God is Spirit and He is interested in seeing us develop spiritually. There is a lot of spiritual growth that can happen during our lifetime. Sometimes the growth goes fast and sometimes it takes a very long time. Being patient and being ok with a slow steady pace is actually a sign of spiritual maturity. Our spiritual self longs to be more like God. We are spiritual beings that need to exercise and grow. We spend a lot of time developing our physical strength and our physical abilities and it is time we paid attention to our spiritual development. Thankfully the Lord can assist us in our growth. He didn’t leave us to our own devices. His Spirit and His Word are with us on this journey. We can learn a lot from them and see growth. The Bible tells us to be doers of the Word and not just listeners so for us to grow spiritually there has to be some engagement and some effort on our part. It is not always easy and it doesn’t come naturally at times but the good news is that it will happen if we stick with it. Today I want to underline three steps toward our spiritual growth with God. Jesus is our best inspiration and our best role model. Let’s see what He shows us about spiritual growth.
Step 1: Developing a prayer life
When Jesus was on earth, He spent a lot of time in prayer. He got up early to pray. Sometimes He spent the whole night praying. He isolated Himself from people so He could be alone with the Father. Now, if Jesus needed to pray, we certainly need to do the same thing. Jesus being the Son of God had a direct line to the Father and yet He wanted to pray a lot. I noticed a while ago that prayer can seem very complicated and almost daunting. It can sound very ritualistic and mundane. It can be very formal and very out of touch with reality. That is how I described it to myself when I was growing up. A little over 17 years ago, my prayer life changed drastically. I set aside the formalities and I just talked to God. He knows everything about us and He knows what we need before we even ask. I made it simple. I talked to Him and approached Him like the Father that He is. I also realized that prayer was a two-way street and it was a time for us to listen to the Father. Sometimes we have to listen more than we speak. Prayer is an intimate time of fellowship with God and it doesn’t have to be formal, tedious and boring. Start your day with prayer, talk to the Father and listen to His loving voice. Make time for prayer throughout the day and end the day on a peaceful prayer note.
Step 2: Making worship and praise a daily event
I know I mention praise and worship a lot and it is for a great reason. Praise and worship are a powerful way to adore the Lord, to honor Him and to show Him respect. David was a great worship leader who knew the heart of the Lord and because He did, He celebrated the Lord with worship. The Lord inhabits our praises so when we praise Him, we get closer to Him. Worship and praise bring the presence of the Lord onto the scene. Our spirits were meant to worship the Lord so when we do, we train ourselves to do what we were created to do. We shouldn’t wait until Sunday to worship the Lord. It should be a daily occurrence. I saw a powerful change in my prayer life when I attached praise and worship to it. I have also experienced great peace and joy throughout the day when I puncture the day with praise and worship. They are a great spiritual habit to uphold. On a few occasions Jesus sang hymns and praised God. If He did it then we ought to do it as well.
Step 3: Walking in love
These three steps are not meant to be in any particular order. As a matter of fact, they should be taken at the same time. One is not more important than the others but walking in love would be the top one if we were to choose one. God is love and we should follow His lead. He tells us to love Him and to love our neighbors like ourselves. Since God is love, walking in love is following in His footsteps. It is a very spiritual act and it draws us closer to God. We will make great progress if we are able to keep walking in love despite life. Life has a way of bringing us down or getting us frustrated and irritated. Things out of our control happen. We can’t make people do what we want and we can’t control their actions. However, we can control how much love we show them and how focused we are on Jesus when dealing with people and dealing with terrible circumstances. Jesus walked in love to the end. Nothing made Him change His mind about people. His love drove Him to do the unthinkable and to die for us. Love is a spiritual force that enables us to do the impossible.
There are other steps toward spiritual growth but these three steps can help us be on our way. It takes work and determination but we can ask God for His assistance. Let’s be fervent in our prayers. Let’s adore the Lord every day and let’s walk in love even when the road is paved with hurdles and trials!
Suggested reading: Mark 14:26; 1 Corinthians 16:14; Ephesians 5:1-33