Spiritual Growth Comes With Spiritual Exercise

“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.” -2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Last week I mentioned the “Reveal” study and some insights about spiritual growth. The main takeaway should have been that spiritual growth happens when we reflect upon and study the Bible. Thankfully, Christians who lived before us came up with a daily process of becoming a more committed disciple of Jesus. This process they called spiritual discipline. Discipline is training that produces a beneficial character, behavior or habit in us. We often think of discipline to correct bad habits and instill good ones. This idea comes from the Bible, that in order to be a disciple, we must first begin with discipline.

St. Paul above reminds us that when we encounter the risen Christ in the Bible, He makes us new creations! God Himself forms us and shapes us. How does this happen? Over and over again, four spiritual disciplines are mentioned by Christians of old. They are daily Bible reading, daily prayer, daily solitude and journaling about spiritual growth. These spiritual disciplines fit nicely together. Solitude is the key that we need to disconnect from the world and reconnect with God. I don’t have to tell you that you are busy, you already know. Once every day, make the conscious effort to turn off the TV, the music, and the noise and set everything aside. Find a quiet place in your home away from people. Don’t check your phone. Now open your Bible. Read and listen to God’s voice. I follow a daily reading plan through the entire Bible each year. You can also follow the reading plan in our bulletin or another one you prefer. After reading, sit in silence for a while and think about what you read and how that applies to you. Then spend time in prayer. Pour out your heart to God. I keep a list of weekly prayers that I pray every day. If I have ever told you that I will pray for you, you have been on my list. Then record your progress. I do this in my daily planner. You can also do this in a journal. The recording of our progress keeps us accountable. Plus, we can look back and see growth over time. It usually takes me twenty to thirty minutes each day to do this daily habit from start to finish. Yours may be shorter or longer. It only matters that YOU DO IT.

I’ll be honest with you. Spiritual growth takes time, a lot of it! Don’t think that you will become St. Augustine, Martin Luther or Mother Teresa over night! But remember, God is faithful and He will accomplish all of His promises in you in time. God’s invitation for us all is “Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts (Malachi 3:7).” Make time for God and He will accept your invitation.

God Bless,

Pastor Joel