On The Path To Spiritual Progress

Posted on April 29, 2019

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On The Path To Spiritual Progress

Job 28:7 says, “There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen: The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.”

The path described in the above scripture is a secret pathway for spiritual progress. The Apostle John, writing to fellow believers said, “I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” What that means in essence is that, your progress cannot be disconnected from your spiritual progress. 

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:9, 10: “. . . eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

There is a spiritual opening of eyes that must take place in order for you to make progress; because until you see it, you cannot own it. If you see with your physical eyes, it will be impossible for you to make progress, and that is a frustrating condition to be in. I pray that as you receive this word, the need for you to progress spiritually will be very clear to you.

Symptoms Of Lack Of Spiritual Progress

Jesus, speaking to the Jews said, “How can I account for this generation? The people have been like spoiled children whining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope, and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk, but you were always too busy.’ John came fasting and they called him crazy. I came feasting and they called me a lush, a friend of the riffraff. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.” Matthew 11:16-19 MSG. This was a picture of the Jews and how God tried to make them progress spiritually, but it did not work.

There are certain signs that if they are constant in your life, it is unlikely that you are making spiritual progress. Some of which are:

  •  Fatigue: if you are always tired physically for a protracted period of time, even after sleep, you are sure not to be making progress spiritually.
  • Busyness: when you are too busy, or you never have time, it is very possible that you are spiritually stagnant. Don’t be like the unfruitful vine that was encumbering the ground in the parable of Jesus in Luke 13:6-9. God expects us to bear fruit because fruitfulness is a sign of spiritual progress. Jeremiah 1 7:7 says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” The man described in this scripture will continue to make spiritual progress because of the spiritual depth he has.
  • A Feeling of Heaviness: A feeling of heaviness is also a sign that you are not making progress spiritually.
  • Shallowness: One of the reasons why people do not make spiritual progress is that they do not have depth in God; they are still operating at the shallow realm. There is a spiritual pathway that is evergreen with God, we need to locate it and stay in it.

Hindrances to Spiritual Progress

Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

This scripture admonishes us to take encouragement from the witnesses around us, and run the race of salvation to the end. Witnesses in this case, are people who have made spiritual progress in the same world that we are. Many of them are recorded in the Hebrews 11 hall of fame. So we have no excuse not to make spiritual progress, because people have done it before.

It also admonishes us to look to Jesus. Looking unto Jesus is to have the revelation of the person of Jesus Christ. It goes beyond head knowledge of who Jesus is, to experiencing His person. He is the lighthouse that we are to focus on when we want to make spiritual progress.

The major hindrances to making spiritual progress include weights and besetting sins.

Weights and Besetting Sins

Weights and besetting sins are some of the impediments that prevent people from making progress spiritually.

Beware of Weights!

  • Weights are mostly external attachments and affiliations that impinge negatively our focus. They are not necessarily sin.
  • The major thing that weights do in our journey to spiritual progress is that they distract us. They make it difficult for us to focus. I have discovered that there are some spiritual dimensions that we cannot get to until we lay aside the weights, because God needs all our attention.
  • Weights include relationships that distract us—marital and others. The solution is to cut off such relationships. However, for marriage relationships, you have to depend on God for help, knowing that there were some great men of God (John Wesley, Apostle Babalola, for example), whose marriages were a disaster, yet they made spiritual progress.  
  • Juicy favors that are inimical to our growth are examples of weights.
  • Business Bondage (Jobs/Career/Businesses). There are some people who can never make spiritual progress with their current job until they drop it. They cannot carry what God is demanding from them now.

To deal with weights you have to painfully lay them down.  Matthew 5:30-31

Weights are to be laid down; you cannot cast out the “spirit of weights” away from you. In order for you to experience spiritual progress; you must trade off some things. In life, you cannot have everything; something must suffer for the other. But we have an assurance in God’s word that if you seek first God’s kingdom, all the other things will be added unto you.

Be warned that if you do not lay down those weights, it will destroy you! When you are not making spiritual progress, you are losing life, and that means death. Death is not instant; the protocol for death happens when you are no longer receiving life. I pray that God will empower your will to make the right choices.

Matthew 5:30-31 presents a metaphoric statement of cutting off body parts that causes one to sin, but God is not saying you should cut of your hand literally. Your hand is part of you, so you cannot cut it off without feeling the pain. That’s how those weights are; they are an integral part of us that we must get rid of in order to make spiritual progress. I pray that God gives us capacity to endure the pain that is required for us to make spiritual progress.

Beware Of Besetting Sin

Besetting sins are habitual sins that are committed almost by default through years of constant practice. They are stronger than the human will. They survive the anointing and shallow levels of consecrations. They lurk in the dark unspoken parts of the believer’s hidden life and grow if unchecked. Please abort them by exposing them to God’s therapeutic light.

James 1:14-15 says “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” You have to spiritually abort every besetting sin in your life. You also need to expose it. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

To deal with a besetting sin, you have to talk about it not only to God, but also to the God-given spiritual authority over life. You can never get full healing if you hide. The causative of many besetting sins are actually wounds that were not healed. And Jesus who is our example showed His wounds to His disciples. Do not be afraid of your wounds. Talk to someone that can hold you by the hand and lead you out of it.  You cannot deal with besetting sins on your own. You must get help.

