As a new Christian I loved this word from my pastor: “Christianity is like a bicycle; if you don’t keep moving you fall off.” I instinctively knew this was true and the desire to keep moving in God has been with me ever since. This same pastor had much wisdom to impart and I also remember his exhortation to the flock to always have a teachable spirit. Unless we have a teachable spirit we cannot keep moving. Solomon may well have been reflecting on his own life when he said: “Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.” (Ecclesiastes 4:13)
Unless we have a teachable spirit we cannot keep moving.
Solomon was at his best in his early days when he was humble and hungry. The one thing he wanted from God was a “hearing heart.” (1 Kings 3:9) Isn’t this where all growth begins: a hearing ear and a seeing eye? The Psalmist cried out: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” (Psalm 119:18) If we are to keep moving in God, this must be the prayer of our heart also. We are in a bad place when we think we have mastered the Book and have nothing more to learn from it. God forbid we go to a church that tells us they have figured the important stuff out and have already done the heavy lifting for us, so now we can be spoon fed by them. In making obedience and submission to church teaching the duty of the pious those in leadership breed spiritual laziness among the people. Who needs to study when my pastor already did it for me? Who needs to seek until they find, if the church possesses ready made answers? Sometimes, the stronger a church is in all that it believes, the weaker the people are. The more dependent we become on men, the less we need our own relationship with God.
We cannot and will not move into all God has for us when we think we’ve already arrived.
We cannot and will not move into all God has for us when we think we’ve already arrived. Jesus understood why the Pharisees wouldn’t drink the new wine He was bringing: they were happy with the old wine they had been drinking. He told them why they wouldn’t come to Him: they believed that life could be found in their study and knowledge of scripture. (John 5:39,40) This often is the biggest hindrance to our moving forward: we think we have it when we don’t. We’re proud of our knowledge, we glory in our church, we like where we’re at, and we think that God is smiling on us, when He’s actually weeping. He’s standing at the door and knocking because He knows that our fellowship with Him is not what it should be.
Our going forward in God has everything to do with our obedience.
How do we grow then? Our going forward in God has everything to do with our obedience. Each one of God’s children has their own personal setting from which they must learn Christ and grow up in Him. How we respond to the Holy Spirit in this very personal sphere will determine our growth in the things of God. We have been wrongly conditioned if we believe that moving forward in God is related to what we do when we get into a church service. “Letting ourselves go” in a meeting does not mean we are truly yielded to God and does not translate into “gaining ground” with Him. Our encounters with God outside the four walls of the church are where we are truly proven. There, in the midst of real trials and temptations, we are given the opportunity to lift up our heart to God and receive from Him the daily bread we need. Church services are not an end in themselves, they are a means to be refreshed for the real battle that will face us in our world. There are those who “love their worship time” in church, without realizing that the worship of God is not confined to a set time on Sunday. We may think we are moving forward because we know how to flow with God in church, but flowing in God has less to do with synchronization with your pastor or worship leader, and more to do with being sensitive to the Holy Spirit as it pertains to His real agenda for your life.
God would have for each of us a vibrant, growing walk with Him. But it will be the product of our own personal obedience to Him; it will not depend on how good a church man or woman we are.
We can be stagnant and brittle even when we appear to be on fire with God. In Isaiah’s day, the people loved to draw near to God, but it was with their mouths and not their hearts. They wondered why their voices weren’t being heard on high when they were so zealous toward God and His house. The reason why the true fire had not fallen was because there were places of disobedience in their lives that God would not overlook. God would have for each of us a vibrant, growing walk with Him. But it will be the product of our own personal obedience to Him; it will not depend on how good a church man or woman we are. If we are to keep moving in God, we must have a relationship with Him where we hear His voice at all times. We must know what He is saying to us. We must stand in His counsel; and mark His word when we have heard it. (Jeremiah 23:18)
The truth is this: no one but the Holy Spirit knows what is right for you at any given time. Can He speak to you through others? Yes. But rarely does He speak something to us from another that He has not spoken to us first. Others may confirm His leading but they should never be relied upon to be His voice to us. God Himself knows where He would have us to be at any given time to gain what He knows we have need of. We can get comfortable in a place where there is not much more for us to gain. What worked for us yesterday, is not working today. Other new arrivals may be excited, but the cloud has lifted for us. This not only applies to where we go to church; it has to do with many areas in our lives. The Lord says: “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)
Tell others how God is leading you and they may think you are making a mistake and taking a step backward, but God knows better.
The Lord Himself and no one else is your Potter, your Shepherd, your Lord; you are His workmanship. He alone knows how you need to be shaped and what environment is best suited for that shaping. He will speak to you concerning His will for your life. Tell others how God is leading you and they may think you are making a mistake and taking a step backward, but God knows better. Having heard His word, you must do it, no matter the cost. You must go where God wants you to go, though none go with you, though none agree with the leading you have. Above all, believe that He has something wonderful for you on the other side of obedience. Keep moving.