Today, I read an article by Rick Warren. He talked about spiritual growth. As I read it, I felt encouraged to grow more spiritually, but I realized that although he talked about growing spiritually, he didn’t mention how this would happen, specifically.
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose. – Philippians 2:12-13
This was one of the key scriptures that he mentioned. I’ve thought of this scripture often times when I think about growing.
“This verse shows the two parts of spiritual growth: “work out” and “work in.” The “work out” is your responsibility, and the “work in” is God’s role. Spiritual growth is a collaborative effort between you and the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit works with us, not just in us.” -Rick Warren
There is a part of the growing that is God’s job. He works in us and grows us the way that he desires for us to grow, but there is another type of growing that is our part. It is rarely discussed, or at least that I’ve seen. Sometimes, we look for practical help…
We have a job to do in the growing. From my experience, it, partially, has to do with a change of mind and a change of actions.
We have to begin to look at our thought patterns and ask ourselves, do these thought patterns line up with what I believe, with the word of God, and with the life of Christ. When we find a point where they don’t, we must be very active in changing them. From there we have to be proactive about producing positive thoughts that line up with who we are spiritually.
We have to tell ourselves things like, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.”(Philippians 4:13 ) We have to “cast down every vain imagination that would rise up against the knowledge of God”(2 Corinthians 10:5) in our lives, to include who He is and what He has enabled us to do. In changing these thought processes, we have to say these things out loud so that we can hear it. Those words will stop us in our tracks and help us to begin to make changes.
Then we must begin to line our actions up with the word of God, what we believe, and the life of Christ. We have to begin to observe our actions and ask, do my actions line up with who I am spiritually. If not, we must take the steps necessary to change them.
Let me tell you what some of this looks like, from my perspective…
I remember a specific point in my life where things were really hard. My relationships were in trouble, I could not get where it seemed that I needed to be in my career… and spiritually…I was drowning. I had decided that I was going to do all that I could to grow in every possible way. So I built myself a spiritual emergency kit.
Now in the natural, there are certain things that I keep with me all the time, especially when I leave home…my phone, my keys, and my wallet or purse.
Because I was trying to grow, I found that there were certain things that would help me spiritually and I could depend on them all of the time, so I kept them with me… my bible,my prayer journal, and my promise bible.
I could be found at any given time with these in my possession. If we went out to dinner and I got a little frustrated, which I did very often at this time in my life, I would pull out my promise bible and read the promises that pertained to stress.
I would have these items with me as I watched tv, visited friends, and went to the grocery store. I remember being asked why I brought my bible with me everywhere. What the person asking did not know was that I was on a mission and my biblical survival kit was my life line. If I felt that I couldn’t hear from God in a specific moment because of my emotions, I could see the words on the paper.
Over time, this action changed my thought process and my thought process changed me. I relied on God more than I ever had in my life and through viewing His word all day, especially when emotionally weak, He changed me.
My action was…surrender
Do you see an example of what it looks like? Now I have to admit that at every point in my spiritual growth, it looks differently. I no longer need to read my bible at dinner because I’m different. Now the word of God arises within me and I make choices based upon what I know to be right in God’s sight, but I still need His word. It is life changing.
The practical steps that we take in our lives to grow must be intentional, purposeful, and continual.
What steps are you taking to grow spiritually? Have you changed the things that you do over time because you find that some work better than others or are you stuck and need ideas?
I would love to hear from you.