize our thoughts, but even the transfer of information does not signal instant growth. It is the response to that information to our daily lives that brings maturity. How is it affecting the way we love people or the way we spend our money?
God has spoken to many Godly men through the years, and continues today. Spurgeon said; “It is strange we think so highly of what God says to us but so little of what he says to other men.” Many say that do not like to read. Yet they often have a college degree and are involved in a vocation because they chose to read required material in college to reach that goal.
It is safe to say they often did not enjoy reading the required material in college either. But they had a goal and they disciplined themselves to reach that goal. Oh, if God’s people would so live to reach a goal of maximum effectiveness in their Christian life that it would drive them to “Do your best to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed.”
“May the God of Peace equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen Heb. 13:20-22
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