2 Corinthians 1:24
But that does not mean we want to dominate you by telling you how to put your faith into practice. We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm. (New Living Translation)
Is your development arrested?
Arrested development is an abnormal state in which maturity has stopped prematurely.[i] In the normal maturation process, there are age-related tasks and fundamental achievements that a person should accomplish at each stage of life. Successful attainment, at each stage, leads to a healthy self-image and success with later tasks. Failure to achieve the tasks at one stage leads to unhappiness in the individual, disapproval of society, and difficulty in accomplishing later developmental tasks.[ii]
This is also true for you as you develop in the Lord. There are experiences or tasks that come at or near critical stages in your spiritual maturity. Events happen designed for you to learn who God is in your life.
Hebrews 5:12-14 By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong. (The Message MSG)
The Holy Spirit will keep you from stagnation in your development if you allow Him to.
Deuteronomy 13:4 You are to follow only God, your God, hold him in deep reverence, keep his commandments, listen obediently to what he says, serve him—hold on to him for dear life! (The Message MSG)
However, when you seek the approval of man, you release control over your growth to someone other than God. Like the children of Israel, you set a king over your life. You may not have chosen the king because you want to be like everybody else. Maybe you chose the king because influences and pressures made you think that was the right thing to do. Maybe you chose the king because you felt it would be better for your pastor, mentor, coach, or someone who is more spiritually mature than you to give you guidance. It is a good thing to have someone to help you process your thoughts and get input from. However, your final instruction on all things should come from the Lord.
1 John 2:27 But as for you, the anointing (the sacred appointment, the unction) which you received from Him abides [permanently] in you; [so] then you have no need that anyone should instruct you. But just as His anointing teaches you concerning everything and is true and is no falsehood, so you must abide in (live in, never depart from) Him [being rooted in Him, knit to Him], just as [His anointing] has taught you [to do]. (Amplified Bible, Classic Edition AMPC)
When you place someone between you and the Lord, when you choose a king, this what happens?
- Your king will take your inheritance from the Lord and use it for his benefit, diminishing your ability to progress in your fight against the enemy (1 Samuel 8:11).
- Your king will put you in forced labor, working for her dreams, vision and goals, leaving you with no time to work on your own (1 Samuel 8:12).
- Your king will treat your children worse than he is treating you (1 Samuel 8:13).
- Your king will profit from the gifts and talents God has given you to create wealth and leave you without wealth (1 Samuel 8:14).
- Your king will charge you for the benefit of using the resources you helped her establish (1 Samuel 8:15).
- Your king with take credit for your work and use it for his benefit as if it is his own (1 Samuel 8:16).
- You king will make it, so you end up no better than a slave (1 Samuel 8:17).
- Your king will treat you so harshly that you will finally cry out to the Lord for deliverance (1 Samuel 8:18).
The children of Israel were told when they cried out, the Lord would not answer them “on that day” because they rejected Him as King. The person you choose to make your king, instead of God, may handle you this way deliberately or without thought. However, these consequences result from your choice. Because of these consequences, you will not grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because of the arrested development in your spiritual life. You need to experience God for yourself and learn from healthy interactions with Him and others as He desired. As you make mistakes and celebrate your victories, you create a relationship with the Lord. Though the Lord will not deliver you on the same day you cry out, He will deliver you.
Colossians 1:9-10 Since the day we got this good news about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We ask: Father, may they clearly know Your will and achieve the height and depth of spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 May their lives be a credit to You, Lord; and what’s more, may they continue to delight You by doing every good work and growing in the true knowledge that comes from being close to You. (The Voice TVT)
You want people in your life who will lead and counsel, not control. Those who will rejoice when you rejoice, weep when you weep and be with you every step of the way.
Hebrews 6:1 So come on, let’s leave the preschool finger-painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; (The Message MSG)
Please agree with me as I pray:
Father, I thank You for the strength to depend on You for guidance. You know, my dad raised me to trust him as my pastor and to trust those he placed in my life to guide me. I was a daddy’s girl and a babe. I was alright with that. I thought it was a good thing. As I grew up in You, I did not agree with everything I was told. I apologized more and more and tried to conform to what I was being told, almost commanded to do. Now I know, my reluctance was not because I was not sure if what I was being told was true; it was because I did not know for myself. I repent for not recognizing You were calling me to a deeper place in You. As I continued to grow, I faced that same struggle. Was I willing to be called rebellious, brash, etc.? Sometimes what I wanted to do was right and sometimes I was wrong. Was I going to listen to the king I placed in control or seek You for myself? So many times, I listen to and obeyed the king because I was not sure if I was right and it was hard to break free. Thank You for Jesus. Because He was continually interceding for me, it was no longer just You reaching for me. I reached for You at a deeper level. You broke me free. Thank You! Now I had to deal with feeling alone, feeling wrong, and thinking I had to have a church home and a pastor if I was truly a Christian. I would select another king and You would have to break me free, over and over until I finally got it. I learned, and I am continuing to learn, who You are and who You have to be in my life. I repent choosing kings, for giving them control, and especially for the messes I made for them and for me. Now I understand why you required me to go back and apologize to each of them. You taught me where I made mistakes and cleaned me up, as well as my messes. I grew. I am Your sheep, and I hear Your voice and follow You. Today I weep because I realize I did not have to go through all that. I just needed to cultivate my relationship with You…
Ask the Lord what He wants to say to you about today’s devotional and journal His response as described here.