For those of you that know me, I am a huge proponent of always learning and growing. When we stop growing we stagnate, and there is great danger in stagnation.
Stagnation is defined as inactivity, unproductivity, or lack of progress. There is a difference between resting or being still, and stagnating. Let’s face it. If you have been resting for the last 6 months or a year or more, you are not “being still” any more, you are stagnant!
Ponds and Rivers
I want you to visualize a pond and a river. A pond is stagnant water. There is no inlet of water, and no movement. Typically there are algae, mosquitoes, bacteria, and bugs. This is why they tell you not to drink from standing water in the wild. Now, think of a stream or river. There are fish, animals around, little to no algae, no mosquitos breeding in the water. Why? It is because it is constantly moving.
Jesus said in John 7:38,
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.
He didn’t say in him would be ponds of stagnant water. He said rivers of living water. Rivers bring life! A river signifies growth and constant change.
I will be honest. I used to hate reading. It was so dumb and boring to me. Give me a movie. But finally, I decided to make myself start reading. Why because I knew it was good for me. So where did I start? I went to the teen reading section. I started there and said I would read 3 books that year. I think I ended up reading 4.
Every year going forward I add to the list. This year my personal goal is to read 20 books. I typically alternate between fiction and non-fiction. One is to keep my imagination going, and the other so that I am constantly learning.
I never want to get to a point of being “stagnant water.” I never want to simply live off of yesteryears experience and yesterday’s understandings. We live in such a high paced and rapidly advancing society, that if you refuse to continually learn you will be left behind. You will stagnate!
Henry Ford said it best,
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.
It doesn’t matter what realm you keep yourself learning in, just keep growing and learning.
Most importantly always, Always, ALWAYS continue to grow in the Lord. Always hunger and thirst for more. Never allow your self to stagnate in your walk with Christ. I have seen people that have been Christians for 20, 30, and 40 years who are still immature believers. They refused to grow and mature in their relationship with Christ.
The Father always wants to draw you to a greater understanding of His character, His word, and His heart. If you stagnate and refuse to grow, you will fail to experience all that He has for you. If you refuse to learn, you are saying that you know everything there is to know. Essentially you are putting yourself on God’s level, and we all know what happened to the last one who thought that way.
Always be a student. Even Paul a Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee of Pharisees, who studied under Gamaliel, who knew the law and scripture inside and out, and had experienced and knew more than any of us ever have said,
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Study what is ahead. Strive for the next level. I stole a term from Dr. Layne Norton in which he calls the study of the next level, nextlevelology.
I encourage you today avoid the danger of stagnation and always be a student in the class of next-levelology. What happens here will directly affect your marriage, and how you interact with the world.
Here are a couple of great and easy books I would suggest to get you started.
The Pursuit of God by AW Tozer
The Release of the Spirit by Watchman Nee
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning
Revise Us Again by Frank Viola
Now if you want to go to that next level I would suggest books like:
The Crucified Life by AW Tozer
The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer