Are you stalled in your spiritual growth?
If so, you’re not alone. In a ground-breaking study by the Willow Creek Association, well over 25% of active church members describe themselves this way – as stuck or stalled.
As I briefly mentioned on Sunday, getting stalled tends to take place fairly early in a believer’s relationship with Christ, during what some may refer to as “the baby Christian” stage.
Here’s what the experts say:
“The Stalled segment seems to include people at the beginning of the faith journey who have run into difficult life circumstances or come face-to-face with a personal weakness that is incompatible with following Christ. Because their Christian walk is not deeply rooted in spiritual practices, they feel rudderless – and consequently dissatisfied with their spiritual life.”
As Willow Creek studied those in the self-described stalled category, they found that the stalled tend to have one or more of the following at much higher levels than the rest of the church body:
§ Addictions (out of control spending, gambling, alcohol, pornography, overeating, etc.)
§ Inappropriate relationships (that pull them away from God)
§ Emotional issues (depression, anger, stuffing emotions, etc.)
§ Not prioritizing one’s spiritual life
So, what’s the solution?
Assuming the above list is correct, it seems apparent that many of the “stalled” need someone to come alongside and help them with some of the vestiges of the “old life.” For example, in my case, I continued to be a heavy drinker after my conversion. It was two years before that was rid from my life (by God’s grace). Until that was dealt with, I wasn’t going anywhere spiritually.
The researchers also stress the importance of incorporating the ancient spiritual disciplines into one’s life, including prayer, Bible study, worship, tithing, service, etc. From the beginning of my spiritual life, I’ve enjoyed studying the Bible. It took awhile for me to learn how to pray and to move from duty to delight in terms of my praying.
If you’re stalled, I urge you to talk to someone about it. It doesn’t have to be a pastor. Seek out somebody whom you know is walking closely with the Lord and living a Christ-centered life. My guess is that such a person will be glad to meet with you and the conversation will benefit you greatly.