2 Peter 3:17-18
17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.
Have you ever been in a spiritual rut? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt like my growth has slowed or stopped completely – you know God is there and it’s not like you aren’t a Christian anymore but you aren’t experiencing any movement – you’re just stuck in the same spot. It can be a very frustrating place to be and requires some faith on our part; faith that God hasn’t abandoned us; faith that He has started a good work in us and will bring it to completion; faith that we have a purpose.
But after a little while just leaning on faith isn’t enough – because eventually being stuck can turn into going through the motions – and that’s just existing (and miserable for me!). Recently I’ve really struggled with growth and understanding what was holding me back. Having a desire to grow and take the next step is usually the hard part for a lot people – I had the desire but couldn’t quite make it over the hurdle. During my quiet time one morning I read these verses and the Spirit really used it to reveal something to me. Wanting to grow is great – it’s what we’re called to (verse 18). But you can’t grow if you aren’t on your guard. I really had to take a look at my life and evaluate where I wasn’t on guard so that I could take the next step in growth.
Maybe this is a foreign concept to you – guarding yourself, but all throughout scripture God calls us to guard our hearts and be on the lookout for the enemy, who’s hunting us! I think about guarding myself like protection and fortification– I want to go to the next level and can’t if I’m consistently taking two steps back or have no way of deflecting attack. Guarding requires identifying your weak spots and putting armor on them. Here are a few things that help me:
- Where do I fall most often? Is there a stronghold in my life? What is it? Identify it.
- Find out where and when and how you get to the point of falling or where a stronghold lives in your daily life. It could be as simple as not responding to the Spirit when He moves you during worship. How’s your thought life – are you negative or speaking death?
- Where are the weak spots? This is going to help you identify
- What are some things you can do to prevent yourself from getting to that place in the natural?
- Do you need to change the music you’re listening to? The people you spend most of your time with? The places you go?
- Find as much scripture and reading material as you can on the weak spots. Learn what other people use to fortify themselves. Have scripture memorized so when temptation comes you’re ready with the sword and can fight back.
Growing is going to be difficult if you aren’t on guard – because you’ll get “carried away” by other things. God longs for us to be close to Him – sometimes that means sacrificing things that we may enjoy so we can be closer, often times it means getting rid of ourselves (laying down our pride, selfishness – basically our flesh) and being filled with spirit. Where’s your guard? Have you laid it down for a while? I challenge you to do a perimeter check – where have you let your guard down?