It took a very long time for me to get on a roller coaster, but once I did I was hooked. This was a huge step for me since I am very afraid of heights. But I love the feeling of going up and down very fast. I like the tight turns and the smooth arcing circles that take me upside down. These are all the things that make roller coasters popular. No one wants to go on a roller coaster that stays relatively flat with no ups and downs. What makes a roller coaster awesome is what makes our spiritual life less than awesome.
How many of you, one time or a hundred times, have said something like this: “I’m going to start reading my Bible every day, starting now” or “I’m going to get up early and pray.” We all have good intentions and even start out great, but then there is a busy day or a bad day. We miss one day, it turns into two and then a week, and we look back and think “why do I always do this?” Your spiritual life is like a roller coaster, you are always going up or down and there is no continuation in the same direction. If this describes you, then keep reading because I have some thoughts.
1. The Goal
The goal of spiritual growth is NOT to read your Bible every day, pray every day, or fast once a week. The goal of Spiritual growth is to have a growing relationship with Christ that is active and life changing. Now some of the ways we do that are reading, praying, fasting, and doing other things, but we need to not mix up how we get to the goal with the actual goal.
2. Get Rid of Distractions
If you are trying to pray or read your Bible at your desk in front of your computer with the game on, your email open, or Facebook up, you are probably having a hard time paying attention and hearing from God. Find a place to spend time with God that is comfortable and is free from distractions. That place could be in your house or in the parking lot at a park.
3. Vary Your Approach
Some of you can have a prayer list and run through that each and every day and it never get stale. Others find that after doing the same thing for a week it becomes a routine, and then they lose focus, so change things up. Don’t pray for the same thing in the same way each day. Read your Bible differently. As you read through New Testament books look for similar words or phrases and see how they are used. For example, read through Romans and highlight, underline, or circle every time a form of the word “faith” or “righteousness” is used. When you are done look back and see what Paul is trying to communicate with those words.
4. Read a Book or Do a Bible Study on Spiritual Growth
Here are some recommendations:
- Into the Depths of God by Calvin Miller
- Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster
- Discipleship Essentials by Greg Ogden
- What on Earth Am I Here For by Rick Warren
5. Don’t Be Clayton Moore
Clayton Moore was the actor who played the Lone Ranger on the tv show. Most Christians are really good at trying to go at spiritual growth alone, and you don’t want to do this. You are meant to grow spiritually in community with others. So find someone that you can discuss what you are reading with. Find someone that you can pray with, pray for, and that will pray for you. Get connected in a life group. Lasting spiritual growth will not happen without community and accountability.