REDISCOVERING THE ANCIENT PATH—Week of October 17, 2021
Grow in Holiness: Rom. 12:1-2
We are in Week 37 of our examination of Benedict of Nursia’s rules for Christian formation. This week we’ll look at Rule 4.62: Grow in Holiness. Growth requires turning away from our own indulgences to take to heart what God expects from us.
The Apostle Paul, the great and wise teacher, starts off with a sense of urgency for those to whom he is writing, knowing that if they conformed to worldly living, their growth in Christ would be stunted. He urged them to stay on God’s path, to continue to move ahead embracing holiness and expanding spiritually as they stayed the course…no turning back.
Growing requires boundaries, sacrifice, and dedication. In whichever attribute we are attempting to mature, develop or expand, it will require our firm commitment and obedience. Determination and steadfastness are the keys to staying within the boundaries and not missing the mark of God’s arrow of truth in our life. Our constant dedication to sanctification and drawing near to God daily with a pure heart is the key to and is a requirement for spiritual growth.
We have seasons of being stunted in our growth, either by the wrong decisions we make or by forgetting the jewels of what God has taught us. Through the years the great and merciful Gardener has cultivated our soul, removed the strangling weeds, allowing us to grow exponentially. With His own hands He has planted never-ending wisdom in our heart so we will bloom and blossom. As His children, we can choose to continue to embrace growth, or we can choose to turn aside from following His will. If we do choose the wrong path, we can always cry out to God to put us back on His path.
One of the key phrases that the Apostle Paul uses in Romans 12 is to be pleasing to God. When we make the decision to embrace the task of yielding to and pleasing God, and embracing his words, we are not only obeying Him, but we are adding spiritual gold to our soul…gold that we, as instruments of righteousness, can bountifully share with others.
Those who are spiritual mentors/teachers have the responsibility to “keep an eye” on the spiritual health of those they mentor. The consistent interaction of mentoring enables, and confirms to those being mentored, that they are advancing and maturing in holy growth. Through the weeks and months of teaching, the “light” turns on, and they realize they are moving forward in holiness. What a joy and privilege!
Our habitual conduct, whether good or evil, reveals the condition of our heart. We all sin. We’ve all made mistakes, wrong decisions and taken backward steps. But we should not condemn ourselves, thinking that we are not worthy. God is persistent in His love and mercy toward us. His judgement is rooted in truth. Asking for His forgiveness and mercy enables us to then continue in the path of His righteousness. God is absolute, infinite truth. After all, He is our Father. He sees and knows, but He loves and forgives. He helps us when we fall and picks us back up so we can continue to run the holy race He has assigned to us. He encourages us. He displays His kindness and restores us through the riches of His great love for us. To look back at our sins and meditate on them will only stunt our growth. We cannot afford to relive the ungodliness of our past. God has wiped away all the sins that kept us from developing. Such infinite grace.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your level of commitment to growing in holiness?
- What are the things that stunt your spiritual growth? Stubbornness? Laziness? Feeling condemned? Thinking that God will not forgive you? (Example: Choosing to make the same mistakes.)
- The more often we draw near to God, the more we grow in holiness. How often do you draw near to God?