Raise your hand if you feel stagnant in your spiritual growth. Yes, I know I can’t see your hand, but go ahead and do it. Sometimes the first step toward reigniting the growth process is to actively and consciously admit where we stand right now.
Now, raise your hand if you are mentoring someone spiritually, either formally or informally. Not sure? Think about it this way: Does anyone come to you with their spiritual questions? If so, the answer is yes. If not, then I would encourage you to ask yourself why not.
And now, allow me to appear to momentarily digress.
I love watching children of multiple ages interacting. My second child arrived when my firstborn was just a few months past her second birthday. Even at two, she helped me so much as I took care of a newborn. The helpfulness continued as the girls grew older, the manner of help maturing along the way.
When I began teaching my oldest the letters of the alphabet and their sounds, she struggled to grasp sounds and blends for the first little while. Then one day, I walked into the girls’ play area and found Big Sis teaching three-year-old Little Sis the sounds as they played. Big Sis never had trouble again. Other concepts followed. Later, both girls taught their little brother in the same way. He knew the basics of addition and subtraction long before I had any inclination toward beginning school with him. Math facts ceased to overwhelm my oldest because her younger brother and sister thought it fun to have her drill them. Teaching and learning became just another aspect of their daily interaction, as natural as play.
Now I watch all three of my children interact with friends outside our immediate family in the same way. I love to silently observe them as they teach and care for younger children, sometimes without even realizing they are doing anything other than enjoying the company of the little ones. They cannot help but mature and grow in knowledge themselves as they pour what they know into the minds of younger children, always seeking to learn more for the sake of passing along newfound wonders.
This thought brings me back to the original concept of mentoring. The awesome thing about mentoring is that the mentee begins to crave the knowledge and maturity of the mentor. He starts to ask questions. He starts to seek growth. Sometimes he asks questions that even the mentor has never stopped to consider.
Such a thing happened to me recently. A new believer asked me a question that made me stop short. It was something I’d never even considered. Contemplating the question allowed me to discover an area where I could begin to grow in intentionality and purpose instead of leaving myself to simply happen upon a godly response. I might never have thought to evaluate that aspect of my own spiritual growth had this friend not asked her question.
At times, we find ourselves stagnant in growth because of disobedience. We have blatantly walked away from something the Lord has laid before us, halting our progress until we step out in obedience in that area. Other times we are neglectful, not challenging ourselves with immersion in the Word and prayer. Frequently, however, we read God’s Word, spend time in prayer, and strive to the best of our ability to grow, yet we still feel as if a brick has been placed upon our spiritual heads, stunting our growth. The thing we lack just might be a concerted effort to encourage someone else in their growth. When we bottle up all we learn, sharing it with no one, our own growth accomplishes little for God’s glory. It does not bear fruit, pouring out to those hungry for the gospel or in need of discipleship. It becomes stagnant.
Again I say, raise your hand if your spiritual growth is stagnant. Then take the next step. Evaluate yourself to see if you are being disobedient or neglectful. If not, look around you to see who you can pour your life into, teaching others to observe all that Christ has commanded you. Then hang on to your hat, because those stagnant waters of growth will once again begin to flow.