Higher Heights

What does the phrase “higher heights” mean? It refers to an ascension, for example, when climbing a mountain. In the same way, higher heights refers to a spiritual ascension, or growth, in Christ. As Christians, it is imperative that we are always growing to higher heights in God. This happens when we study his word and apply it to our lives. If we are not growing in Christ, then we are susceptible to the attack of the enemy.

A great example of this is from the apostle Paul. This is what he says about his walk with God: 

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. [Philippians 3:12-14 NLT]

Like Paul, we should always be striving to get to new levels in Christ. In order for us to enter his fullness and become like him completely, we must respond to God’s direction at all times. There is no excuse for us to be stagnant in our faith. Even at a young age, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was pressing on to know his Father more. After he and his family went to Jerusalem for Passover, Joseph and Mary began to return home before realizing Jesus was not with them! The Scripture says this, “After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.” When his parents asked why he did not follow them, this was Jesus’ response:

And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” [Luke 2:49]

As a result of his desire and initiative to know the Father, Jesus “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” [Luke 2:52]

There are three factors that contribute to spiritual growth and attaining to new levels in Christ. Firstly, we must desire to know more of him. 1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation”. We must study the Scriptures to know more about our heavenly Father if we want to grow in him. Secondly, we must walk in righteousness and be fruitful. The Bible says,

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

When we study his word , we receive understanding from the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of the Lord. We must put these truths in practice by walking in a way that pleases them. The Bible says, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” [Matthew 7:20 NKJV] Our testimony and lifestyle must point to Christ. For example, we go to school to study the theory of the career we want to pursue, however, we must get a job or an internship in that field in order for us to truly use that knowledge and improve in our craft. In the same way, we must use the Scriptures in order for us to see growth. 

Hebrews 6:1 [NLT] says, “So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God.” The Lord wants to see his people ascending him. May we not go over the same truths over and over again; instead, let’s press on to higher heights in the Lord.


All verses are in ESV unless specified.

This is Post 3 of the Blogging Consistency Challenge by Latoya at PowerfulU. 

Post 1

Post 2

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The Importance of Leaving our Comfort Zone

During our years of growth and development, we are taught how to behave by our parents and other authorities. We learn what is considered socially acceptable and what is not. In addition, when we go to school, we face things like peer pressure from our classmates, and we quickly learn what is considered “cool” and what is not. All of these influences can cause us to stay inside of our comfort zone.

There is a time and place for us to stick to what we know. For example, if we are in a high-pressure situation at work or school, where we are asked to deliver on an important project, it might be better for us to deliver exceptional content that we have expertise in than to try something new and deliver average content. But in many cases, it is important for us to push our boundaries. This is especially true when it comes to fulfilling our individual purpose and the Great Commission that Jesus has given us.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1. What pushes you out of your comfort zone? – For me, it is the public expression of my faith and openly using my gifts in writing and music.

2. What is stopping you from doing things that are outside of your comfort zone? – For myself, and many others, fear stops us from doing many of the things we truly feel called to do. Maybe it has to do with a past experience or embarrassment that occurred when we were open about a certain thing. Or maybe we are just afraid of what people may say if we took action. Going out of our comfort zone leaves us open to people’s opinions, which include criticism. It could also be due to insecurity in our God-given gifts. Personally, I find myself worrying about what other people will think about me if I was open about my talents or my faith, and whether I would still be accepted among some of my friends. Other times, it has to do with an insecurity in my gifts, and sometimes, I find myself comparing my skill level to others, using it as an excuse not to step out in faith.

3. What does God say? – We can learn a lot from what the Bible says about this matter. One verse that really spoke to me is Matthew 5:14-16, which says:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

As believers, we are God’s light to the world. Through our message and our lives, we show the world who God is and draw people to him. Our lives are supposed to bring glory to God, but we cannot do this if we do not speak about our faith, or if our actions contradict our beliefs. We may not realize it, but people are watching to see if we practice what we preach.

God has not given us a spirit of fear (1 Timothy 1:7). Fear is a spirit from the enemy. Satan uses fear to manipulate us and to silence us. He does not want us to preach the gospel, or to use our gifts to direct others to Jesus. We cannot allow the enemy to stop us from fulfilling our calling on this earth. The Bible says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9). This verse assures us that when God’s hand is in a thing, there is no need to fear.

