As I was reading in the book "Plan B" yesterday, I figured I had gotten the jist of the book, and not much more would surprise me. After all, I was in the 2nd to last chapter, what could be left? As it turns out there was more for me to learn. Pete Wilson mention a book called, "The Critical Journey: Stages in the Life of Faith" Now, understand I am not really a fan of, "follow these steps and God will do..." because that is not the way life works, no matter how much we want it to. But this book seems to be more about assessing your spiritual walk to see what needs to be worked on. And books can be a valuable tool in doing so.
As Wilson started going through the stages I was trying to guess about which one I would fall into. I guessed there wouldn't be too many, after all we like to break things down into 3's or 4's, so when I read that stage four was "The Journey Inward" I said AHA! this must be the stage I am at! And I felt pretty good about that. After you have recognized that you are in need of a Savior, have been discipled, and done outreaches or other 'good' things, then you begin to look deeper into your life. So I was quite sure this was my spot. To my dismay the next sentence was something like this, "And this is where many Christian stall." Crap. Alas, there were more than 4 stages. I read on and tried to convince myself I was at stage 5 or 6, because there is no way I was a "stalled" Christian. But as I continued to think about it, and no matter how much I wanted to be on a later stage, I settled that stage 4 was a good assessment of where I was.
Stage 5 and 6 are "The Journey Outward" and "The Life of Love". But something is supposed to happen in-between stages 4 and 5 that perhaps isn't happening, and that's where many Christians get stalled. Don't worry about which stage you may or may not be on, that is not really what is of importance. Pete goes on to say(and maybe int he book too, I haven't read it yet.) that in-between stage 4 and 5 there is a transformation that takes place. I would guess that most of you, like me, are comfortable with how you live your life. You don't want to change anything. Or maybe you just don't know what to change. I see this part of the journey as being where 'the rubber meets the road'. Will our everyday life reflect how important Christ really is? Will the way we do business, our actions, & our words leave a pleasant aroma? What will our spending habits say about us? What will our planner say about us? Are we actually going to give God the place he deserves in our life?
I think its all too easy to get stuck in this spot. God ends up getting the back burner. We get embarrassed to say that we aren't going somewhere, or aren't doing something because we believe God has called us to a higher standard. We don't want people to think we are crazy, or weird. Or, heaven forbid, actually letting our beliefs dictate how we live!
I plan on reading this book when I can get my hands on it. Not so I can work through the stages, because that is not what life is about. Its not a spiritual ladder we have to climb. Its just a tool to use to assess our lives and have the Lord look into our heart and see what needs fixin'.
What about you? Are you stalled? Are you shying away from God because of unexpected events? Pain? Have you even acknowledged you need a savior? Have you started down the discipleship path? Where are you & where are you headed?