Growing Up In God
|Mankind is able to choose and
sometimes has a deep unrecognized
desire to lose. If you feel you are in a undesirable situation, a
beneficent God may not have put you there, but He is vitally
interested in what you do there.
What we do where we are determines our spiritual growth. By our attitudes and choices, we make ourselves. By attitudes and choices we not only make ourselves, but sometimes form new selves that in looking back at our older self makes us smile. We realize we have grown up some in God.
As a seed has within it the plan for its ideal growth, each of us has within a potential state of grace that God has set as our goal. In moving towards that goal we grow.
We grow through stages of development to the fullness of grace within us. So we need to respect the stages of development we are in and those our neighbors are in. It is step by step, stage by stage, that we go up the stairs.
It is a mistake to judge others by the state they are in. That may be the only place they think they can be, given their attitude and circumstances. Circumstances are always secondary to attitudes, and we make too much of circumstances.
Circumstances may hold us back but they are worst when they cause illusions that paralyze our wills. Bitter illusion of circumstances may freeze our impulses to grow spiritually. Let us remember circumstances are only illusions. We should not be awed or mesmerized by circumstances. We should try to transfigure, transcending them. The world itself is only an illusion that will pass and God and eternity remain.
Never be too impressed by circumstances. They change but the spiritual world is forever. And as the Apostle says in Romans 8:6 “To be spiritually minded is life.”
Jesus said, “Judge not that ye be not judged, for with what judgment ye judge, you shall be judged.” (Matthew (7:1) Therefore judge others kindly and sometimes yourselves gently. The stage each is in is best seen as the step up each is on. We are all on different steps and in different stages of spiritual development. Therefore be patient with others as you maintain the right attitudes and make those choices that will enable you to grow in grace yourselves.
Whether you should have a religion is largely determined by the type of religion you have. If your religion is simply to be a moralistic stick to hit others with, your religion helps no one, neither yourself or others. But if you have a mind open to the impulses of Christ, then you want to be flexible and open to grace in your attitudes and actions that you may grow in grace.
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.