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Spiritual Advanceby Duane Mabee on March 14, 2019
Sean, Sarah, Karla, and I were privileged to attend the Southern District’s Soul Care Conference led by Rob Reimer. It was a good conference; but intense. We came away with a lot of things to work on. It’s not the kind of conference you walk away from thinking, “Oh, that was pleasant”. It is meant to allow God to do a deep work on your soul. You can get a feel for it from Dr. Reimer’s book Soul Care: 7 Transformational Principles for a Healthy Soul.
Dr. Reimer used a couple of phrases repeatedly that stuck with me. They are doing a work on my soul.
The first is “Your next level of spiritual advance lies just outside of your current comfort zone”. Think about that for a while. No one ever grows in any arena by sticking to what is comfortable. Things are comfortable because we are proficient at them. Growth and development of any kind always requires us to push beyond our comfort zone. There are at least two ways God is calling us out of our comfort zone as a church right now.
One is in the area of reaching out to those outside of our church. We cannot do or be what God wants without reaching out to people we don’t know, but that’s outside of our comfort zone. We cannot share the gospel locally – which is one of the reasons we exist – if we don’t go out there and meet them. We cannot call ourselves a Christ-centered church if we stay in our comfort zone and only share the gospel with people we already know. Our next level of spiritual advance lies just outside of our comfort zone. It may also be that the most exciting and rewarding relationships we will ever have lie just outside of our comfort zone in the community around us.
God is also calling us out of our current comfort zone in the area of learning to pray with more depth and breadth than we currently do. The new prayer cells will stretch us. They will involve praying in some ways that are not comfortable right now. But, our next advance in spiritual health and intimacy with Christ is just beyond the border of our comfort. If we want to have a rich, deep and powerful relationship with Christ we need to push through that border into something new.
Yes, both of these things are uncomfortable now. That’s because we are not proficient at them. If we will push through and learn, we will become proficient. We will grow spiritually and when we do, we will find a new level of comfort and fulfillment. Think about how exciting it will be to see this place full of new faces – faces of people who have recently come to faith in Christ through our involvement in their lives. Think about how exciting it will be to see Christ answer prayers that we were not brave enough to pray in the past. Join me. Push through that comfort zone border.