“Spiritual growth is not about climbing a mountain, getting better, and therefore needing Christ less and less. Spiritual growth is about discovering more and bigger caverns of need into which more and more of Christ’s grace can flow.” Tullian Tchividjian, from blog post titled: Christ Is Deeper Still
Who wants to explore their own depravity, spelunking into the depths, looking for “bigger caverns” where Christ’s grace is desperately needed? Personally, I’d like to seal off those caverns permanently with a truck load of C4. They are dark, scary, dangerous and ugly … which is exactly why God wants to go there with us. He wants to expose the deepest, scariest places within us to his love, his grace, and his mercy. He wants to begin the healing journey now, on this side of eternity. If we are truly honest, most of us can think of some places deep down where fear, self-doubt, and shame reside. Honestly, there are things I often desire more than God. I frequently doubt that God alone can truly satisfy my deepest desires (FYI: this is not surprising to God; he recognized it before I did).
It is easy for me to create an illusion that these hidden caverns don’t really affect me or others all that much. But it’s a lie. First of all, no one can possibly hide all of their cavernous, fleshy garbage from anyone in a close relationship. Just ask your spouse or your best friend. But, more importantly, when I attempt to hide my gaping caverns from others, I isolate myself relationally. Relational isolation is a dirty rotten scoundrel and a thief. It whispers in my ear, “If you come clean, you will be rejected, so keep the juicy stuff to yourself and I will keep you safe.” And in so doing, it thoughtlessly robs me of deep, powerful, healing connections with God and others. Not only that, isolation is a greedy, heartless beast. Feeding it only increases its appetite. Look out!
God has designed us to live in close relationships. It’s called community. While community can be messy and inherently risky, this is the space where ministry happens between us and others. He has gone to incredible lengths to create this canvas where we join in with others in painting the artwork which is our relationships. Without visiting the deeper places alongside our trustworthy guide (God), our color palette becomes very limited. We don’t have much to offer, nor can we receive much. God designed us to live in full color. He especially enjoys all the colors and he wants to enjoy them with you and me. He desires that we enjoy them with each other.
With God as your guide, grab your helmet, rope and a trustworthy friend. Take that spelunking adventure to which he is calling you!