Monday, January 16, 2017

Daily Devotional January 16 - Nine Stages Of Spiritual Growth - Stage 1 - Called

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."  1 Timothy 2:1-4
There are nine stages of growth.

  1. Called - Searching for God
  2. Washed - Found the Saviour 
  3. Strengthened - Studying the Word 
  4. Prepared - Adhering to the truths learned in scripture and looking ahead to see what God is going to do with you
  5. Filled - At the crossroads of decision to never turn back
  6. Empowered - Ready for specific service
  7. Inspired - Continually following the leading of the Holy Spirit
  8. Authorized - Ample biblical knowledge to be trusted to make the right decisions under pressure 
  9. Anointed - God and man cooperating in will and purpose

These nine stages of growth are real points in time that can be marked by day and time, but they are also landmarks in time that overlap one another and weave in and out like a weavers knot.  The order of these nine stages of growth are for the purpose of learning practical truths from scripture, truth upon truth, line upon line, precept upon precept, in hopes that you will learn to desire the natural sequence of development that God ordained for you.

To jump ahead of the perfect balance of life that God has designed puts you in a place where you have no power or authority. 
To be ahead of God's intended plan only brings uncertainty and discouragement, doubt and pretense.

Just the same, to fall behind and crawl through life, uninspired and unmoved by God makes you feel unworthy. Low self esteem and depression are signs of falling behind where God wants you to be. Irritability, fault finding, an argumentative spirit, irresponsibility and disrespect are some of the signs of falling behind where God wants His people.

Jumping ahead of what God has ordained and falling behind what God ordained, both keep you out of alignment with God's plan for His people.

Each of the nine stages of development builds upon another and another upon another to take you from where you are to a place closer than you have ever been before, not only to God, but to understanding and developing your own personal experiences under the light of God's plan for your life.

There is much discussion about who is able to apprehend the truths of God. You will find that this writer believes that each and every individual is created to receive all that God has prepared for them. There are those who cannot, for whatever reason, (physiological or mental), those chemically imbalanced or mentally incapacitated), receive and respond to God's call.  God has provided grace for all those who cannot, of their own volition, move toward God; the unborn destroyed in the womb, babies that die an untimely death and those who cannot comprehend. But for you and I, who have been enabled to act upon our own will - we have a duty and a responsibility to God, to not only participate in His plan, but to have a deep residing understanding of His plan.

Not everyone wants to grow in Christ, but if you are one that has found God, but now you want more of God, you will enjoy every word of this treatise.  This is a discussion of the process that God takes you through, precept upon precept, faith to faith, glory to glory to make you more like Christ."

Preparing for the Anointing
The first stage of growth in the quest for fulfilling God's call in our life is to be Called.
There are two kinds of calling:
One is the call to every man, woman and child to come to a personal faith in Jesus Christ.  And the other is our calling in life, that vocation or talent or skill that God has nurtured and advanced us in, to set us apart for the furtherance of the gospel.
The first calling is for our soul to be united with Christ.  And the other calling is our calling in life, that vocation or talent or skill that God allows us to be in or work in, while we are fulfilling our calling in Christ.
Of the two callings: the call to a personal faith in Jesus Christ and the call to use our talent and skills in a specific vocation - this study is primarily concerned with God's call for you and I to come to a personal faith in Christ.
It is important to understand that God calls us. First of all, when we understand that God calls us, we understand that God communicates with us. And it is this beginning of communication through His calling that each of us find our way to the cross.  The Holy Spirit is guiding each new believer to the cross to meet Jesus. Without this first contact, without hearing the call of God to recognize our condition as a sinner and to turn from the direction we are in and head back toward God, we will never have spiritual ears to hear as God guides us through the rest of our life.
You may not think about it very much, but when God calls you, and you accept God's call, God sets in order a plethora of events that change your life forever.  God's call is the beginning of a relationship with God. Our relationship prior to the call was one of questions and doubt, because we were searching for a spiritual God using carnal devices, our natural senses absent of the influence of the Holy Spirit , our natural understanding apart from faith.  But once God calls a man, a woman or a child, God sets in order every provision necessary for us to accept His call and become and heir and joint heir with Christ of all things pertaining to godliness.
There are those who think that when they are saved that God does not impart His holiness into them and that it doesn't matter much whether or not they live a life that reflects the experience of having the God of the universe come to make His home inside of their being. I am not one of them.  I believe the scriptures and the scriptures are clear - that when God calls and we answer, there is a marvelous transformation from one way of being to another.
If we are called are we compelled to accept?  No. The bible says in Matthew 22:14 at the end of the parable of the marriage feast, "For many are called, but few are chosen."  Catch this: If you know the story of the marriage feast, you know that those who were chosen are those who came. No one who came when they were called were turned away, but not everyone who was called answered the call.
Why did God do it this way? Because God wanted to make sure that you and I would always understand that God is the initiator of everything.  God is the initiator of thought, feelings, creation and life. Every physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual response that you have is response to what God created to prove the existence of God and to nurture your relationship with God. Every call from God to man is a signature of His love toward us. Without it, we would wander in vain exploring the endless array of invalid philosophies. And at the end of a lifetime of unfulfilled experiences, there would be no solace, no contentment, no answers.

I want you to sense with me, that the call that you received to accept God's call to become a Son of God is not like any other call, not like any other experience and not to be compared with anything.  The call from God is the first step of many in the life that God has prepared for those who love Him. 
Why do so many Christians think that the call of God was owed to them? Many act like they are doing God a favor by accepting and receiving God's infinite supply of His creation and Himself. 
  • You must unlearn any thought that you have ever entertained that made light of so great a salvation.  
  • You must unlearn any idea or concept that equates the gift of God with the empty promises of false religions and vain philosophies.
  • You must unlearn whatever keeps you from seeing how precious the call of God was to you.
When God uttered the words to you, "come," it was the beginning of unexplainable life.  The life that God called us to is often misunderstood, but even with a cursory look at the Word of God, a deep meaning can easily be discovered.  You were called with a holy calling. And even though you might not understand why everyone doesn't answer the call of God, you should rest assured that God in His infinite wisdom has made the right choice in calling you.  Forever give up the idea that you have to know why there are so many religions, so many philosophies, so many lost.  You were called and because of that calling, you can trust that God has not abandoned or ignored any race, any creed, any hemisphere, any anyone. God is no respecter of persons. God is far more interested in the salvation of the lost than you and I are.

If you could trust that God knows what He is doing - If you could get beyond trying to figure out the hidden mysteries and stick with what God has ordained to be revealed - you would then be working in cooperation with God and doing what God called you into; Seeking Him further, sharing the gospel and giving your testimony.  The call of God is precious and full of power.  Within the same breath of God that called us out, God called the worlds into existence.  You must start your journey into the depths of God's great provision for your personal and collective development with awe and reverence.
The way we enter into a relationship is often how we come out of that relationship.
Would you to take time this week to recognize the significance of your salvation.  Take some prime time to evaluate your life. Let that evaluation determine if you have allowed God to fully develop your understanding of what you have been called to.  God called while you were searching.  When you and I accepted the call from God to become a child of God, God washed us.  Tomorrow let's look at the second stage of spiritual growth, washed.

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