Isaiah 57:14–15; 61:1–3; John 1:35–37
Imagine a dog in an open field hooked to a long leash that is tethered to a post hammered deep into the ground. The dog can walk or run until it reaches the end of its rope. Then if it continues to run and pull harder to move forward, it exhausts itself by running in circles and digging deeper and deeper ruts. Our spiritual journeys often look much like this.
As a pastor for twenty years I have focused on spiritual health and growth. I have a passion to see people become all God created them to be. In those twenty years, I’ve enjoyed nothing more than helping people experience the things we read in Isaiah 61:
- knowledge of the good news of Jesus Christ and the love of God;
- healing of a broken heart;
- freedom and light;
- comfort, joy, passion, and empowerment;
- being grounded yet knowing adventure;
- salvation and right relationships (with God and others); and
- restoration and justice.
This is what Jesus said he came to give us, but so many are living a tethered, exhausting existence.
We grow and move forward, sometimes with great speed, and then—BAM!—something chokes us and keeps us stuck in one spot. The typical advice from church leaders or spiritual friends is to read the Bible more, pray more, or go to more church activities and events. But, typically, this leads to fatigue and frustration from running in circles and digging ruts in our spiritual lives with no forward movement. Then we just sit down and settle for something far less than the abundant life Jesus told us he came to give us.
Jesus asked two of his disciples just as they began following him, “What are you seeking?” (John 1:38). He asks each of us as well. Do you want to grow spiritually and experience more of the abundant life God has purposed for you? If so, then this study will help you overcome common obstacles that prevent us from experiencing healing, joy, spiritual maturity, and divine power to impact the world for Jesus Christ.
Commit to spending the time necessary to allow God to work through this study. Take ten minutes or less to read the daily Scriptures and devotional. Then devote a couple of five-minute periods during your day to pray contemplatively or to complete the short exercise. Finally, commit to sharing with your group or a spiritual friend what God is doing in you through this study.
Do you hunger for more—more from life, more from yourself, more from God? So many people in our churches have not regularly experienced good news, comfort, wholeness, freedom, joyous energy, or beauty. So many have stalled in becoming who God intends them to be. Perhaps you, those you love, or those you lead feel this way. The Experience: Breaking Through the Barriers That Block Spiritual Growth is a short tool that provides a clear map of the abundant living journey, the obstacles that prevent progress, and offers fresh fuel for moving forward once again. Get it from our store here.
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