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Rhonda Rhea

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 ten hand in a size two glove. It’s all the gourmet food you can eat, for crying out loud. I guess I was just asking for a trip back to maternity pants. I now refer to myself as “17 years post-partum.” The staff on the ship said that the average person gains seven to ten pounds on a seven-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 two belt notches. I told him I thought that would be a mistake. Get it? Prime rib? “Mis-steak”?

Anytime we’re going to overdo, though, it’s good to make sure we’re “overdoing” in all 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.” To do and to overdo. It’s an encouragement to keep growing. Not so much growing in the “bring on the elastic waistbands” kind of growth. But growing in maturity—sanctification.

Paul said in verses 2-3 of that same chapter, “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.” The Amplified Version 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. Verse 7 in that same passage in 1 Thessalonians says, “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.”

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. Mistake of the highest order.

Growing in Him and dwelling in His presence results in a life in which growing “a notch or two” spiritually is a regular happening. The good kind of growth. And seeking that consistency in growth diligently. More diligently than we would seek the biggest everything-fried-to-perfection buffet.

There’s a lot at stake. And also sometimes a lot of steak.

Excerpted from How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person?

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