There is the saying that if you aren’t moving forward, you are moving backward. I’m finding that this is especially true in spiritual life. If I’m not always striving to do better, live a virtuous life, and make progress, I’m usually surrendering to the comfort of worldly things and ideals.
St. Teresa states it very profoundly: “Do not suppose that after advancing the soul to such a state God abandons it so easily that it is light work for the devil to regain it. When His Majesty sees it leaving Him, He feels the loss so keenly that He gives it in many a way a thousand secret warnings which reveal to it the hidden danger. In conclusion, let us strive to make constant progress: we ought to feel great alarm if we do not find ourselves advancing, for without doubt the evil one must be planning to injure us in some way; it is impossible for a soul that has come to this state not to go still farther, for love is never idle. Therefore it is a very bad sign when one comes to a standstill in virtue.”St. Teresa of Avila, p.99 Interior Castle
We know we are living in virtue when we bear good fruit.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ [Jesus] have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit. Let us not be conceited, provoking one another, envious of one another.Galatians 5:22-26
Lord, draw me out of complacency and comfort and allow me to always strive to do better, making progress in Your eyes.