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Moving Forward

I am convinced that one of the marks of a rich, relevant, life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ is that spiritual movement moves us forward. Essentially, our heart, soul, mind, and behavior are being transformed into the image of the Christ who we serve. In the Wesleyan tradition, we call this the journey to holiness, and it is the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit that helps us get there.

So often in our culture and 'Christianity,' people seem to want to "Check the Jesus box," meaning that when it comes to issues of religion, they partake in some activity that satisfies their need to claim they are paying duty to God. This faith is like my security alarm system that I thought offered security but wasn't connected to anyone who could help me (See previous blog – Pseudo Security). This kind of faith stagnates our spiritual growth and our Churches – capping worship, hindering mission, and preventing us from becoming and receiving all that God has for us.

Over the past couple of days, I have been pondering some of the catalysts for a spiritual movement that will accelerate us forward on the path of holiness. These three thoughts haven't been fully developed yet, but I am sure I will do so in future blogging excursions.

There are three ways that Spiritual movement happens within people.

1) We are 'pulled' forward.
This is why God gave us each other! Our words, encouragement, and support are crucial to pulling us forward. We need people in our life that can ask questions,
 offer challenges and hold our hand as we take spiritual steps forward. Hebrews 10:24 says, "Let us consider how we can spur one another towards love and good deeds ." Spur, literally translated, means 'to provoke'… it is our role as brothers and sisters in Christ to stand alongside each other and, through loving relationships, 'pull' one another towards Christ-likeness.

2) We are 'bumped' forward.
Being bumped forward is how I am describing how God intervenes in our life to take us from where we are to the next step on the journey to where he wants to take us. This happens typically in the form of an unexpected circumstance, where our life and routine are shaken to the point of us having to decide to move forward. The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, an unexpected bill, a glimpse of truth, a conflict, or an unexpected revelation can all be things that 'bump' us forward in our faith. So often, it is our default, certainly mine, to want to straighten out 'bumps' in the road as soon as possible… but I suspect that bumps in the road can redemptively become launch pads for movement towards the living Christ.

3) We 'stride' forward.
This happens when we choose to continue to move forward on the journey to Jesus Christ by our own will and decision. We proactively choose that we want to let ourselves be transformed into the image of Jesus. Striding forward is filled with faith, trust, and the certain knowledge that there is no life worth living outside of the life that Jesus offers to us. Striding conjures up images of picking ourselves out of the mud that wants to get us stuck and taking bold steps forward. When we stride, we make a daily, determined decision that we will do something this day that will help us see who Jesus is and walk towards him more clearly. This is the most painless way to move forward but undoubtedly the hardest to accomplish because of the ill-discipline that seems to be a default within our human nature.

God desires that we be transformed into his Son's likeness, Jesus (Romans 12:1). I hope that you have relationships with people who can pull you forward in your faith; I pray that when 'bumps' come that they will be springboards for spiritual movements, but most of all that you would choose this day to stride forward towards the King who loves you more than you can imagine and who has immeasurably more for you.

Move forward!

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