Most people have heard the word plateau, usually attached to a person and their ability to keep losing weight while dieting. However, a plateau can happen in many areas of our lives when we no longer progress in something.
Dictionary.com defines a plateau as a land area having a relatively level surface raised above adjoining land on at least one side, and often cut by deep canyons (similar to a valley). It also is described as a state of little or no change following a period of activity or progress. A plateau can describe a period of little or no apparent progress in an individual’s learning, marked by an inability to increase speed.
As Christians we are encouraged to grow in the word of God by moving from the foundational principles (milk) of Christ to the more in-depth solid food (meat); this is spiritual nourishment at a different level.
12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need [someone] to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes [only] of milk [is] unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, [that is], those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. - Heb 5:12-14 NKJV
These verses are describing the strong meat as the word of God being steadfast nourishment. This kind of persistent nourishment comes from a daily walk with God in His word in pursuit of a relationship with Him that goes beyond Savior to Lord. This kind of person is complete in their mental and moral character because they apply what they read and learn; those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. People who stay in the word are applying their minds to know right from wrong. Part of the “solid food” is applying the knowledge of the word in your life and allowing the power of the Holy Spirit to come forth, working out God’s plan for your life.
God’s word is His law, and it is perfect, refreshing to the soul. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. Ps 19:7 KJV
The foolish become wise with use of the word of God and because God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1Cor 1:27), the wise of the world are confused by what they consider foolishness of those who believe in Christ crucified. People who know the Lord through His word and a sure conversion have become wise according to God’s Spirit and not of their own, but the world cannot understand this because they do not know God.
So, what do we do when we are in the word, going to church, faithful in spiritual disciplines but arrive at a plateau in our spiritual growth?
In the Bible there is a Hebrew word biqah that is translated as valley or plain, this is a plateau. In Ezekiel, the word biqah is translated as valley. The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley, and it [was] full of bones. - Eze 37:1 NKJV
Ezekiel saw the condition of Israel because of their captivity to Babylon. Many of God’s people are in a similar valley in which they have lost hope in their lives because of some sort of bondage. These are the very people that God has called forth to be part of His army of educated, informed, and Spirit-filled children called to mark His name in their realm of influence. These people cannot fulfill their call because of hope deferred.
At other times we may be in a valley where there is peace but there is no life, or we may have reached a mountaintop but are not having the mountaintop experience. The following are a few pointers to get you plowing ground on the plateau and seeing God’s breath being released into your situation.
The first thing you must do is pray. Ask God what it is He would like to see from your time spent with Him in the word and prayer.
Next, break up your routine by finding a different area to read your devotions and Bible. If you do not spend time worshipping God, then I suggest you start off with that first. You can do this in different ways, through music and by being thankful for everything in your life. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thess 5:18
After you have applied the first two things to your life, then you must ask yourself, “am I doing God’s will?” It is highly probable that you are spending all this time being faithful to your personal spiritual growth but doing nothing to help others do the same.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28:19 Berean Study Bible
We are all commanded with authority to go out and make disciples but far too many Christians today don’t act on this command or even acknowledge Jesus Christ and their faith in Him to others. Sadly, many believers simply don’t know how to tell people about their faith and are often afraid of being rejected. If this is you, then it is possible that you have hit a plateau because of disobedience. The Bible states that To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams (1Sam 15:22). Jesus said, “To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." Mark 12:33 NIV
If you love God, you will keep His commandments.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the opportunities I am given every day to fulfill the great commission of Jesus Christ. I confess to You that I have fallen short in various ways to this call and am in need of recalibration. I ask for the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit to get off of this plateau and start plowing the spiritual ground you have called me to. I confess my dependency on You and acknowledge the blood of Jesus Christ as the most powerful weapon I have to lead me to lead others out of captivity. I acknowledge my love for You and my desire to be a small part of Your bigger salvation plan. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen