My wife Theresa and I recently moved into a rented home in northern California. I stopped by one day to take another look around before we moved in. The house was totally empty. In this space, completely void of electricity, furniture and distractions, I stretched out on the floor and took in the complete stillness.
For most of us, there is an ache in our soul that we cover up and fill with people, entertainment and things. In the midst of stillness, that ache will emerge. It can catch you by surprise if you aren’t expecting it. The realness of that ache prompts many people to fill their lives with a lot of activities and stuff that simply doesn’t fulfill.
Growth is a driving force of our culture. It’s almost impossible to escape it; we track, we measure, we benchmark. People equate success with growth – whether in their careers or finances or relationships – progress requires forward momentum. We’re inundated day in and day out. The focus is on what you do, what you have done, what you possess, how well your kids are doing, where they will go to school, what zip code you live in … the list could go on and on.
The reality is that most people define growth by what they have accomplished or acquired.
When was the last time you took a look at the condition of your soul? Would you even know how to assess it? For many people, their desired “state-of-soul” could best be described as fulfillment or contentment, but God tells us there is much more.
The most important question you will ever ask – or answer – is this: Who are you becoming?
“Becoming,” as God defines it, sparks many more questions: What type of person are you? How is your soul growing? Are you kinder and more patient and more loving? Are your relationships deeper? Are you more deeply connected to God? Are you hearing his voice like never before?
Everything is either growing or dying. It’s true of your emotions, your faith, your work and your family. All of these things are either in the process of growing deeper, richer and better or they are atrophying, crumbling and dying.
The trouble with this truth as it relates to our soul is that you can’t see it. In fact, the most important part of the Christian life is the part that only God can see! And there’s so much demand and so much noise that our ability to grow spiritually is stunted or even frozen completely.
The question to ask ourselves is this: What does it look like to get ready, get set and then really grow?
I want to suggest to you that while only God can cause supernatural growth to occur – he never does it alone. He requires a response from us of faith and obedience, trusting in his character. Then he takes his character and plan and pours it into his word. According to Jesus, the foundation of all spiritual growth – of all transformation – is based in God’s word.
In other words: your response to God’s word will determine your relationship with God. How much exposure you have to God’s word, how much His word penetrates your heart and your life is your response to the Lord.
If you’ve found your own spiritual sensitivity numbed by the experiences of the world, check out our series entitled Momentum. Through it, I pray that you will realize that the growth that God desires for you is all about learning who you really are and what truly defines you.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip