Monday, March 31, 2008

Spiritual Puberty

I wonder sometimes, who is reading my blog? Maybe I should send the link to more people? Maybe less? Well, perhaps the title of this entry will create some curiosity. I was reunited the other day with a sermon I came across a few years ago that in many ways changed my life:

1) It launched me into a journey through the book of Romans, now my favorite book in the Bible, and “The Great Eight”, which is perhaps the most amazing chapter ever written in the history of the world.

2) It introduced me to and got me excited about doctrines such as the perseverance of the saints, assurance of salvation, effectual calling, covenant love, and the nature of conversion.

3) It exposed me more deeply to the ministry of John Piper, who among other things, opened my mind and my heart and my life to missions, an unwasted life, radical, risk-taking Christianity, and the balance of timeless truth with timely ministry.

But most importantly it began in me, and revealed to me, the reality that I was experiencing spiritual puberty. Please let me explain. I wrote the following sometime in 2005:

“What do you do, when you know your life is being changed, even turned upside down, and all you can do is watch it happen? You go about your everyday life, going to work, listening to the music, like everything is normal, but you know something big is happening. It’s a pleasant change, maybe; you’re not sure. Like puberty perhaps, you want it to happen, you know it’s supposed to happen; it’s just a little uncomfortable. And you don’t know when it’s going to be over. Will it ever be over? This season in my Christian life, will it end? And where will I be and what will I look like on the other side?

"Well, a strange analogy, but a descriptive one nonetheless. I’m 24 years old, almost 25, I’m 3 years old in my faith, almost four, I’m single, living on my own, working for a living, and I’m going through spiritual puberty. And it’s weird. I’m learning things about my spiritual condition that I never could have begun to fathom were remotely true. And I’m having revealed to me things about my
conversion and spiritual experience that while I knew had happened, I could never really explain before. Silly of me to think I could articulate how I came out of the womb. And shame on me for thinking I had anything to do with it.

"My relational time with people is minimal allowing me to seek God more than ever. I’ve experienced loss and pain and challenge in a single year’s time that while excruciatingly difficult at times, has stretched my faith beyond measure. I’m at a point of stability in my professional and home life that is as equally scary and unpredictable as if I were living on the street, unemployed. During the day, I give my head and my energy to my job, struggling to be effective professionally and spiritually, but am constantly humbled to see God use me for His kingdom in subtle ways, and for the company in similar ways.

"I consider myself a patient person but then see in unbearable detail my impatience and disobedience and sin, and how it affects more than just myself. My place in work, my place at church, and my place having a family, while all unclear, are so perfectly in the hands of God, and my plans and ideas and hopes are futile compared to the unshakable plan of God and the glorious direction He is leading me.”

I’m reminded of this experience in my life as I reflect on all that God has done for me and through me since 2005, and how He is continually calling me to relentlessly and resiliently seek Him above all else, in clear or uncertain times.

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