Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.
Ephesians 2:1 NLT
Journeys can be enjoyable or dreadful.
I’ve taken many journeys during my lifetime. Having lived as a preacher’s son and then being a preacher myself, I once calculated that on average I had not lived for more than one year in any given place. Though that part of my life journey was not enjoyable, I made many friends along the way, but left them all too quickly. And then there’s been that part of the journey which included death, sickness, disease, broken relationships, and financial meltdowns. None of those were enjoyable.
More important than any life journey we might take—willingly or not, is our spiritual journey. This one we have no option but to embrace. Living transformed lives begins by examining where we are spiritually and altering what needs changing. We pass through spiritual growth stages just as we do physical growth stages. Those who don’t advance in the physical are referred to as challenged, and those who don’t in the spiritual are as well.
Our spiritual journey includes the following stages—some of which we choose and others that we don’t.
- Spiritual death. We all start here. No one has a head start. The Bible says, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 NIV). We’re not as bad as we could be, but we are all bad nevertheless—sinful. We can’t live up to God’s expectations and standards without divine assistance.
- Spiritual infant. There’s nothing wrong with being an infant if that’s what we should be, and we are this when we accept Christ. Everyone grows at different rates. God works to conform us to his Son’s image which will take us to spiritual maturity and abundant life, but we determine in large part how much we grow and how quickly by our response to his work.
- Spiritual child. We can get stuck here if we’re not able to see the big picture or our need to be involved in it. Phrases we hear that help us identify the speaker as a child are similar to the ones that reveal a person is a spiritual child. Jesus wants us to be disciples and make disciples. This involves looking outside our little worlds and getting outside our comfort zones.
- Spiritual young adult. Of the two greatest commandments, Jesus said loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and being was the first and greatest. As young adults are seeking knowledge and experiences to help them survive in the world, so spiritual young adults are concerned with what will help them grow spiritually.
- Spiritual parent. A disciple is one who knows Christ, is growing in their relationship with him, and wants to see others enjoy the same. One who is growing is a young adult, but the one who wants others to enjoy the same is a spiritual parent.
What stage do you find yourself in?