.Why you’ll ACTUALLY obtain spiritual growth this year.
Everyone loves a new beginning right? The first of the year, the top of the month, and a good ole Monday! I know I do. I’m 100% the “I’ll start on Monday” girl. Something about these make you feel refreshed and boosts your confidence to finally dedicate yourself to whatever it is you’re doing; Mondays just offer something that Thursdays don’t! My friend once said, “why do people act as if life just resets itself every New Year?” lol. Because lying to ourselves feels good sometimes! Duh! Aside from Mondays, January 1st is when the top sham goals and resolutions are made, and I think the top two contenders would have to be the good ole “get physically healthy and in shape” and “to grow spiritually.” I myself am guilty of setting these at the top of the year, and the top of the year…and the top of the year.
Unfortunately, the one that I struggled the MOST with was spiritual growth. I can remember saying “this year I’m going to read the entire Bible” as far back as like 2010 and I legit just did that like a year and a half ago.
I think that the biggest mistake that people (including myself) make when it comes to spiritually growing is that they wait for it. We know that God is all powerful and able to do all things so the idea of Him actually requiring us to do something is like “WHY?!?” or in a less politically correct manner, we are kinda lazy. (The first step is always admittance) So we wait. Literally. We wait on God. We open up the Bible to a random verse and just “wait” on something from God; waiting to hear a voice, see some sign, or feel something “Godly” to feel spiritual. [Then we wake up two hours later and realize that we read four lines.]
“Welp! Thanks for the fellowship time God, I have to go meet my friends now, but remember that I just love you! I want you to take control over my life. I want to see you and grow spiritually and be closer to you. See ya!”
This is how a lot of us approach our time with God; in a hurry and all on Him. I’m not saying anything that I haven’t been guilty of myself. The actual problem is that
We all know that nothing of value comes without hard work and sacrifice, and just as you sacrifice your sleep for early morning workouts (or TV time if you work out at night) and you beat your temptation for unhealthy meals in order to reach your goal of PHYSICAL strength, that’s the same deliberate effort needed if you want your spirit to strengthen. It’s literally that straightforward. I think that sometimes we make it seem more difficult so we can say it’s too hard to do and excuse ourselves from the responsibility without feeling too bad. Sacrifice means you deprive yourself of what you’d rather do to do what you know is better for you. Whether it’s a burger for a salad or TV for a prayer.
Let’s start with a basic foundational lesson. Our beings are composed of three parts; your true self is your spirit/inner being/inner man/your heart etc. (these are how they are interchangeably used in the Bible) However, we obviously live on earth in a physical realm so we need a physical body to encapsulate it, and then you also have a soul, which is composed of your mind and emotions. Your spirit is what gives you life because once it leaves your body, you are no longer living. Are we all together? Great.
The Bible says, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. One of the hardest things to do is to have your spirit LEAD your flesh and the only way to do that is to strengthen it. So how do you strengthen it exactly? The same way you can strengthen the physical and visible body is the same way you can strengthen the spiritual and invisible inner man. The same way that you nourish your body with healthy food and strengthen its muscles with exercise; the same way you feed your mind with books and exercise it with Sudoku, is the same way you approach strengthening your spirit.
The difference is that your nourishment or food for your spirit is the Word of God [sorry there’s no getting around that one]. That’s what you feed it; and you don’t just intake the word, it has to be QUALITY intake. Just like you make sure your form for your exercises are correct and qualitative so you get something out of it and not waste your time at the gym, that is what you need to do when you read your Bible. Imagine getting on a leg press machine, literally doing 5 reps randomly, then falling asleep and being done for the day. Lol What kind of workout is that right? Do you expect to have ripped quads from that? So would you be in your Bible for 5 minutes haphazardly then expect true spiritual growth? Not really.
Here’s how I personally approached it because the struggle was real. I KNEW reading my Bible was important I just never did it and if I tried, nothing made sense and I fell asleep. It all changed when I made a conscientious decision to do it. I told myself I’m GOING to know You more God. I’m not going to keep saying I want to know Him more, I will. The most important part was that I put it on myself and not Him! I went full “Stage 5 Clinger” on Him!
See now I’ve realized that God always looks for you to make the first move. All those popular scripture you’ve heard before like “Seek and you shall find” “Ask and I’ll answer” “Knock and I’ll open the door” All these require YOU to do something first. You have to seek, ask, and knock. You can’t just say “God You can do all things so make me ask, make me seek and make me knock…you’re putting all these demands on Him and He’s just like “or nah” lol.
A practical approach I took was before reading the Bible, I thanked God for his Word and prayed that as I read it, it would feed my spirit and allow for spiritual growth. I asked the Holy Spirit for understanding and remembrance. Dassit!
So now that you are eating right you have to exercise right? You also need to do exercises for your spirit and these exercises compose of praying (both in your understanding and in tongues), fasting, and serving the kingdom of God, etc.
• If you don’t know how to pray, follow what Jesus said when the disciples asked him HOW to pray in Matthew Chapter 6:9. Use it as a template</p> <p>• And if you want to know how to fast properly so that you’re not just starving yourself for a few days, refer to Isaiah 58.</p> <p>• Lastly, serving the kingdom of God can be a multitude of things, whether it’s helping out in the church, contributing to charity, helping the poor or the sick, all that matters is that your heart is in the right place. If your heart is not then you’re just simply doing good deeds and being a person who does just good doesn’t get you into Heaven. It’s the connection with Jesus that does.<br />
So remember that just as you put a conscious effort into getting fit, that’s what you need to do to get spiritually fit. God isn’t going to just drop a beam of light on you because you want spiritual growth. In a nutshell, you have to do what you have to do! Everyday we wake up, most of the time tired, with a job to go to; we are tired and we don’t want to go, but we do what we have to do. So do what you have to do. No one likes eating salads, but we eat it because we know it’s good; no one likes to exercise (btw when I say no one I mean myself), but we do it because we TRUST that although we are working with flabs right now, someday it will lead to (unseen) abs. You’re working towards abs you don’t SEE, but KNOW you’ll get through these actions. You’re actually practicing true faith. lol.
So try to bring the needs of your spirit to your consciousness. When you have your breakfast that feeds your body, think about having breakfast for your spirit. Throughout your day after having lunch and dinner ask yourself “did I my spirit even eat today?” After hitting the gym ask, “okay I got my cardio in for my body today, but have I exercised my spirit yet”. Bringing it to your consciousness will help.
Do these things in FAITH, do what you have to do knowing that God will take care of the rest. At the end of the day, YOU have to actually WANT to grow spiritually, like with anything in life, if your heart isn’t in it you wont do it, or even if you do it you won’t succeed. Remind yourself that you said you wanted spiritual growth, so that’s what you are doing. When you ready yourself that’s when God will give you spiritual revelations and show Himself to you on a deeper level. Remember, there are levels to this.
You can use the support of friends, pray for each other, maybe set up reading plans and keep each other accountable, but remember that you are the only one responsible for yourself, and trust God on this! (Trust me too though! Lol) , and KEEP going. Don’t just stop after a week, cuz someone called the devil will show up. The same way you’re quick to proclaim that being healthy and physically fit is a “lifestyle” that takes a long term commitment, be just as quick to accept and proclaim that a Christian walk is also a “lifestyle.” It’s not a set of rules; it’s WHO you are. Here’s to knowing better and doing better!
Yes, some of us know what to do and are just low key lazy, but I also realize that there are people who legit just don’t know how so I hope this was helpful. Well now we all know better, so here’s to knowing better and doing better!