“When we truly grow, then obeying God no longer looks like something that requires an appreciation banquet. It looks like what should come naturally, like something that needs to be done.”- John Ortberg
John Ortberg concludes Chapter 6 of The Me I Want to Be with four stages of spiritual growth.
1. Incompetent and unaware. In this stage, not only are we incapable of doing something, but we’re not even aware of our incapability. As Pastor Ortberg explains, “the first cost of incompetence is the inability to perceive incompetence.”
Thus, living in continued ignorance represents the danger in this stage. Because pain brings awareness, pain = the cure. When reality crashes into us, we experience pain. With awareness, change becomes possible.
2. Incompetent and self-conscious. At this stage we remain incompetent, but now we know it. However, the danger here involves giving up due to despair over our incompetence. As a result, at this stage we need hope.
3. Competent and aware. Here we constantly think about ourselves and our efforts at growth. Furthermore, like the prodigal son’s elder brother, we often compare ourselves to other people.
Therefore, pride represents the danger during this stage. Hence, stage three lostness, John notes, carries its own blindness. People rarely seek help for their pride problem. As the author quips, no Betty Ford Centers for the Insufferably Arrogant exist. But not because we don’t need them. We need humility.
4. Competent and unself-conscious. Pastor Ortberg describes this final stage as a place where “competence not longer looks heroic- just sane.” We naturally just do what needs to be done. Therefore, the best version of ourselves lives in this quadrant.
In conclusion, John states progress through these four quadrants isn’t strictly linear or sequential. We move back and forth all the time- and this varies from one habit to another.
Today’s question: Do you feel you’re deserving of an appreciation banquet for your efforts in ministry or vocation? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “You and your Like – o – Meter”