The business term “lateral move” is used when someone doesn’t get demoted but they don’t get promoted either. They just move sideways to a different spot on the same level. Oftentimes we make voluntary lateral moves only to make it look like we are experiencing activity but in reality we didn’t grow, change, or move up at all.
There are times someone makes a lateral move simply because they hate their job or know the old one is closing down so they just want to change environments. They take the same type of position for relatively the same pay and same hours, just at a different place. That usually feels like it worked for about a month.
The real problem comes when we know in our hearts that we made a lateral move, but we work hard to convince everyone (even ourselves) that we actually made progress.
Well, spiritually, in the Kingdom of God, there are no lateral moves, only up and down, only growing or dying, only overcoming or falling away, only giving up to God or giving in to sin.
The real danger is when we stay running in one place spiritually so long that we no longer realize we’re just going sideways. Mere activity does not and will not produce maturity.
Plants are either growing or dying. They cannot make neutral or lateral moves. Yes, sometimes it is hard to tell exactly the state a plant is in because the problems all start at the roots and work up. These same truths apply to us. We are either growing or dying every day and any problems we are experiencing begin at our roots and slowly seep up to the surface.
So, as you are moving into this first month of the new year, decide to only make moves that will grow you, moves that create maturity, moves to overcome, moves to give up to God. Sideways is just activity to further the illusion.
Great blessings belong to those who don’t listen to evil advice, who don’t live like sinners, and who don’t join those who make fun of God. Instead, they love the Lord’s teachings and think about them day and night. So they grow strong, like a tree planted by a stream—a tree that produces fruit when it should and has leaves that never fall. Everything they do is successful. —Psalm 1:1-3 ERV