One of the most common resolutions people make as a new year arrives is for spiritual growth. Making steps forward in our spiritual growth is something that benefits us all. However, growth requires us to be intentional. Growing in any way requires execution of a plan carried out consistently over a period of time. It also requires identifying some specific ways to grow in the area we’ve identified.
Spiritual growth is no exception to this process. You must identify some ways that will assist you in your growth and then be intentional about doing them. There are an abundance ways and resources to assist you in this process. As you prepare for the new year, maybe you can implement some of these ideas to help you achieve the spiritual growth and enrichment that you desire.
Bible Reading Plan
Technology has made Bible reading as simple as it could possibly be. There are several apps such as YouVersion that have thousands of Bible reading plans available. Some of them take you through the entire Bible while others focus on one specific topic or need. You may have a specific area of your spiritual life that needs attention. You can find a reading plan suited for that specific need. You can get reminders every day built right into a device that you are already using. Plans can be as simple as a verse a day or multiple chapters everyday. Even if you are not a person given to technology, there are lots of reading plans that you can print out and use with a traditional printed Bible. Bible reading will advance your spiritual growth like few other things will.
I spent several days at a cave monastery in Moldova last Summer. In one of my conversations with the monk, I was inquiring about a list he was keeping. It was a prayer list that he kept and when people asked for prayer, he added them to it with a date and he would pray for them for 40 days. This prompted me to start a similar practice when I returned home. I actually made several prayer lists. I have a list of people and groups, such as the church or my business, that are important to me and I pray for them everyday. One of the other goals I have in my life right now is to be debt free, so I have a list of debt that I pray over every day. Then I have another list of people who have asked me to pray for them. I add people to that list with a date and I pray for them everyday for 30 days. All of these are part of my daily routine. These lists help me focus when it is time to pray.
Every pastor wants you to attend church every Sunday and I am no different. I believe there is value in spending time with other believers in corporate worship. We find encouragement and inspiration that we may not find anywhere else while at the same time become that same encouragement and inspiration for others. But church is not the only important spiritual environment. At our church we have Life Groups that meet together each week and offer a more intimate spiritual community. These communities allow us to grow and care for one another’s needs. Other churches may do Sunday School or offer other smaller environments, but these groups allow us to have more connected relationships that create accountability, care and discipleship. Gathering with other people on the same journey as you is vital to your spiritual growth.
One New Thing
Try something new. New helps us expand our horizons. It challenges us to stretch and gives us room to grow. It may be doing one of the things I have already shared. It might be reading a book on a spiritual topic that is outside your comfort zone such as spiritual gifts, healing or fasting. It might be attending a conference or a convention of some type. I grew up around a gathering we called “Camp Meeting” which was a regional or statewide style revival. I still try to attend one every year. It might be sharing your faith publicly, either speaking or writing a blog or sharing something God has done for you on social media. It may be as simple as inviting your neighbor to join you at church. Get out of your box and stretch yourself. Try something new this year. It may accelerate your spiritual growth like never before.
Make It A Part Of Your To-Do List
I use a task list everyday. Recently, the one of choice is Wunderlist. There are tasks that I complete every single day. I check them off, but the following morning they appear again. Bible reading and prayer are a part of that list. It is something that is important to me and I want to make sure they are a part of every day. Many of you are already using some type of checklist to make sure you get things done. Don’t leave off the most important things. Make them a part of the things you do everyday and then they will become habit.
I want to grow with you this year. Maybe you have some other suggestions of ways we can grow together. If you do, make sure you share them in the comments below and let’s make sure we make the spiritual progress we desire in 2018.