I recently asked readers to describe where they were in their spiritual journey. The answers were widely varied, from those just starting out on the journey, to those who had fallen off the path, to those well on their way to spiritual maturity. Yet, each answer had a common theme – no matter the starting place, we each had a desire to grow and take a step further in that journey. So, if you really want to take steps in your faith journey and grow closer to God, why not be focused and purposeful about your spiritual growth?
Do You Want to Grow Your Faith This Year?
Decide for yourself – do you want to grow in your faith this year? Do you want to discover all God has planned for you? Do you want to tap into the power that comes from faith – the peace, joy and hope that surpass all understanding? If so, set a spiritual growth goal along with your other resolutions for this new year.
4 Practical Steps to Achieve Spiritual Growth This Year
1) Be purposeful and make spiritual growth a priority
Treat spiritual growth like any other goal you have. Give it priority in your life and be purposeful in your approach. Make a plan and set incremental steps you can reach. Hold yourself accountable to making progress on your plan.
2) Find a community
Faith is best lived and developed in community, so make sure you’re plugged into a vibrant community of faith. How can you get more involved in your church or find a church home if you don’t currently have one? Ideally get involved with a real-life faith community and make relationships in person. However, if you’re not physically able to get to church or can’t find an encouraging faith community nearby, find a community online.
3) Open your Bible and get into God’s word
If you want to grow closer to God, you need to get into His Word. Don’t settle for someone else’s summary or interpretation. Get into the Word for yourself and allow God to speak directly into your heart. Devotionals, Bible studies, and sermons are good, but there’s no substitute for reading the pages of the Bible for yourself. If you’d like to follow a reading plan, look at Biblegateway.com. They have a number of different (free) reading plans available.
4) Start a conversation in prayer
Prayer is essential for spiritual growth. This is how we engage in conversation with God, sharing our hearts and listening for His response. Schedule time in your day to pray and make it a habit. Start small and build up the time you spend in prayer. If you need guidance in your prayer, try the (free) Pray As You Go app. This leads you through a time of prayer, focusing on a daily scripture and reflection. Or, if you need ideas on how to pray, get my new Prayer Toolbox here, a resource with more than 50 ideas to inspire your prayers.
Ideas to Get Started…
If you want to get plugged into a church community, start by getting up on Sunday morning and going to church. If you don’t have one, choose one to visit. Maybe it won’t be the right fit. Maybe it won’t feel comfortable. Maybe it will be take all you’ve got to walk in the door. But, take the first step. Then, set some next steps to visit and choose a church home, become a member, get involved in a small group, make 5 new friends, and so on.
If you want to read the Bible, start with one chapter. If you’ve tried before and always seem to give up when you hit Leviticus, try a different reading plan. Start with the New Testament or choose one that has a reading from the Old Testament, Psalms, and the New Testament, so you have some variety. Make a plan, but don’t give up just because you get busy and fall behind. Pick up where you left and keep going.
If you want to hear God’s voice in your life, start with “hello” and open the conversation. Start today with a prayer to re-introduce yourself to God and ask Him to speak into your life. Then, commit to 5 minutes a day of prayer, working up to more and more as you build your prayer muscle. This one will be more difficult to measure progress, but you can hold yourself accountable to spending time with God each day.
What Step Will You Take Today?
Results are hard to predict for a goal like spiritual growth, but if you commit to taking these four steps, you’ll be changed. When we enter into relationship with God and commit to spending tine with Him, He’ll begin to do real work in our hearts and bring about real transformation. Are you ready to get started? What first step will you take this week?
Want to get started today? Get your copy of the Prayer Toolbox to jump-start your prayer life. Whether you’re just getting started, want to recommit to your prayer habits, or need to break out of a prayer slump, this resource is full of ideas to inspire your prayers. This resource provides instruction on 16 different prayer methods and includes over 50 ideas on how to use these methods in your daily prayers. Click the image below to learn more and get your copy today!