HOW IT WORKS...
How do we grow spiritually? We understand physical growth and maturing. We try to grow as an individual emotionally and intellectually. A lot of people are very "intentional" about keeping their bodies in good shape. They work out, eat healthy and try to get the rest needed to keep them operating physically at their best. Many are also committed to learning and growing in their understanding of the world around them. Some are extremely dedicated to increasing their knowledge base so they can increase in value in their chosen career fields. Some have a written plan they follow to help they stay on track in their growth and development.
But what about growing spiritually? Do you have a plan? Many church going individuals would have to honestly answer..."no". The old saying "if you fail to plan you plan to fail" is a true statement when it comes to spiritual growth. King David who wrote many of the old testament Psalms said it this way:
10 With my whole heart I seek you;
let me not wander from your commandments!
11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you. (Ps. 119:10,11)
INTENTIONAL! That is the operative word. Growth is never accidental. We must be intentional about it and that means we need a plan that we can execute. That same King David who penned the words above was called out by God to fight a giant when he was a young man. This was before he was a King. The giant was clad in armor for war but David had only his leisure attire and a sling shot. David was offered the armor of King Saul but that armor was too big. But David had more than a slingshot, he was spiritually mature enough to understand this and say these words to the Philistine giant:
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand" (I Sam. 17:45-46)
How did David get there? Remember the words from the Psalm he wrote "I have stored up your word in my heart". David could speak with confidence about a God he knew.
David was very intentional about his spiritual growth. At the Grace Place Church we offer a variety of ways for you to grow spiritually. One of my favorite is our Monday Night GPU (Grace Place University) classes. Most of the classes are offered for FREE. In fact if you do not have a Bible we will provide you one for FREE when you attend one of the four 101 classes we offer: Discover your Bible, Discover your purpose, Discover your Faith, Discover your Mission.
Just as we would be "intentional" about our physical body care and development we must be intentional about our spiritual growth.
First things first...
GROWTH PLANNING Pt. 1
The younger you are in your faith and in the church the more eager you are to learn. That's not always the case but over all that is a fairly accurate picture. I have discovered that new converts are eager to sign up for classes, learn how to use new tools for Bible study and of course attend church.
So what about long term Christians? Sounds a bit like a terminal condition right? lol. Some are as excited about Jesus as when they first met Him and they love to learn too. Others are a bit weary, they have heard a lot of preaching and teaching and given a lot of time in serving others. The things that are new to a new convert are things they have heard before. The problem is there was never a spiritual growth plan in place in their lives. What they did early in their walk with God, that ignited them spiritually, no longer works. They have lost connection with the purpose for a plan.
I know what you are saying right now...Just give me the top three, four, or five tips for putting together my growth plan.
You need to hear this first...
NO GROWING WITHOUT KNOWING! You cannot hope to grow spiritually without intimate connection with Jesus. The beginning of an effective spiritual growth plan is not with the tools: Bible, commentary, classes, church service, pod cast, seminars, small group...The Beginning is JESUS! Over the years I have watched the lives of those God has graced me to serve. I am always surprised to find out there are some who attend church faithfully but do not seem to love the Lord. How is it that you could hang out in His house and not fall madly in Love Him?
‘These people, says God, honor me with their words,
but their heart is really far away from me.
9 It is no use for them to worship me,
because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!’” (Matt. 15:8,9 GNT)
God is not into religion. If you want to know Him you need to spend time in His presence. From my early childhood I have been captivated by His presence. I love Him so much it is impossible to express in human language. He is faithful, gentle, loving, kind, compassionate, just, never failing, always revealing a new facet of Himself to me daily. Do you know Him? Oh I hope you do. How awesome is His name! How majestic is His rule! If I had the tongues of men and angels I would struggle to express a single facet of His nature. But I love HIM because He first loved me.
The starting point is JESUS. I would encourage you to find a place where you can spend time with him right now. Invite Him into the room, ask Him to be Lord and Leader of your life. Tell Him how much you want to know Him. Open your heart to His presence. He loves you so much. This is your moment. This is the beginning of your Spiritual Growth Planning.
"Jesus we love you so much. We invite you into the room, into our hearts, into our lives our decision making. Be the Lord and Leader of our lives. We believe you died for us and that you rose again from the dead. Forgive us all our sins and reveal yourself to us. In Jesus name"
Next Week: Intentional Growth Planning Pt. 2