ThoughtShades FrameWork

Essays, Themes, Opinions

Constructs, Practical Ideas, Applications

Poetry, Impression Writing

Sermons, Devotions

Personal Revelations, Illustrations

Viewpoint: Politics, Contemporary Issues, Editorials


Choice Offerings by Others

Powered by Squarespace
« Is That Blood On Your Shoes? | Main | Treat Me Special! »

Watch Out for the Plateau

plateaubateke.jpg “Plateauing” entered the language way back in frontier days, when wagon trains often pushed along in mountainous terrain for many long, grueling days. Suddenly, the punishing pathway opened up into a high, level plain or plateau, bringing a welcome relief to the climb. Today, business analysts use the term to describe flat lines in their growth charts. All of us use it to describe a period of time in our lives when we’re not climbing any higher and we’re not going downhill. We’re just taking a break.

Spiritual plateaus, however, do not bode well for believers. They yield a false sense of security and beguile weary travelers with smug satisfaction. On a plateau, distant goals lose their luster, the stretch of tomorrows in the trail ahead blurs together with numbing sameness, and the temptation to stop and camp is nearly irresistible. Here are some thoughts, with interpretations, that signal a perilous plateau.

I have a good understanding about the basics. (Read: I don’t need to learn any more.) People often take two illusory courses of action with regard to the Word. Either they lose interest in reading and studying the Bible, or they venture off into novel and radical doctrines. I firmly believe in reiterating the basics of the Gospel, of salvation, of the nature of God, of living a separate lifestyle, of discipleship and of all the fundamentals of the faith. Never lay aside the basics as though you have no need for rehearsing them yet again. God has packed more treasure in the bedrock foundations of the church than you will deplete in your lifetime.

I have my personal life in order. (Read: Relax! I am not going to do something stupid.) Pay attention to basic discipleship. Why? Because indeed you will do something stupid if you assume you won’t. The fundamentals of prayer, church attendance, giving, Bible reading and ministering to others are not little things that will take care of themselves. You must take care of them. Personal responsibility never stops being important in your heavenward journey.

I have achieved a level of respect. (Read: Everybody thinks I’m okay.) No one is saved by his reputation. Regardless of the favorable opinions others may have of you, your spiritual welfare is between you and God alone. Please God, period. Reject the elixir of popular opinion.

I have accomplished something of significance. (Read: I’ve done enough.) None of us has done enough. God may have rested on the seventh day, but man still labors on in the sixth. Your tasks may change or the expectations of your performance may diminish over time, but you haven’t arrived until the pearly gates close behind you. Work for God and resist the temptation to look behind you and admire your accomplishments.

I have nothing to prove. (Read: I have no more real battles ahead of me.) Satan never gets discouraged and walks away, even after years of hassling you unsuccessfully. He continues to probe for a point of entry. When major transitions take place in your life such as graduation, marriage, children, new job, pay raise, moving into a new home, death of a loved one, and so on, brand new battles will crop up on your horizon.

I have no pressing spiritual needs. (Read: No need to pray, fast and study). Because the plateau has no discernible inclines or declines, you may feel cocooned into security. But other threats such as the wind, sun and approaching enemies loom larger than you might expect. The danger is not the climb; it’s the respite at the end of the climb. Just as eating and sleeping are daily needs, so also your spiritual life makes constant demands. No one matures past his or her spiritual needs.

I’m not perfect, but I’m not as bad as others. (Read: Actually, I kind of like myself.) This is the favorite refuge of the flesh. Don’t forget that there are infinite ways to fail, but only one measurable way to succeed. We have to continually reference our progress to Christ, himself, not to the bad guys, or even the good guys around us. You may be more perfect than your neighbor, but that’s not the point. Our goal is to be remade into the image of Christ.

One final danger that plateaus represent: loss of spiritual momentum. Sometimes momentum carries us through a crisis when nothing else can. The only way to keep up momentum is to keep climbing. Jesus said, “While men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares.” Matthew 13:25. Stick with the task. Stay “on message.” God’s will in our lives does not reside in maintaining the status quo, but in the unrelenting reach for higher ground.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>