What’s Your Spiritual Growth Plan?

What do you say about the importance of “being in God’s Word” to a boy who doesn’t read well? What advice do you give the girl who loves God but struggles rising early each morning to do her “daily devotions”? What wisdom can you lend the young man who yearns to know more of God but can only attend church once or twice a month because of work? What do you say to the woman who finds prayer wearisome because her mind constantly wanders and her prayers seem so ineffectual?

Read more? Be more disciplined? Get you priorities straight? Pray harder?

Maybe. Sometimes our spiritual growth requires greater passion and deeper devotion on our part. At the same time, however, far too many Christians live under the weight of “more.” “More” is the notion that spiritual growth = more Bible knowledge, diligent daily devotions, longer and harder prayer sessions, and dedicated attendance at worship and scheduled church events.

Too many Christ-followers have been discouraged, frustrated, and overwhelmed by seeking to grow spiritually through keeping conduct lists and completing regimented spiritual assignments. Good behavior is good, and spiritual disciplines are important. But simply reading, praying, and serving does not actually mean we’re growing spiritually. A right heart leads to right behavior, and getting the sequence backwards often leads people away from the life of joy that loving (and liking) God brings.

Instead of being worn out from right box-checking, what if we start investing in our spiritual growth at a heart level? What if we begin measuring spiritual growth by a standard other than “more,” where spiritual growth equals a right heart posture and not just right behavior? What if our genuine desire to please God actually pleases Him, and the result of such desire becomes doing the right outward act for the right spiritual reason?

Isn’t that what Jesus was saying in the Sermon on the Mount?

“You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples off a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds” (Luke 6:43-35, The Message).

Spiritual growth begins by valuing the things God values. As His values are planted deeply in the soil of our heart, right words and actions follow as His Spirit grows His life in us.

So continue to read your Bible, pray, and serve! Just don’t make those the measure of how well you’re doing spiritually. Rather, really seek to love God and all people everywhere. Live with a posture of humility. Desire to know God and grow in your relationship with Him. Move about with an increasing desire to impact others for the Kingdom’s sake. Daily walk with God in your everyday places—asking Him what He’s up to and how He wants you to get involved. Allow these and other God-directed values grow you from the inside-out.

If you want a life of “more,” fill your life with a desire to love God and others more than anything else. Allow His work in your heart to ignite the thoughts in your mind, inspire the words of your mouth, direct the paths of your feet, and guide the deeds of your hands. Let what matters to God matter more and more to you. And as you do, a greater measure of God’s Spirit and aliveness will become increasingly evident in and through you.

To learn more about values-driven spiritual growth, visit ForgeForward.org/about/our-dna.

3 Responses to “What’s Your Spiritual Growth Plan?”

  1. Stephen

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  2. Chris Pederson

    I agree that sometimes our spiritual growth needs more passion from ourselves. I feel like I need to be more spiritual now than ever before. COVID-19 has really put me in a negative mindset so hopefully I can get closer to God.

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    • Charlie Marquis

      Hey Chris! Thanks for sharing. We are glad that this post encouraged you to continue growing closer to God. May Jesus ever be near to you as you draw near to Him. Let us know if we can help you out in any way or provide any resource to help you in this journey. I personally recommend the Spiritual Life Notebook or Is God Waiting For a Date With You booklet – both of these are immensely impactful in growing closer to God. They are found under resources on the website. Appreciate you reaching out!

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