~ by Mark Maulding
How do you know where you are in your spiritual journey? The following is what I see in Scripture as well as what the staff of Grace Life International and I have observed in our counseling with hundreds and hundreds of people for almost 20 years. I would love to hear from you what you think of this. Email me and let me know if you think this is helpful.
You know that Jesus is IMPORTANT to you. You know Him as your Savior and Lord.
- Recognition of God – You are starting to believe IN God, believing there really is something bigger than you but you are not a Christian yet.
- Life of Discipleship – You have come to faith in Christ and are beginning to learn more ABOUT God and the Bible.
- The Productive Life – You are serving and doing things FOR God, the church and people.
This is a place in your spiritual journey where things stop working in your life for one reason or another. This occurs typically during stage 3 but might start happening in stages 2 or 3. Often, a person is confused, disillusioned, defeated and/or discouraged during this time. Because you have not yet realized that you have been living much of your life for God in your own fleshly strength, you must be broken of that.
Romans 8:13 (TPT) “For when you live controlled by the flesh, you are about to die. But if the life of the Spirit puts to death the corrupt ways of the flesh, we then taste his abundant life.”
You discover that Jesus is also ENOUGH for you. You realize that He is your Life.
- The Journey Inward – You begin to understand that there is a new way to live life and to be in a relationship with God, yourself and others. You typically experience God’s love in a very substantial way. This stage often involves a time of personal healing and freedom. The Holy Spirit has given you a revelation of Christ in you and your identity in Christ. (See Ephesians 3:14-21)
- The Journey Outward – Your spiritual journey is continuing as you learn to live, serve and love by faith. You are learning to depend on Christ in you to live through you in everyday life.
Philippians 1:21 (TPT) “My true life is the Anointed One, and dying means gaining more of him.”
- Life of Love – God’s love is filling you and pouring out of you in such a way that it is amazing.
Important Truths About These Stages:
You cannot jump around initially. There are no shortcuts or workarounds. You don’t go from 1 to 4 or 2 to 5. It’s a 1-2-3-4-5-6 process; but once you have gone through them you may skip around and revisit certain stages during different times of life.
You can get stuck at any of these stages on your journey. At the same time, there are things that you can believe/do to keep moving.
None of these stages are good, bad, right, wrong or better than another. They just are. It’s important to remember that we couldn’t have gotten to where we are now without the prior stages. Sometimes we forgot that without our stage of learning scripture, involvement in our church, and working hard to use what God gave us to bless others, we wouldn’t be where we are today in our relationship with Jesus.
The majority of Christians never grow beyond stages 1-3. These first three stages produce workers in the church, people who sit in the pews and learn, givers, and volunteers who pull the ministry off. Those in stages 4-6 are involved in ministry in the church also, unless they have burned out in stages 1-3. If so, it may take them some time to recover and reengage in their ministry in their church. Those in stages 4-6 have a much more fruitful ministry than when they were in stages 1-3.
These are also based on the book,“The Critical Journey: Stages In The Life Of Faith” by Janet Hagberg and Robert A. Guelich along with several other articles and books.
I look forward to hearing your comments.
Live Free In Christ,
Mark Maulding, President and Founder
All Content Copyright © 2016 Mark Maulding but feel free to pass it on!