Opportunity for Spiritual Growth

The current situation across the globe has everybody feeling terrified. The shops are emptying quicker than they can be filled. People are fighting over toilet roll. Bars, shops, restaurants and gyms have been ordered to close, the world is going into lock-down. There is much fear amongst the people of the world right now, regardless of race, religion, gender, age or ethnicity, these differences do not matter to the virus that is causing such animosity. The hardest truth for us to swallow right now, and probably one that nobody is prepared to face, is that to some extent, we are all accountable for the pandemic that is wreaking havoc on our precious earth.

It has certainly been a difficult few weeks for the majority of us to be told to self-isolate and have most of our freedoms brought to a halt, in this respect, Christian or not, we have all been handed a cross to bear during these times. I know for most people this is going to seem like the worst thing in the world and perhaps find this time very challenging and difficult. I want to offer some words that have been spoken into my heart last night and this morning and I feel God is behind this and wishes for me to share with all who wish to read. I would also like to share my experience of isolation, as this is something that is not new to me, this is something that I appreciate and have come to understand as an essential part of growth and transformation, and combined with the words of God, it will be easy to see why.

Firstly, I would like to make all who are reading this aware that during times of crisis the general well-being of people actually goes up as we are pulled together by a force that is out of our hands. It is a time, and an opportunity, for us to be together, in unity, working with each other, alongside our brothers and sisters of whom we do not know, those in countries far away, and those on our street. It also brings us closer to our loved ones, this time of peril provides an opportunity for us to humble ourselves to one another and practice one of the most important fruits of the spirit, love. Not the conditional sort of love a lot of us in our western cultures have come to live by, no, an unconditional love that Jesus Christ showed to us, this love allows us to let the water flow under the burnt bridges that have collapsed over the years. The water puts out any embers that are present and have been preventing our ability to truly forgive. In forgiveness we find freedom, freedom from pain and suffering that in some cases has us living out destructive patterns of behaviour. This time of isolation, as it has always been for me, is a time for deep reflection, so take the time to reflect and ask yourself what is it that you want God to do in your life, and you will soon see that He is a God of miracles.

Isolation, not only provides the opportunity to forgive others, more importantly, it gives us the opportunity to forgive ourselves. During the vast time I have spent in isolation over the last five years, I have had much time and space to come to understand my wrong doings, and the times I have acted out in a sinful way. I realised in these times that I was always running from something, not anything material, although at times it was certainly projected into the material dimensions, but something deep inside of me, a pain that I wasn’t ready to face. When I first left for Australia in 2011, at the time I was just acting accordingly to an opportunity that had presented itself to me, it was only years later I came to realise that I was escaping, running away from years of hurt inflicted through betrayal, running from trauma. This inevitably led me down the rabbit hole where a world of sin awaits all who desire to escape the realities we bestow on ourselves. If this resonates with you, hear my words, I have been to the bottom of the rabbit hole and it only goes so deep, no amount of drugs, no amount of sex and no amount of sinful pursuit provides an escape route from ourselves. There is only one way to escape, and that is to forgive ourselves, and seek forgiveness from God, for only He can grant true freedom.

When we begin to become aware of the behaviour patterns that exist we can ask ourselves, how is this serving me, or better yet, how is this serving the world? When we ask these questions we can begin picking apart the dimensions of our deeply rooted ego’s that are not serving us, or the world. Ultimately, they are both good questions, but the second question, how is this serving the world provides an opportunity to humble ourselves to others, not just to ourselves, which in itself is a selfless act, the sort of action we see in Christ. When we all take this on board and begin this process, which we all have the opportunity to do so considering our ‘freedoms’ are not available to us right now, we begin to enter the harmonious equilibrium that exists in the symbiotic relationship with the totality of the universe, of which we are a part. When we forgive ourselves in this way, we notice a deep stillness inside of us, a deep peace, a new found freedom that was there all along. The old way of being begins to be humorous to us, and we can now laugh at how insignificant the old and destructive habits were. We can now tap into that harmonious space that exists within, that space of deep peace, a space we only find in isolation.

Once we have begun the process of reconciliation with ourselves and those around us can we begin to reverse our actions and start asking, the deepest question of all, what is my purpose? Because we all know our purpose is not to selfishly feed our own egos, which is, as we are extremely aware from our current situation around the world, highly destructive. We can ask, how am I to serve others? How can I be at service to the world? How can I benefit my community, right here, right now? What gift do I have that I can use to shine light upon this world? If you just heard a voice say, ‘I don’t have any gifts’, then I must tell you that you are lying to yourself, that voice is the voice of the enemy, your own ego keeping you confined inside the box you have built around yourself in fear of whats on the other side.

We ask these questions as we beg for God to guide us into a work that is fulfilling on every level, a work that sees us resonating every aspect of Christ! As the title of this blog states, this time of separation is not a time to despair, it is a time to face up to ourselves and humble ourselves before God, consign our sinful ways over to Christ, nail our old selves to the cross, and begin carrying that cross as we embark on a journey of deep transformation. This time of isolation truly is an opportunity for spiritual growth. This time of isolation is a gift from God, yes, this gift is coming at a great sacrifice with the death toll rising daily, however, without sacrifice we would never grow and I can assure you all now, the greater the sacrifice the greater the opportunity for growth is.

I will end with these words form scripture.

‘Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.’ Philippians 2: 1 – 4. The whole chapter is relevant but them words stick out and resonate so much truth with how we should be acting during this pandemic. This time of isolation is providing the world over the opportunity to receive the Lords blessing, and for a place to be made for them in His Fathers house so they can also inherit the Kingdom of God, so their minds can be made anew. I wish this upon all of you, so please, reflect, pray, forgive and above all, be like Christ in these uncertain times and love unconditionally.