Posted: 02 Jul 2014 08:10 AM PDT
Normally, the outdoorsy image of choice for spiritual growth is mountain climbing. You know how it is: new Christian at the bottom of the mountain, mature Christian near the top. I want to take you a different way…so let’s go spelunking!
Spelunking is cave exploration, and it’s my suggestion for another way to think about spiritual growth. Instead of thinking of growth in Christ as a climb up a mountain, let’s think of it as a trip down into a cave. Where a mountain climbing expedition gets higher and higher (and as Christians we might be tempted to think, better and better–however we define “better”), a caving exploration goes deeper and deeper, exploring the undiscovered depths. Spiritual growth is not about climbing a mountain, getting better, and therefore needing Christ less and less. Spiritual growth is about discovering more and bigger caverns of need into which more and more of Christ’s grace can flow. We think spiritual growth is about height, when spiritual growth is about width. We think it’s about the heights we’ve attained when, in truth, it’s about the breadth of our need.
True growth as a Christian involves recognizing that there is always another cavern to explore. There’s always another crevasse of self-centeredness, or stalactite of jealousy. The light of Jesus shines into deeper and darker corners and proclaims, “Yes, I can save this too.” True growth as a Christian means realizing that all the climbing we need to do is down into the depths.
We hear, “For God so loved the world that we gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him may not perish but have eternal life,” and we think “Got it! Simple! What’s the next thing? What’s the deeper teaching? How do I start climbing the mountain of a life following Jesus?” The Bible answers, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation.” It is this milk, the simplicity of the Gospel message, that grows us into a deeper awareness of our desperation and therefore a deeper awareness of our deliverance. That’s Christian growth.
“There is no pit so deep, but Christ is deeper Still.”