Spiritual growth is much like biological growth. Once alive, we grow. That’s how it works. We grow into the life that is contained within us. And just like our growth as individuals, we are not in control of our growth. Sure, we can affect our growth. But we can’t control it.
As an analogy, when I was seven, I really wanted to be eight. There was nothing I could do to make myself eight except to remain living and wait. I might have wished with all my might but I remained seven. I might have wished to remain seven only to end up eight. The only thing I could actually affect, short of taking my life, was the quality of eight-year-old I would become.
I might not have been able to control my age (or the speed at which I attained it) but even at seven I could affect whether or not I achieved my full potential as an eight-year-old. My diet and exercise affected the level of health as an eight-year-old. The effort I put into my studies determined how well I learned (of course at eight the big concern was penmanship and library privileges). And how well I obeyed my parents at the age of seven affected not only what privileges I was given at eight but also whether or not I would live to see that age instead of being another traffic statistic.
In the same way, we cannot control our spiritual growth. We cannot control how quickly we mature spiritually. But we can affect what kind of person we become. There are things we can do that inhibit spiritual growth. If we get lost, there is a way back. And there are some things we can do that help us grow as well as some things that might slow us down.
Health Requires Two Things
- Stop doing things that make us unhealthy
- Do things that make us healthy
No-brainer, right? Well, then let’s look at the application. We’ll need to stop doing the things that lead us away from God and do the things that lead us towards God. We need to set aside sin and focus ourselves on developing and living our relationship with God every day. If we do, we will grow into the likeness of Jesus of Nazareth, fully developed and healthy and we’ll be effective.
Are you looking for ways to invest in your growth as a whole person? If so, I have two recommendations. First, I recommend Feeding Your Soul. In it you will find a very simple process for spending time daily with God through the Bible. It’s actually remarkable similar to Lectio Divina (for those of you who want to know more of your heritage). This book was pivotal in my spiritual development several years ago.
Second, I recently came across this Personal Spiritual Growth System that @RonEdmondson created and uses. Its simple enough that you can make your own and his blog even tells how he uses it. While I’ve not yet tried it, I like the idea and think it would be well-suited to investing in my spiritual growth.
How about you? Do you have any systems or devotional habits you use?