A number of years ago I had the opportunity to spend 24 hours shadowing a doctor friend of mine. I was privileged to see some of the behind-the-scenes of what goes on in a hospital. We made rounds, chatted with fellow doctors in the hallway (some even thought I was a doctor…hummm Dr. Mike MD that has a nice ring to it) we checked in on a few patients, and we were even in the ER for much of the night into the early morning. Well, we finally got to catch a few hours sleep in the On-Call Room, when about 3 in the morning we got paged to the ICU where my doctor friend, with no sleep in the last 24 hours and he had also been up all night before, was summoned to save a man’s life. I don’t know about you but when I have not slept in 48 hours I can hardly walk, let alone be expected to rattle through my knowledge of medications and possible procedures. Yet, my doctor friend had to do what was necessary by prescribing just the right medication and ordering the right procedures because this guy was going down fast. All this had to be done in minutes. The nurses were all there with crash cart ready. He called in a consult (another doctor who was being woken up as well), the medication was given, the procedure was performed, and the guy lived! I was elated. Now I was doing my part by praying my guts out, but I was so impressed at what my doctor friend did…incredible and amazing!
I asked my friend how he could do what he did. He said his medical training (medical school, internship, and residency) had prepared him to handle intense situations like this. He said they were so grueling you either learned how to excel or you had to gracefully bow out. The medical trade is not for the faint-hearted or those who try to get by with little to no work or those who think they can fake it or slack-off. You see, there is a plan and strategy of education and experience to raise up the best of the best so we have great competent people as our medical providers. I know I am very appreciative of the rigors of the medical profession, and I am sure the guy whose life was saved was appreciative too.
Plans and strategies are important. They help people in their growth and maturity. God has a plan and strategy for our spiritual growth. The Apostle Paul explains it this way:
1 Corinthians 3:6-8 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
This growth/maturity plan and strategy of God includes an environment where the seeds of God’s truth are planted and watered. This environment then is used by God to grow us. To the Colossians, Paul put it this way:
Colossians 1:28 28 We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.
To put it simply, God’s strategy for all people is to move them from Christ-less to Christ-like (or perfect in Christ). That process we have broken down into five levels of spiritual development where we start out as part of the Crowd of humanity not knowing much, if anything, of Jesus. However, when exposed to Jesus we become Curious and want to know more. As we learn more, we become Convinced that Jesus is “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” and choose to believe or are very close. As we continue to grow in our knowledge and practice of our relationship with Christ, we become Committed and give our lives fully to Him and His cause – His unique call on our lives. As this dedication to Jesus is cultivated we, become Commissioned to use our gifts and abilities to an even greater degree for God.
Now there is a lot to these stages of spiritual life development and we will be talking about this Sunday, as well as in your small groups and through the Unique Call Devotions. So dig deep and discover where you are in your own spiritual life development. As well, be thinking of what kind of environment you might need to be part of so God will continue to move you on in your own spiritual maturity.
Though we don’t have the pressure of being in medical school, our spiritual development is very important. God wants us to develop in our spiritual maturity (read Hebrews 5:11-14) for He has great missions and assignments waiting for us when we are ready. So let’s be trained and ready so that when we are pushed to the limit we can serve God and see lives saved for all eternity.
I’m looking forward to being with you this Sunday…I sure hope you can make it.
Journeying with you,