4 Goals for Spiritual Growth
When I was younger we called it a daily quiet time. It was preached and taught often as critical for our spiritual health. I knew that I was supposed to carve out a portion of my day to read the Bible and pray.
I was never able to do it so I always felt like a substandard Christian.
It was hard to make myself sit still everyday to do it. I am still not particularly good at it, but I have set some goals that have been helpful for my spiritual growth.
Let me share them with you today.
Bible studies and programs of study that help people grow spiritually represent a key piece of the Christian life.
However, I continually encounter people who have little or no knowledge of scripture and enter the conversation at the most basic level. I also regularly encounter people who have great intentions but never can develop the appropriate disciplines. They need some basic goals to continue their spiritual growth.
In the spirit of keeping your promises this year involving spiritual growth, I want to offer to you four basic goals. If you can achieve these four goals then you will be amazed at the foundation you have laid for a deeper spiritual life.
Read scripture for the story it tells.
Rediscover the story of Scripture. We have dissected Scripture and bible-studied it to death. We break apart verses, parse nuanced theological ideas, and muse over possible meanings. The Bible works at its best when we sit down to read it like it was meant to be read.
Begin with the gospels and simply read them to discover their story about Jesus. Then move to the Psalms. Once you have a good rhythm start in Genesis and acquaint yourself with the grand sweep of the biblical story.
Just read it and do not make it too complicated. Discover the revelation of God to human beings. Reading the story will draw you into regular reading of scripture.
Embrace prayer as conversation.
Listen to yourself pray. Are those your words you are using or are they words you have heard someone else use? Prayer should reflect your most intimate conversation with God. Tell God what is on your mind in the most basic conversational language you use every day.
Did I mention prayer also requires listening? Good praying has as much listening as speaking.
Open your life to the other.
Jesus calls us to love our neighbor as ourself. Time and time again he calls his followers to pay attention to those in need who are all around them.
Our spiritual life becomes strengthened in direct relationship to how much we invest our lives in other people.
Loving others grows the love of Christ in us.
Admit to yourself you are not perfect.
Give yourself a break. A stronger spiritual life will be yours as soon as you admit you have and will make mistakes with your life. Paul writes about it eloquently in Romans 6 and he reflected the life-long struggle we all have with ourselves.
Accepting your selfishness and need for grace paves the way for spiritual growth.
These four simple goals will form the foundation of spiritual growth you seek this year. As you pursue each of these goals you will discover your spiritual life deepening and your desire for even greater growth filling your life. Spiritual growth requires a lifetime commitment.
Take small steps and reach for these basic goals.
Did you make a promise to yourself to grow spiritually this year? Do you have goals?