Sermon quotes on spiritual growth
Augustine of Hippo
Before God can deliver us we must undeceive ourselves.
Christians are like manure: spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly.
The fatal metaphor of progress, which means leaving things behind us, has utterly obscured the real idea of growth, which means leaving things inside us.
Do not think that nothing is happening because you do not see yourself grow, or hear the whirr of the machinery. All great things grow noiselessly. You can see a mushroom grow, but never a child.
If the amount of energy lost in trying to grow were spent in fulfilling rather the conditions of growth, we should have many more cubits to show for our stature.
Sinclair B. Ferguson
Too often we fail to appreciate that (the) apprehension of God is not only the test of our worship, but also the test of our spiritual growth. A Christian’s real development in spiritual life will always be revealed by how he or she thinks about God – how much he thinks about Him, and how highly he thinks about Him
Sinclair B. Ferguson
Spiritual growth depends on two things: first a willingness to live according to the Word of God; second, a willingness to take whatever consequences emerge as a result.
Your prayer for someone may or may not change them, but it always changes YOU.
The very fact that we find it hard to conceive of an alternative to limitless economic growth is an indication of our spiritual condition.
All growth that is not toward God is growing to decay.
Only the poor in spirit can be humble. How often the experience, growth, and progress of a Christian become such precious matters to him that he loses his lowliness.
John Henry Newman
Growth is the only evidence of life.
The Christian who has stopped repenting has stopped growing.
Adversity is not simply a tool. It is God’s most effective tool for the advancement of our spiritual lives. The circumstances and events that we see as setbacks are oftentimes the very things that launch us into periods of intense spiritual growth. Once we begin to understand this, and accept it as a spiritual fact of life, adversity becomes easier to bear.
There is no growth without change, no change without fear or loss and no loss without pain.
The right manner of growth is to grow less in one’s own eyes.
External manifestation of “Christlikeness” is not, however, the focus of the process; and when it is made the main emphasis, the process will certainly be defeated, falling into deadening legalisms and pointless parochialism. That is what has happened so often in the past, and this fact is a major barrier to wholeheartedly embracing Christian spiritual formation in the present.
That Christ be formed within you,” is the eternal watchword of Christian spiritual formation (Galatians 4:19, PAR).
”My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”
Robert Mulholland Jr.
We are being shaped into either the wholeness of the image of Christ or a horrible destructive caricature of that image—destructive not only to ourselves but also to others, for we inflict our brokenness upon them. This wholeness or destructiveness radically conditions our relationship with God, ourselves and others, as well as our involvement in the dehumanizing structures of the broken world around us. We become either agents of God’s healing and liberating grace or carriers of the sickness of the world.
Invitation to a Journey: A Road Map for Spiritual Formation, InterVarsity Press
I can stick artificial flowers on this tree that will not flower; or I can create the conditions in which the tree is likely to flower naturally. I may have to wait longer for my real flowers; but they are the only true ones.
A major problem with a preoccupation with my individual development is that it provides no intrinsic value ‘for you,’ except as an environment for my growth,”
Our problem with following Jesus is we’re trying to be a better version of us, rather than a more accurate reflection of Him.
There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.
According to Father Thomas Keating—a Cistercian monk—at the time of conversion we orient our lives by the question, “What can I do for God?” Seems appropriate, right? But when we begin the spiritual journey our life is dramatically altered toward the question, “What can God do for me?” This isn’t a narcissistic, exploitative question toward a disempowered God. It’s the exact opposite. This is the central question of a humble person who has awakened to their true self and to the awe-inspiring adoration of an extraordinary God.
The battle is won in the secret places of the will before God, never first in the external world… Nothing has power over the [person] who has fought out the battle before God and won there.
Quoted in Francis Chan, Bill Hybels, and Eugene Peterson, The Road We Must Travel: A Personal Guide For Your Journey (Worthy, 2014)
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