I remember when our family was staying in a friend’s house at the beach. One day, as I was standing in the shower, my eyes wandered over to the words on the shampoo bottle. They read, “Say yes to beautiful without paying the price.” The advertising message was clear: this inexpensive shampoo would make your hair, and you, beautiful.
As I pondered the words, my thoughts turned to the spiritual realm. What is beautiful in the spiritual realm, and how does one achieve spiritual beauty? Certainly it’s not as easy as buying an inexpensive bottle of shampoo.
Achieving spiritual beauty requires diligent work and effort because the only path to it is through spiritual practices that require a great deal of discipline. The message of inexpensive, quick spiritual growth is just as much of an illusion as was the message on the shampoo bottle.
If you want to experience spiritual growth, you have to pay the price of taking the time to implement the spiritual growth practices in your life. Yet even though achieving spiritual growth is difficult, it is beautiful. Therefore, I’d encourage you to say yes to the beauty of spiritual growth in your life. At the same time I’d warn you that it’s not easy.
In 1 Corinthians 9:25, the Apostle Paul writes to the followers in Corinth: “Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
Paul then applies the same principle to our spiritual growth in verse 26-27: “Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Paul’s language is metaphorical, but his point is clear. He is exhorting the Christians to devote themselves to their relationship with God so that in the next life they will win the prize.
His words are true…you can experience ongoing sustained spiritual growth in your life, but it takes discipline, dedication, and hard work. Are you up for the challenge?