by Rhonda Rhea
My wonderful hubby surprised me a while back with an anniversary cruise. Hawaii, baby! We had the most marvelous time just being together for 7 glorious days.
I admit it, I’m a cruise fan. I love everything about it—especially the food. A cruise and overeating go together like a hand in glove. Well, more accurately, they go together like a size 10 hand in a size 2 glove. I guess I was just asking for a trip back to maternity pants. I now refer to myself as “17 years postpartum.”
The staff on the ship said that the average person gains 7–10 pounds on a 7-day cruise. But then, I’ve always considered myself an overachiever.
On prime rib night, my husband and I were walking out of the dining room and, even though he was about to let his belt out a notch, Richie said he was thinking of ordering yet another prime rib. Another one! I figured that could cost him at least another 2 belt notches. I told him I thought that would be a mistake. Get it? Prime rib? “Mis-steak”?
If we’re going to overdo, though, it’s good to make sure we’re “overdoing” in the right areas. Exceeding calorie limits? Not such a great thing to consistently overdo. But 1 Thessalonians 4:1 talks about living right to please God and then it says, “Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more” (NIV1984).
To do and then do some more. It’s an encouragement to keep growing. Not so much growing in the “bring on the elastic waistbands” way, but rather growing in maturity—sanctification.
Paul goes in verses 2–3 to say, “For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (NIV1984). The Amplified Bible calls that sanctification, “consecrated (separated and set apart for pure and holy living).”
We grow as we seek to stay in the light, dwelling in the presence of the Lord, making sure our lives are for Him and all about Him. Our growth is not an option. It’s a command. Verses 7 and 8 in that same passage in 1 Thessalonians say, “For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit” (NIV).
It can be a little startling to think about the fact that to reject His instruction and to reject the call to pursue a holy, consecrated life is to reject our heavenly Father Himself. And that rejection means we’re ignoring the Holy Spirit He gave to help live that life. A mistake of the highest order.
Dwelling in His presence results in a life in which growing “a notch or two” spiritually—the good kind of growth—is a regular occurrence. And we need to seek that consistency in growth even more diligently than we would seek the biggest everything-fried-to-perfection buffet.
There’s a lot at steak—I mean, stake.
Editor’s note: This article was adapted from chapter 14 of How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?
Rhonda Rhea is a humor columnist, radio personality, and author of multiple books, including How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? You also may enjoy her articles “Skittles: The Secret Measure of a Person’s Love” and “Stretched: Fears Fade in God’s Light.”
Scripture marked (NIV1984) taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Scripture marked (NIV) taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Amplified® Bible, Copyright ©1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.