I actually wrote the following earlier in the year but felt with the actual release of my book, The Wayfaring Stranger-A Layman’s Journeys in Spiritual Growth, that this would be a good time to publish this.
I’ve just finished submitting my manuscript for The Wayfaring Stranger to Xulon Publishing. The book is subtitled, ‘A Layman’s Journeys in Spiritual Growth’. I feel compelled to share the following, lest any should get the wrong impression, because, you see, the thing about spiritual growth is that it’s a really quite a conundrum. And even when you’ve sorted it out intellectually, being able to actually wrap your head around the concept, there remains the even more challenging task of coming to terms with the spiritual implications.
Spiritual growth is by no means a process that boosts your ego or gives you a big head; in fact, just the opposite is true. To grow spiritually, you have to die to self. You have to die to grow. Bury yourself in Christ.
In this sense, there’s nothing really glorious about it, meaning that it’s not a matter of self progression or self worthiness, or self aggrandizement in any way, shape or form. It is a matter of Christ’s life taking root and growing within.
The best description I’ve found to illustrate this growth is a two-line stanza poem the Lord gave me concerning it:
Wow, wow wow!
Ow, ow, ow!
The first line describes the wonder enjoyed, the second line describes the dying suffered.
Nature itself is replete with many examples of such ‘dying’. Jesus gave a prime one when he taught:
“Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abides alone, but if it dies it brings forth much fruit.”
Or, as PT Forsythe so wisely noted:
“What we have to realize is a spiritual world not simply in man but in which man is, a world that has to temper him and master him, that has to prevent him from taking his needs, passions and energies for charter or standard, a world that has to stand over him, test him, sift him, lift him, and end by setting him on a totally different base from the egotism in which he began… It does not simply envelop us, it acts on us, and we react on it; and in that reaction we find ourselves, and we grow into spiritual persons with which we never set out. It does not swathe us and erase us, it besets us, it applies itself to us. It does not simply stand at the door, or pass and suck us into its wake; it knocks, enters, finds, and saves us — all in the way of creating our moral personality and giving us to ourselves by rescuing us from ourselves. It is an active not a static world. It moves, it works, it creates.”