In Part 1 of this message I argued that since plateaus occur naturally in many parts of the world, they serve a particular purpose in creation. While we tend to look at "spiritual plateaus" negatively, they are actually natural, normal and necessary.

Necessary.

Hmmm. How could plateaus be part of God's plan for our spiritual growth? A couple of days after the sermon went out, I received a note from a pastor that helps answer that question.

"Challenging topic, plateaus! Back East where it rains a lot and the winters are mild, the trees are not put under a great deal of stress, and therefore their wood is soft. If you get strong winds or heavy wet snow, they snap off or totally uproot. Out West where it is dry and the wind always blows and the winters are sometimes harsh, the trees grow slowly. While it seems they have plateaued in their growth, they are actually forming the hard growth rings which give them strength to withstand the storms. Their roots go deep for moisture and their wood is hard because of the slow growth.

"That is not a bad thing for believers or leaders if they don't want to be blown about by every wind of doctrine, or the latest success fad, or the onslaught of temptation or discouragement. Did you ever watch an oak tree grow? God isn't in the business of growing mushrooms. That's why plateaus are so common."

That's good, isn't it? Plateaus actually make us stronger because the blowing winds that discourage us actually cause our roots to go deeper. Plateaus are meant by God to develop stronger, tougher, deeper, more resilient Christians.

"God isn't in the business of growing mushrooms."

p>But our problem is that we've got too many "spiritual mushrooms" when God wants us to become oak trees with deep roots and strong limbs. In order to do that, we need to spend time on the plateaus of life, letting the wind blow against us so that we can learn to stand firm in hard times.

So it turns out that God uses the plateaus that discourage us to advance our own spiritual growth. That's good to know. In Part 1 of this message I said that I wanted to share three key principles about living on a spiritual plateau. We've already talked about the first one . . .

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You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.