What are your barriers to personal growth?
Have you ever noticed how differently people’s lives turn out as they grow with age? Some grow in wisdom and understanding, handling life’s challenges with grace and earning the respect and admiration of others. Others hit a point at which they stop growing in character and maturity, trapped by barriers that they cannot even see, but which they never grow beyond.
The list of barriers to growth is long and destructive – addiction, adultery, anger, arrogance, bigotry, bitterness, criticism, cruelty, deceit, dishonesty, disrespect, distrust, envy, gluttony, greed, hate, hypocrisy, impatience, infidelity, judgmentalism, lust, lying, materialism, murder, prejudice, pride, resentment, self-centeredness, selfishness, self-pity, self-righteousness, thievery, unforgiveness, vengefulness, and worry, just to name a few. Though many in variety, they all find their root in putting yourself ahead of God and others. Those who never grow beyond this inevitably suffer the consequences, finding themselves trapped within their own smallness, facing endless problems with relationships and circumstances. If you’ve ever owned a fish in a fishbowl, you know that life in a fishbowl stinks, for the fish and for those around the fish.
So what is it that can make such a difference in life’s outcome? For most people it’s a matter of turning to a higher source of wisdom than their own, and there is no higher source of wisdom than that given us by God. There’s only so much we can learn by our own experiences in life. Just as with any subject in school, you learn more and learn faster if you turn to the wisdom of those who came before you. Even if you were to live to be one hundred years old, you would still never learn as much on your own about life as you can in the one moment your turn to the Creator of life as your Teacher and Counselor. It’s a horribly humbling and even frightening experience because you have to finally face your own smallness and limitations. Once you break through that barrier of ego or self-interest though, you find an incredible freedom to swim and grow in an ocean of God’s infinite and eternal wisdom, love and support.
The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have?
Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’ But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.
All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 11:28-30
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Words of Jesus Christ in John 10:10
If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
Words of Jesus Christ in John 14:15-17