Recently I decided to re-read Rick Warren’s A Purpose Driven Life. This book had a great impact on my discovering my purpose for life, developing a willingness to live a ‘good’ life and commitment to the Christian journey. I always recommend it to those I’m mentoring because I feel Pastor Warren writes clearly, directly and asks poignant questions which anyone can relate to.
I’ve read it three times now, taking each of the 40 days as though it were the first time. As I go through it again in these days leading up to my birthday, I can see what struck me the first time I read it is not what stands out for me now. What I highlighted the first two times are interesting and undoubtedly worth noting. Yet, I see not that what was important to me then is no longer the lesson I need to learn. At the end of each day’s reading, I consider the ‘Question to Ponder On’ and not how my responses to the questions are vastly different in this third round. This spoke to me, so I decided to write about noticing growth over the Christian journey.
We often feel like we’re stagnant in our faith, at least I do. In some ways, I’m fine with it my level of faith, but in other ways, I notice that others are more certain, more trusting, more convicted and seemingly hear God’s voice in the way I never have. If you have felt like I have, then this message is for you. Note your growth in the little things, this is a journey but not a race. You’re not competing with anyone. You’re being grown; lovingly and perhaps slowly, but you are growing.
As I re-read this book, I have noted particular evidence of growth often overlooked- Change in Motives.
The phrase ‘God looks at the heart’ is often repeated in Christian space. Yet its often uttered in a way that suggests God looks who you are inside as opposed to physical traits or refers to God looking at one’s reasons for doing something like charity. All these are correct. But recently, I became conscious of how the reasons for my praying for something matters and determines the maturity of the Christian’s request. For instance, when a lot of us pray for prosperity what drives our desire for it? It’s not a bad thing but unless we are asking for it with a motive that gives glory to God then our motives are selfish.
Another example on considering motives; On several occasions I have left a church service sad and unimpressed, saying that I felt nothing, likely heard little because of my hearing impairment and so got little out of it. This has often been an excuse for me to stay home and not go to church, I might as well try to get a connection in my own room I’d say. This shows my primary motive for going to church was not to worship God – as should be. My primary motive was myself, going to refill myself with the ‘feeling’ I’d hoped for. And while that is not a bad thing, it shouldn’t have been the primary thing.
I’m appreciating this ‘checkpoint’. It forces me to check why I want something so bad, defend my desires and let me tell you, my prayer often sound like a court brief prepared by a lawyer. It is an amazing feeling to know how you may have the same desires but the reasons you want them now are different…
In what ways have you noted your growth? What checkpoints have you come along in your Christian journey?
I’d love to hear from you!