The most important thing you can do right now as a follower of Christ is to develop a plan for Growing Up. God transforms and sanctifies us but he chooses to do it in a way that requires our participation and intention. It is something that you have to commit to and plan for. What is your plan?
Go to most churches and the priorities start with Church attendance and include giving and maybe some volunteer work and personal evangelism. Really, that is the plan for Growing Up? For spiritual maturity? For discipleship? That is how we develop Christlikeness and do “even greater things than these?” That is not good enough and makes Growing Up seem like a nice add on and supplement to the rest of church programming. Something for the overachievers rather than an essential element of following Christ.
As individuals, we have to have a plan for Growing Up. God very rarely zaps us into maturity and transformation.
What should our plan include? A priority should be character and heart transformation. Our goal is growth in the Fruits of the Spirit and especially love, joy, and peace. Remember this is a process and much of Growing Up is taking one step forward and two steps back. Jesus does the transformation but we have to invite him to do his work by placing ourselves at his feet through practices such as prayer, silence, praise, confession, and study.
Another priority should be imitation of Christ. This is immersing ourselves in the Gospels so that we understand Jesus, we see his Father the way he sees his Father, and we start to put into practice the things he did and taught. If we don’t have Jesus as our ultimate example then we are susceptible to any version of Christianity that fits our personal preferences and often requires very little of us.
Thirdly, our Growing Up plan should include community. We learn better in groups, we are held accountable in groups, and God seems to prefer to move most dramatically in groups. Growing Up is an individual process but it is not solitary and was never meant to be done alone. We need others to reach our potential as Christians.
In future posts, I will unpack some of these priorities in more detail. But for now, start thinking about your own plan for Growing Up. If you don’t have one and you are just hoping that through spiritual osmosis you are making progress, decide today to make a plan and take some initiative in your own spiritual growth.
- Pray for Christ’s transformation in your life and ask him to lead you to practices that will open up yourself to Christ’s work.
- Read and do everything you can to expose yourself to Jesus in the gospels. Listen to the Sermon on the Mount online, join Bible studies that focus on Jesus, and never let him out of your sight, so to speak.
- Commit to community. Invest in a small group and not just the content of a study but in the people and the service opportunities that spring out of these groups. Capture in fuller form the needs that are inside your small community but also the broader community and ask God to show you what you need to do about it.
The world is desperate for mature Christians and the reason they seem few and far between is because people do not have a plan for Growing Up. Develop one today.