“The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another” (1 Thess. 3:12).
“Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth” (Gal. 5:7).
“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon” (Psa. 92:12).
A flower that is arrested in its development, a tree that never reaches its full height, a human soul that might have glorified God and have become a blessing to men and that is inwardly crippled, that has come to a standstill because of some inbred singularity or deformity—how painful such sights are!
Souls at a standstill—one so often meets them. There was a good beginning once, when an hour of blessing or a longer period of special grace brought new life-power which ought to have developed. Aspirations were born, and one saw with joy the initial stages of inward transformation, the hopeful beginnings of new life. Years later one meets that man again. What has happened? He has not fallen away, or turned aside from the accepted paths. He has not gone back to serve the world and sin, but he is stuck; his growth is at a standstill; he is inwardly crippled and is a pathetic sight. The first zeal has died down. The first love has grown cold. Little sins don’t matter quite so much now—the little foxes that spoil the grapes. He is content with an average spiritual life and gives up aspiring after obviously unattainable holiness and perfection. Instead of looking at Christ the perfect example, and letting the contemplation of His beauty and glory transform him “from glory to glory” into His image, he measures himself by the standard of everyday Christians, and consoles himself over his failures with the thought of other people’s faults and imperfections.
No wonder the fragrance and bloom of the divine life gradually disappear, that the shining eyes grow dull, and that the joy in the Lord and the power of His might dwindles away until there is nothing left but a poor human being who is a bitter disillusionment to himself and others.—Sister Eva.
Let me then be always growing,
Never, never standing still,
Listening, learning, better knowing
Thee, and Thy most blessed will;
That the Master’s eye may trace,
Day by day, my growth in grace.