It’s tempting to think spiritual growth happens like a factory line. If you listen to enough sermons and read enough books, you will believe there are seven steps to spiritual maturity, but that’s what can be so frustrating about Jesus. His plan and process is unique for each person who invites Him to take control of their life. Like my grandmother, He is a master chef, but He cooks the meals slightly different each time.
I was reading Wild at Heart recently and was reminded of God’s unique process for each one of us.
If you wanted to learn how to heal the blind and you thought that following Christ around and watching how he did it would make things clear, you’d wind up pretty frustrated. He never does it the same way twice. He spits on one guy; for another, he spits on the ground and makes mud and puts that on his eyes. To a third, he simply speaks, a fourth he touches, and from a fifth, he kicks out a demon. There are nor formulas with God. The way in which God heals our wound is a deeply personal process.
I think about my own story and how it has unique plot twists. While my friends were getting “saved” at a revival in Florida, I committed my life to Christ at a toilet in a bathroom in Knoxville. Even in the way God speaks to/leads me; it’s a very direct, sometimes sarcastic voice, mainly because I am stubborn and direct myself. God knows the pace and the unique plan he has for me and executes it to perfection every time, the same is true for your life.
God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in us. – 1 Corinthians 12:6
With that being said, after counseling and pastoring enough people, and my own life experiences I believe God uses certain predictable strategies to bring us to those crossroads moments in our life where change happens. Think of these as broad categories or “buckets” that all of us need in our life but inside of them God does unique things.
Digest as much scripture as possible
If you want a word from God, you have to get into the word of God. We have the ability to hear God’s voice every time we open the Bible. In my life, it has been a steady discipline of scripture that has brought the most change. When I read the Bible, it reads me more than I read it. The Bible is not just a book it is the living breathing words of God which means that it has the supernatural ability to give you the words you need to read. How many times have you sat down to read the Bible and been amazed at the accuracy of the message for that exact moment in your life? It doesn’t happen that way, but many times it does because the Bible is a living breathing book, it’s the voice of God.
Have a guiding voice in your life
Everyone needs a Gandolf, a Dumbledor; God uses wise voices to speak into our life. I can look back on my 15 years following Christ and identify 3 or 4 different voices for different seasons that God used to instruct, correct, and encourage me in the direction he was trying to take me. Are you someone who takes instruction well? Are you able to say no to something you want to say yes too because someone you trust thinks you should? Joshua had Moses; Timothy had Paul, Peter James and John had Jesus. For some reason, God chooses to use guiding voices to lead us to his ultimate destinations. If you don’t have a guiding voice in your life, pray and ask for one and I believe God will send them to you, you just need to be on the lookout and humble enough to listen and learn.
Be contributing to something making a difference
It’s hard to be selfish and grow. I’ve lived it and I’ve witnessed it my whole life. People come alive once they expend their energy in a cause greater than themselves. I’ve always found it fascinating how so many people who retire from the work force struggle to stay satisfied even though they can play as much golf, fish, or travel as much they want. A lot of the people I’ve met who struggle with depression are bored. I’m not implying that you can distract yourself from being depressed, but I do believe some people are depressed because they don’t have a cause to fight for.
I’ve experienced in my own life and seen countless others experience themselves that inside of a steady diet of Scripture, a relationship with a guiding voice, and selflessly contributing to a great cause, God speaks, grows, and leads us into the full life He promised he has for us.
What area(s) do you need to commit to?
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