The Way Forward

The way forward in making spiritual progress is encapsulated in this plea made by Jesus. He said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

Quit Religion

Religion is tiring, it is frustrating and it wears people out. The Pharisees were burned out on religion, but when the Lord who has the pathway for them to make spiritual progress showed up, religion blinded their eyes. May God remove the veil of religion from our eyes in the name of Jesus; and may He help us to connect to Christ.

God has called us to Christ, not religion. We have been called into a kingdom, not a denomination or an empire. And until we come into Christ, we will experience all these burn-outs. Remember, the Bible says, “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. . .”, and that happens only with Christ.

Get Away With Christ and Recover Your Life

Are you getting away with Jesus? I read an article that says “Holidays are Holy Days”. In order words, every holiday is an opportunity to meet with Christ. When you get away with Christ even with a little strength, you can recover all. When you are not following the path to spiritual progress, you are bound to suffer loses and colossal damages to your spirit, soul, and body.

 Jesus said, “Walk with me and walk with me. Watch how I do it”. You have to leave the realms of knowing Jesus in your head, to having an experience with His reality. Move from the realm of intellectual excitement by the preacher, to the realms of encounters with Christ. If you do not, when the issues of life show up, you will find out that you have nothing to fight with.

Learn the unforced rhythm of grace and I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

There is no formula to it. The unforced rhythms of grace come through the help of the Holy Spirit,

Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. You cannot be light-weight when you are carrying a load that you are not supposed to carry. Come to Jesus with your weariness and heavy loads, He will give you rest. I pray that the Lord will open our eyes to understand the unforced rhythms of grace, so that we can make spiritual progress.

Sacrifice

Spiritual progress begins with sacrifice. If you are so concerned about ease, comfort, and being among that Jones, you will find it difficult to make spiritual progress. If you always want to be likeable and be in everybody’s good book, you cannot make spiritual progress. That is because on some spiritual pathways that God would be leading you, there would always be naysayers and those that would oppose you. 

Satan will resist you, the culture around will oppose you; even brethren who do not understand will fight you; but those are the prizes for making spiritual progress. As Jesus made spiritual progress, His influence began to grow such that He became a threat to the Pharisees and the religious leaders, and they came at Him; they wanted to kill Him.

Courage

To make spiritual progress, you need courage. You cannot have depth until you separate yourself and stay with Jesus. Your identity is too important to winning the battle. The Bible says we should endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ. You cannot make spiritual progress if you are always dodging the difficult things, like fasting.

The Bible days they that know their God shall be strong and do exploits. If you have Jesus but don’t know Him, you cannot do exploits! You better know this God that you are called by His name. The Church of God is supposed to be a barrack where men and children are trained to develop courage. You learn to pray by praying; you learn to be courageous by being courageous! We must enforce our kingdom rights; we must not take “no” for an answer from the devil. And this cannot happen unless our minds have been transformed.

Mind Transformation

A man of God once said, “The biggest quarrel God has with sinners is that they do not bear His life, but the greatest quarrel God has with those who bear His life is that they are not transformed in their minds and therefore do not understand His will.”

Romans 12:2 says, “. . . And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God . . .” Until our minds are transformed, we cannot understand the will of God. That is why we need to constantly renew our minds with His word and His Spirit. The will of God is an eternal counsel; it has been even before the world began, so we cannot comprehend it with our senses. We have to be in tune with the Holy Spirit in order to attain it.

Encounters with God

Spiritual progress is not a function of how long you have been in church or how well you are climbing the organizational structure in your church. The function of spiritual progress is the amount of encounters you have had with God and His Spirit. So if you have been in the Lord for thirty years and have not had another encounter with God after your salvation encounter, you have not made spiritual progress. Someone who got saved today and has twelve other encounters with God has made more spiritual progress than you.

I pray that you would begin to have more encounters with the Spirit of the living God, for they determine your spiritual progress.

Consistency

One of the pathways to spiritual progress is consistency—in season and out of season—whether you feel like it or not. Whether you feel like praying or not, you pray! Let nobody deceive you, we are in a warfare and it is spiritual; we do not contend with flesh and blood. The pathway to spiritual progress is not a journey of just following your senses, it is a spiritual walk. If you go into it with the arm of flesh, you have killed yourself even before you started. It is a pathway that you cannot survive on your own.

Some people have been waiting for some of us to get tired of being born again, but we cannot, because we are constantly dependent on the Spirit of God. It is not of he that willeth, neither of him that runneth, it is of the Lord that showed mercy. When we are getting to the breaking point, the Spirit of God refreshes us.

Many Christians are like the fearful soldier who turns back in the day of battle—well-kitted but without action. That is why the necessity of being in a righteous company comes in, they will encourage you.

Belong To a Righteous Company

Being part of a righteous company gives you motivation to do things you cannot do alone. If you struggle to pray or to study the Bible, join a group of people who do it. After a while, it would rub off on you. You are an average of the five people you spend most of your time with. So ask yourself: who are the five people I spend my life with the most, and then check their life against yours.  These are the realities of making spiritual progress.

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