The Cycle of Spiritual Growth

John 14:21 – He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

A life of obedience is not primarily a life of restrictions; its joy in the presence of God (Jn 14:21). His presence is so delightful that all other interests fall short in comparison. Why would we distance ourselves from our truest joy in Jesus? Idols. We believe their lies and give our hearts to them.

However, John 14:21 is the open secret to the Christian life.  Within this verse are three cyclical steps to experiencing God in your life.

Step 1 – Love Jesus with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength because he loved you and gave himself for you (Matthew 22:37, Galatians 2:20).

Step 2 – Jesus says that the person that loves Him keeps His commandments

Step 3 – The person that keeps His commandments will experience more intimate fellowship with Him (“I will manifest myself to Him”).

But it doesn’t stop there. What do you think will happen when you get to know Christ more intimately?  You will love Jesus more, then that love will compel you to obey him further, and then God will reveal more of himself to you.

So the cycle is endless—The better you know Him, the more you love him; the more you love him, the more you will want to please him by being obedient to His Word; and the more you obey him, the more intimate your knowledge of Him will become.

A missionary translator was endeavoring to find a word for “obedience” in the native language. This was a virtue seldom practiced among the people into whose language he wanted to translate the New Testament. As he returned home from the village one day, he whistled for his dog and it came running at full speed. An old native, seeing this, said admiringly in the native tongue. “Your dog is all ear.” Immediately the missionary knew he had his word for obedience.

Live to complete everything that forms part of a relationship of obedience to God.

Why do we balk at the obedient life? Because obedience is a choice that is counter-cultural to our American values.  We prize practical rationalities and material comforts over a life of obedience!  We can’t imagine a life of obedience because we are afraid of losing our independence. Today we seek what is most convenient and comfortable, because a loving God would never make Christianity inconvenient, right?  Christianity will be inconvenient for you and me just as saving us was inconvenient for him.  Despite the inconvenience, choose to follow the steps in the cycle of spiritual growth.  You can grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and glorify him by making the choice to live in loving obedience to Christ.


Daily Reading: John 14:15-31

Bible Reading Challenge: 21 Days of Love

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