I have spent a lifetime following Jesus. For the majority of that lifetime I have remained on the path of growth. It has been a deep desire to increasingly BE like Christ. Over time, I have evolved through varying ideas on what that is and what it looks like in my own life. Yet, the yearning to have my nature, my character, in sync with His has an unceasing pull on my heart.
I believe hunger for God is both graced to us and cultivated by us. I can’t take credit for being a 5-year old who frequently cried when the 1980’s televangelist would give his altar appeal. That was graced to me, likely before I was formed in my mothers womb. I can’t claim any great effort when the 12-year old version of myself felt profoundly compelled to seek something I didn’t even understand when I was infilled with the power of Holy Spirit. Many of the teenage tears which dripped from my eyes onto our rural church altar were not self-induced.
However, I also know that the decisions of disciplined devotion I have made through the years have provided fuel for my holy longing. It was my choice to wake up and pray an hour before school. It was our choice, mine and Michelle’s, to attend Friday night revival services instead of going on cheap dates when we were in college. There have been many deliberate steps taken through the years to stoke the embers of my spirit.
Much of that intentional choice was centered on the aforementioned ache, to grow more deeply into my beloved Christ. I am at the stage in life, where accomplishment has taken a back seat to personal formation. I say this not because it sounds good, but because it is what “keeps me up at night”…I want to be a person of character, with a pure heart, cleansed of illegitimate ideas and thought patterns, abstaining from the feeding of toxic feelings, having my inner man at complete peace with The Man.
I know the path to this desired end is one of consistent, devotional engagement. I cannot make myself into this person. It is only the beautiful work of Holy Spirit, which can ripen the delectable fruit I crave. Yet, it is a matter of choice, of what I will diligently fertilize, what I will fan into flame.
Which brings me to a frequent frustration I encounter…
During prayer and reading one day in my office, with a bit of concern and exasperation, I said the following to the Lord:
“I don’t think I can remember everything I’m reading, learning, hearing, sensing, and experiencing with you Lord. How am I supposed to grow, to deepen my faith, when I forget it almost as soon as it’s over?”
Can anyone identify?
You make the steps of devotion, and once you step back into the flow of life, what you just partook of seems to have already escaped your mind.
But on that day I sensed an unexpected response.
He said, “I will remember”.
And there you have it. My spiritual growth, the deepening of my faith, the increase of my understanding, is not so much about how much I can remember, like I’m studying for a test in school. It’s about being faithful, diligent, consistent, present…
…and the Lord remembers those moments and He develops my soul and spirit accordingly.
Our precious Lord NEVER FORGETS a moment of faithfulness or devotion.
It remains before Him forever.
Me becoming like Christ, my spiritual life being significantly enriched, has less to do with my memory, and everything to do with His memory.
The Psalmist said, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the work of the builders is wasted.” So what am I doing with all those hours of prayer, study, consideration, and acts of obedience?
I’m giving God the necessary building materials, so He can build this house of mine into a place of His habitation.
Don’t you love the Lord?
He is SO GOOD.