3 Things You Must Give Up if You Want To Grow
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it,” once wrote Henry David Thoreau.
In terms of being successful in life, John Maxwell refers to Thoreau’s thought as “the law of trade-offs.” In other words you have to give up to grow up.
This principle rings true in the area of spiritual growth. We want to think about 3 things you need to give up if you want to grow.
#1 Excuses. “The easiest way to avoid something is to make up an excuse for it,” observed writer and blogger Alex Filipovic. We all do it occasionally. Some people do it habitually. And they do it to their own spiritual peril.
Jesus once told a parable about a great banquet to which people had been invited. They accepted the invitation, preparations had been made, but when the time came they began to make excuses. One said, I’ve purchased some property and need to see it. Another claimed he’d bought some oxen and needed to examine them. And a third begged off because he had recently married.
Jesus compares these flimsy, frivolous excuses to those who ignore the King’s invitation to come to Kingdom Banquet.
Someone might say, “I’ve accepted the invitation. I’m a Christian. I go to church every Sunday.” Yes, but are you feasting on the Word? Are you participating in the banquet? Are you partaking of the spiritual feast to aid your growth? Not just on Sunday, but every day of the week?
Can you imagine attending a sumptuous banquet feast, but sitting at the table and not eating? That’s why some Christians are not growing, because they’re not imbibing the spiritual nourishment available. And why? O, there are many excuses for lack of growth.
“I don’t have time.”
“There are hypocrites in the church holding me back.”
“The preaching is poor.”
“The Shepherds aren’t leading.”
“The church is small.”
“People aren’t friendly.”
“I don’t know how.”
All of these and more are excuses. And as Billy Sunday once defined it, an excuse is “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”
#2 Bad Habits. To grow spiritually, the Bible says, there are some things that we need to “put off” that will hinder our spiritual progress. Paul penned, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5).
Are you holding on to habits from the past? Are there some attitudes and thinking patterns that are hampering your growth? Are there some behaviors that are curbing your desire for things spiritual?
As Sean Covey observed, “We become what we repeatedly do.” Is what you’re doing on a daily basis holding you back from becoming what Christ called you to be?
#3 Toxic Relationships. An unhealthy relationship may belittle your beliefs, sabotage your faith, or just try to make you feel guilty for pursuing spiritual growth.
The Bible warns, “Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Cor. 15:33).
The wise man warned his son to avoid sinners who will entice you to engage in ungodly activities (Prov. 1:10-19).
Jesus even said that following Him may require giving up close relationships in our own family. Maybe a father, or mother, or brother or sister, or son or daughter (Matt. 10:34-39). In fact, he said that your enemies may even be from your own household.
People who fail to support your spiritual growth, and even stymie your discipleship, must either be eliminated from your life, or kept at a healthy distance.
Regardless of where you are on your spiritual journey, you can begin now to grow. As Carl Bard observed, “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, my friend, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
But remember, if you want to grow up, there are some things you must give up.