“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Intuitively we know that to be true. But change is only good when it contributes to growth. Ellen Glasgow said, “all change is not growth, as all movement is not forward.” Change for the sake of change isn’t a good thing. It becomes a good thing when change enables us to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
One of the things that can happen to Christians is the idea that I want to grow, but I don’t want to change. That’s like saying I want to lose weight but I am going to eat all three meals and drink 3 bottles of coke everyday. A lot of people hire personal trainers to help them lose weight. But a personal trainer has no miracle solution. They can’t say something inspirational and you lose 50 pounds. The reality is that change and growth won’t happen quickly and it won’t happen at all if we do not take the steps necessary to get us there.
Those small steps if you want to lose weight are to eat smaller portions, eat healthy foods, and exercise. That makes sense. There are no short cuts. The same is true of our spiritual growth. If you are happy with your spiritual growth, then keep doing what you have been doing. However, if you are unhappy with your rate of growth, change. It actually isn’t much more complicated than that.
If you are struggling with spiritual growth and little life change is occurring, then where is the breakdown? Are you allowing God to use his tools of the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and circumstances? Are you praying? Are you engaged with other believers to hold you accountable, challenge, encourage, and support your life change?
What changes will be required for you to grow as a follower of Jesus Christ? Maybe you will need to adjust your schedule so you can more consistently spend time reading the Bible and talking with God through prayer. Perhaps you will need to get more actively involved in a particular ministry of the church. Or it could be something else entirely that God impresses upon you. Whatever it is, you will need to change if you hope to grow.
- What event/activity/season of life caused your spiritual life to grow the most?
- At what period of your life would you describe as the time when you were closest to God?
- What changes/steps would you have to make in your life now in order to grow more spiritually?