Real Growth Is From Inside
|If there is anything
contemporary religion, politics and governments share, it is trying to
influence people from the top down. Pressure is constantly put on people to change their
outlooks according to the
organizational directions of the heads of the different religions,
denominations, political parties and
governments. The world is a propaganda whirl of people desperately
trying to influence or manipulate others. Well, you may huff, whatís wrong with that? Isnít that life?
Everyday life, maybe, but spiritual life, no, a thousand times, no!
ďThe Kingdom of God is within you.Ē (Luke 17:21) You grow from conclusions that arise from your spiritual life inside you. Since most people do not practice a spiritual and interior life with God, they actually often donít know what is being talked about. Growth arises from spiritual expansion, insight, feelings changing from the inside out, not from outside pressure to be some groupís ideal of whatever program they want you in. God is not Stalin and you are not part of his five year plan. You grow at your own speed and according to the grace you have been given. That is true spiritual growth.
First there is a relationship with God through grace that brings you and God together privately. Then there is a growing from interaction between you and God. You may say, well, that is chaos. Chaos is what is going on around us, if you notice, but it is a spiritually guided chaos of different people in different stages of grace, in different phases of growth, and in different circumstances. These people are of different ages, different tribal groupings and different outlooks. The analogy I use for it is the sun spreading its warmth and grace on a turning, growing world. In such a similar way God dispenses grace to a growing, changing world. We grow by grace in a jungle of circumstances.
But you will notice in this only comparative figure that real growth arises from the inside. The seed inside expansively arises from light and grace on the inside. It is not growing as a result of outside dictates. If Jesus is right, then the Kingdom of God is arising and growing inside you from a divine energy of grace and light. In the consequent growth from this, what you experience is a true glorifying of God.
I think, and this is not dogma but my view, that there is a spiritual growth pattern inside of you rather like the genes in a child. Given the right spiritual environment, which you and grace create, you will develop into the spiritual person you were predestined to be. That is, each of you has a uniquely spiritual predestination. It is up to you to work with God to attain it. This cannot be done without the proper interior life and spiritual discipline that the Holy Spirit inside you needs to develop in. Your spiritual study, prayers and meditations are important to the needed fulfillment of your spiritual predestination. This predestination can happen in you ď because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.Ē (I John 4:4) But this is not dogma. I suggest only that in conscience you consider it. If you realize this as a truth and are therefore called to it by your realization, live it. But this suggestion for self-examination is not dogma. In conscience and prayer consider it. If it speaks not to the needs of your soul at this time, lay it by.
What we have lost as believers is our awareness of how the Kingdom of God grows in us. Your duty does not necessarily grow from polls, votes, propagandas and political pressures we are all constantly subjected to. We may change from outside pressures but unless God is in them, we rarely grow. As for a Spiritual Kingdom, the liberals as a whole donít believe there is a God anyway, so spiritual growth in God is foreign to their thinking. But to you who seriously believe in God, a Spiritual Awareness of Him and to find His calling for you, and involvement in His calling, is more than important.
The polls, political struggles, religious competitiveness, the pressure exerted by the media, different causes, material pressures are of some limited importance, but these pressures come and go over time as the winds come and go. If you are to be a tree left standing, realize much of the world wind is vanity. Temporal motions come, blow lustily and go, but to attain a spiritual sense of proportion may be the most important, eternal and lasting thing in your life. God will be with you whatever happens. God is our refuge and strength from pressures trying to manipulate us. The external fades and goes. It is a kaleidoscopic arrangement of things soon reshaped. We seek the harmony of a loving spirit on the inside, so establish your eternal priorities. Do not succumb to the trivial pressures of today. Build God into your tomorrow.
First through grace establish a personal relationship with God who is a Spirit and has a Personality. Then interact with God on works of service and praise, so that you may grow in that relationship. You will grow in grace as naturally as a plant in the sun. Religion, or for that matter, any cause forced from the outside on others as the liberals do is bad. Liberals are those who wish to do good but do good badly. They immunize us to good causes through forcing them, violence, armies, propaganda, on the assumption that the heart can be forced. An ideal put in by force will be an ideal the heart divorces. It is only a matter of time.
No good that is forced is really solid because it has no transcendent force in it. The mind is a window that is beautiful when lit by the heart. Many religions all over the world are like dark stained glass windows with no illumination behind them no grace, no love. Religion must have the illumination of a personal awareness of God behind it. Otherwise it is not transcendent religion which is the only type that does any good. Who needs a faith without God? If your stained glass window of empty religion is not illuminated by personal transcendent experiences of God, what use is it? Have not the liberals made religion into the ultimate in littleness? No personal God to believe in and no active God to do anything. An expensive stained glass window lit by no God, no light, no grace. Dark as Egypt.
No, I tell you there is a God. The spiritual world turns and grows under His grace like the literal world revels in the sunís warmth. We may be born into the literal world, but we find the deepest fulfillment of ourselves in the spiritual world. It is in affirming God and serving His creation that we are made even somewhat whole. If you do not see these truths you probably do not want to see these truths. They have not called you. You are not ready for Christ. But because there are those not ready for Christ, it does not mean there is no Christ, it means there are those not spiritually mature enough for the Christ-consciousness. God is self-evident and when you meet Him, you will know. How do you know Him? You will not have to ask. You will know Him.
If you are a child, you think childishly, petulantly, but if and when you spiritually grow up, you will be ready for Christ. If a ship is not on the horizon, it doesnít mean it is not there. It means it is not come up over your horizon yet. All the laws in the world wonít change the way it is. However, it is my hope and prayer that in time you will find Christ when grace, wisdom and age have expanded your horizons.
In the meantime I stand on that mountain where God has put me. I suggest you do likewise. Wherever God has put you, that is your mountain. Also I suggest that wherever God has put you is a mountain. You have been placed where you are for a purpose. Do you hear? You have a purpose from God
You are not here just to make money and die in a degrading and debased society of obsessive materialism such as we find around us. See what is the spiritual purpose of your being where you are. You will know it when you see it, and when you see it, you will know you are called to it by your ability to see it ďHe that hath ears to hear, let him hear,Ē (Matthew 11:15) He who sees and can understand the need is called to it. Then may you help God as much as you possibly can, having been called to the task.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.