“The true secret of spiritual strength is self-distrust and deep humility.”
— J. C. Ryle (1816–1900)
The greatest privilege known in the human life is to know God. That is the essence of true spirituality; and the halcyon experience is the strength of integrity to know our place in life, as well as to know God’s place in life. Getting these two perspectives absolutely right requires a deep sense of humility and a loathing for one’s own selfishness, conceitedness, partiality, etc. To see truthfully, that’s our aim.
Everything that is not of God happily attracts itself to our characters. Our task, if we aim to be strong spiritually, is to reverse that trend one moment at a time.
Our aim is to be constantly realigned to the God-datum, such that we would be not so much beyond reproach, but we would see the reproach coming; that we would actually be on the lookout for it.
Going After Our Weaknesses of Character
Even though we have no shortage of people queuing up to wrong us—because they may be, like we may be, basically selfish and narcissistic—we would do well to view ourselves as an enemy would view us. Not that we would hate ourselves; it’s not that at all. But enemies observe. They have an innate interest to monitor the activity of their enemy. If we were to get genuinely interested in the wrongs we think about and act upon, we would learn much more and we would trust our wavering judgment just a little less. Then we would have more wisdom, because we’re leaning on God more.
When I think of the term, Grow in GOD, and it’s not just because I’ve written a book by that title, I think about what God desires our spiritual growth toward him to be like.
To grow in God, to become strengthened spiritually, is about growing more in the likeness of God—in the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Lord. The biggest barrier to Christ-likeness runs to the character of our hearts.
If having a self-distrust is amenable to our spirits, then we may go on in our growth in God. When we have developed the habit of questioning our motives, and conforming them to Christ, we gain significant spiritual strength through the obedience of our practiced humility.
There is much to learn in growing toward God. What we are to learn and apply is God-consciousness. When we have learned to get sceptical about our own motives, we begin to trust God more in the flow of life, and we notice others’ faults less. We become spiritually stronger when we see our own wrongs in truer light.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.