We must break free from our comfort zone and be obedient to God’s direction. James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” We cannot hear what God’s word says about preaching the gospel and using our talents, then turn around and choose not to do anything. This is an act of disobedience towards God. Even though it maybe uncomfortable to challenge ourselves, at the end of the day, we are pleasing God. That is what’s most important.

I pray that God will help us to have courage and to fulfill his will for our lives, even when it pushes us out of comfort zone.


  • All verses are in the English Standard Version (ESV)
  • This post is part 2 of the 30 Day Blogging Consistency Challenge by Latoya at Powerful U. Part 1 is linked here.

 

Give it Up to God

Hello, everyone! Long time no see!

As we celebrate Our Savior’s everlasting sacrifice, it reminds me all the more of the suffering Jesus Christ went through so that we don’t have to pay for our sins. I thank the Lord for triumphing over death so that we have the wonderful gift of eternal life, and that we can finally communicate with him freely.

This morning, as I was praying, God spoke to me in a way that touched my heart. Lately, I have been really busy. As a student, I strive for academic excellence, which is great. But it means that I am always doing work and sometimes doing extra for better marks. I also have some vocal competitions I am preparing for and I am working on accomplishing other goals that I have set for myself. Now, these are all good things, but when they choke out our time with God, they become stumbling blocks. This is what happened to me. I was so busy with all of my other activities that God was no longer the priority in my life. At the end of each day, I would be so tired that I would just go to sleep without praying, and in the morning, I would spend barely ten minutes with God, rushing through it all just to start my day.

One thing I’ve noticed every time I do this is that I become incredibly stressed. Why? Because all of the things I want to do cannot be accomplished in my own strength. God is the one that gives us the grace to do things excellently. When we allow ourselves to become proud, we begin to think, “I can do this on my own.” That thought is a recipe for disaster because we are not the ones who have control over anything in life. God is the all-knowing one, therefore he knows the steps we should take for success. We must continually put Him first in order for us to receive the benefits.

Hebrews 3:7-15[ESV] says,

Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore, I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’ As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’” Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

The part of this passage that struck me the most was verse 15, which says, “…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…”. God had been speaking to me for a while, trying to tell me in subtle ways to draw near to him and spend time with him in prayer. But I wasn’t applying it to my life, and when the rubber hit the road, my own strength was inadequate to get the job done. God wants us to enter into his rest. But the only way to do so is to let go of life’s burdens and give them up to him. We must allow him to work in our lives. We cannot have happy, fulfilled lives on our own. God is the only one who can do this for us and bring us to a place of rest.

Hebrews 3:19 says, “So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.” May we not be people who cannot enter God’s rest because we refuse to believe in what he can do. Amen.

Staying Spiritually Bright

This morning, someone was speaking to me about some things God had put in her heart, and she said something that really struck me. As Christians, it’s really important for us to be spiritually awake. This means that we need to be aware of the things God wants us to accomplish. We need to set out times for fellowship with him before anything else in the day. Why? Because when we do other things first, we let our minds become filled with the cares and pleasures of this world. These things aren’t necessarily bad, but they should not be our priority. When we are focused on worldly matters, we leave ourselves open to the devil and he will use these things to numb us and make our light dull. For example, something I tend to do in the morning is to check all of my social media. Now, social media isn’t a bad thing. But when I do it before or right after prayer, my mind becomes cluttered with things that are at a lower realm than what we should operate in as Christians. Using my phone shouldn’t become something I do out of habit or sheer boredom; it should be something I use in moderation.

The Bible says, “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap” [Luke 21:34]. Even though our daily tasks and activities are important for our well-being, we shouldn’t stress over them. Instead, we should rely on God’s grace to help us accomplish everything that we need to do. When we focus on God, he is able to motivate us and make us more productive than we could ever be on our own.

As many of us go into the school year, let’s take time after school to pray and study God’s word, or read Christian literature, because these kinds of things keep our spirit up. School is very draining, and we are surrounded by people who think and work in the flesh, but it’s important to keep that fire burning and not allow schoolwork and other things become all we spend our time doing outside of classes. May God continue to strengthen us, and may we be mindful to fill ourselves up with spiritual things, so we can be a light to everyone around us.