Why I Didn’t Grow Spiritually
I’ve written in this blog about how, as a 2nd year university student, I heard Josh McDowell explain to me how I could be transformed from the inside out through a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. But there is another significant event that has had a major part in radically changing my life. It came about two years after my conversion and is what really initiated significant spiritual growth in my life.
I filled out a comment card leaving my contact information for the group that had sponsored this lecture by Josh. On this card I indicated that I had invited Jesus Christ into my life to take over control of my life and make me the kind of person he wants me to be. I knew I needed forgiveness and transformation if I was going to stop being a part of the world’s problem and start being part of the solution. I also wanted to be right with God if Jesus were to come back any time soon.
But by the time I received a phone call from a member of Campus Crusade for Christ four days later I had gotten cold feet , not about my spiritual decision between me and God, but about whether I wanted to open my life up to these people who I knew nothing about. What if they were just a bunch of extreme weirdo fanatics? So when the person on the phone offered to get together with me and help me grow in my relationship with Christ, I said, “Thanks, but no thanks. I think that’s all I want for now.”
The next two years in my life were miserable! I do believe that I was genuinely converted and had begun a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. But by not allowing anyone to tell me what comes next, I was like a newborn baby who did not allow his mother to feed him. Just like a newborn would not be doing well physically if they did not eat, I was a spiritual newborn who did not allow anybody to feed me spiritually. Consequently, even though I think I was genuinely a Christian, my life and my behavior were not showing much evidence of God in my life.
I had dabbled with marijuana before then but now I became a very frequent user. I became sexually active with my girlfriend. I began to abuse alcohol even more than before. This is all after my conversion!
I played on the University of Calgary basketball team and one of our assistant coaches was a Mormon and he was actively encouraging me to check out the Mormon faith. One of my colleagues at my part-time job, a really nice guy, was a Jehovah witness, and he was trying to get me to check out his church. My cousin, who was four years older than me and someone I really respected and looked up to, was one of the first teachers of Transcendental Meditation in Canada. He had lived with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and was trying to get me to view the world in a completely different way. And since I was still interested in spiritual things I was reading stuff on the occult.
As I look back on it I think what was happening was that the devil knew he had lost me for eternity but he was going to make sure that my life was going to be useless as far as the kingdom of God was concerned. But somehow I believe God protected me from going too far down any of those roads.
One afternoon I ended up playing some pickup basketball with a couple of guys who sort of looked familiar but I didn’t really know who they were. After we had a good time playing ball for a while we sat down to talk and pretty soon they were talking to me about God. As they shared I quickly interjected and said, “I’ve done all this already. Two years ago when this Josh guy spoke in the student union building, I asked Christ into my life and gave him control of my life but things haven’t been working out so well. Can you help me?”
What they shared with me next was what I had been missing for two years and was the key to my spiritual growth. My own self-imposed ignorance had stopped God from being able to work significantly in my life. What they shared has been called “spiritual breathing” and I want to share that with you in my next post and why it was so life transforming.
No, it is not some new age technique of controlled intake of oxygen. It is just a metaphor for a powerful way to experience God’s love & forgiveness in a very personal and ongoing way and how to harness the power that He provides to live life every moment of every day.
Is your relationship with God characterized by a moment by moment experience of His love, forgiveness, and power? Or is it more an experience of failure, defeat and guilt?
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