On March 11, 2020, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus. Within days every North American sports league ceased operation. My ten-year-old bemoaned, “Why does the government take all our fun away?”
Everything is different in 2020. Sports. Work. School. Home. Zoom. Masks. Church.
Everything – from the mundane to fun-days – has been shaken.
How has this pandemic impacted your spiritual growth? Are you asking new questions? Are you running on fumes? Are you discovering why your roots must go deep?
Deep spiritual roots affect spiritual growth, and spiritual growth produces men of God who bear spiritual fruit as ambassadors of Christ in this very real world. Spiritual growth is ultimately practical. Jesus said God’s Kingdom is a seed sprouting toward fruitfulness (Mark 4:26-29). The Apostle Paul wrote that life in Christ means becoming ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Spiritual rootedness and growth produce representatives of God’s reconciling work in this shaken and broken world.
Spiritual growth begins with a summons – a call. Jesus invited people to follow him, the glory of God revealed.
We are called to the glory of Jesus. Spiritual growth does not begin with a call to behave better or embrace a religious life. Spiritual growth begins with Jesus, who is the glory – the holiness, nature and beauty of God – revealed into the world.
The disciple John described Jesus as the Word of God made human – a living reality. In Jesus, “we have seen God’s glory” (John 1:14). Your spiritual growth is contingent on your response to God’s word to the world in Jesus Christ.
The call to God’s glory in Christ is also a summons to the mission of the Father, Son and Spirit in the world. God invites you to come to his glory so that you become his glory in the world (John 17:20-23). This is God’s amazing plan in sending Jesus and his purpose in calling you to the glory of Jesus. This is a high call!
So, spiritual growth begins with the call of Jesus to center on him.
Is the center of your life the glory of Jesus? If you circle around the glory of sports, like my son, then life is suddenly and shockingly disappointing in life’s unexpected storms. It is crucial to assess the “glory” we have made the center. Slow down and assess that question. Spiritual growth depends on this honesty.
Remember, your first call is to the glory of Jesus; to reorient life around him.
Os Guinness writes, “Between the first word of God’s creation and the last word of his judgment, our ways of life are our response to God’s Word to us. There is no God but God. There is no word but God’s Word. There is no way of life but God’s way of life. But for the time being, our response is up to us; we are not forced to say yes.”1
Spiritual growth will begin with an honest assessment of my “yes” or no” to God’s glory seen in Jesus Christ. I am not forced but invited. I must make a very personal decision to respond to that summons. His call can come through a friend, a writing like this, or a talk or sermon you hear. It can be the Spirit’s quiet urging that comes while you’re mowing the lawn, riding your motorcycle, finally down to that last drop or dollar, or hiking the mountains. Regardless, when the clarity of his invitation to his glory comes, it will be of the Spirit of God. It will be a spiritual call to live a Spirit-ual life.
This happened to Nicodemus (John 3:5-8), Peter (Matthew 16:17), and countless men through history who found true life in response to the call to the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
You are called to the glory of Jesus. Spiritual growth that produces men of God who bear spiritual fruit as ambassadors of Christ in this very real world begins in that strong whisper of the Divine.
Consider yourself summoned.
1 Guiness, Os, The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life, W Publishing Group, Copyright 1998, 203 Os Guiness. Used by permission. All rights reserved