Re-Hacked #3: Why Your Current Plan For Spiritual Growth Doesn’t Work

To mark the one-year anniversary of the beginning of this blog, I am re-posting some of my favorite posts from the past year. This post first appeared on June 7.

Dieting with just the notion of eating better doesn’t have deep impact, you must have a plan. Going to the gym and working out without a set idea about what areas you need to work on will result in little overall improvement. And learning a language by just opening up a non-translated book will not get you very far if you have not created a method to learn the language. How far does your money go if you don’t have a budget?

The reason that most of our current plans for spiritual growth do not work is because we have no plan for spiritual growth. Some days we pray a little, some days we read our Bible, some days we sing a few praise songs, and some days we forget all together. But there is no regular pattern, no plan, nothing written down that holds us accountable and reminds us of what we are trying to accomplish. Often times, we are not lacking in good intentions but we fail to put those intentions into action. A strategy for spiritual growth will serve as a motivation tool for us and keep us out of the haphazard practices that often fail.

In this space, I have recommended and detailed the Spiritual Enrichment Workout. When completed, this only takes 15-20 minutes and covers scripture readingprayer, worship, and silence. You can choose to follow this plan or create one on your own but the point is to have a plan for spiritual growth. If you don’t, you will have the same frustrating experiences that have marked many of our half-hearted attempts at getting healthier or learning a new skill. I know it doesn’t sound very spiritual to be regimented about your spiritual life but Christian history dating back to Jesus has shown us example after example of the value of intentional spiritual practices and strategies.

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Overcoming Life Distractions

Dallas Mavericks Original Logo used from 1980-...

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Yesterday, I talked about the need to formulate a plan for spiritual growth. It is ironic that I was discussing this when my Spiritual Enrichment Plan has been highly disrupted over the last month or so. The culprit? The Dallas Mavericks. I have followed the Mavs since I was a kid and have been overwhelmingly swept away by their run to the NBA Finals this year. I have stayed up until 1 a.m. some nights after wins, catching up on Tweets from the game and rewatching decisive moments. Some mornings, I have been so distracted that I scour the internet, wanting to read reaction to the games I have been watching. I am obsessive compulsive when it comes to these types of events and it has taken its toll on my time, energy, and focus. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed every minute of it and thank God for the sheer enjoyment and fun that these playoffs have provided but I will be relieved when it is all over.

When it is all over, hopefully with a Mavs win, I plan to take a week long sports fast to cleanse myself of my obsessive tendencies. I plan to finish a few books that I have been reading. I plan to return to a more normal routine of time with God and focus on what he is doing in my life. The key point is I am returning to my plan and refocusing myself on what is most important to me, becoming more Christlike. You see, if we are going to treat our spiritual life much like we treat our diet, exercise, or education, we have to avoid the tendency to let life’s distractions derail our plan. We have to simply shake off the rust and return to what we started or we have to rethink the way we are doing things and start anew. Too many times, we want to abandon our plan when we have a few hiccups and failures. Don’t abandon your plan just because you become distracted. You can start over and make it work.

Why Your Current Plan For Spiritual Growth Doesn’t Work

Dieting with just the notion of eating better doesn’t have deep impact, you must have a plan. Going to the gym and working out without a set idea about what areas you need to work on will result in little overall improvement. And learning a language by just opening up a non-translated book will not get you very far if you have not created a method to learn the language. How far does your money go if you don’t have a budget?

The reason that most of our current plans for spiritual growth do no work is because we have no plan for spiritual growth. Some days we pray a little, some days we read our Bible, some days we sing a few praise songs, and some days we forget all together. But there is no regular pattern, no plan, nothing written down that holds us accountable and reminds us of what we are trying to accomplish. Often times, we are not lacking in good intentions but we fail to put those intentions into action. A strategy for spiritual growth will serve as a motivation tool for us and keep us out of the haphazard practices that often fail.

In this space, I have recommended and detailed the Spiritual Enrichment Workout. When completed, this only takes 15-20 minutes and covers scripture reading, prayer, worship, and silence. You can choose to follow this plan or create one on your own but the point is to have a plan for spiritual growth. If you don’t, you will have the same frustrating experiences that have marked many of our half-hearted attempts at getting healthier or learning a new skill. I know it doesn’t sound very spiritual to be regimented about your spiritual life but Christian history dating back to Jesus has shown us example after example of the value of intentional spiritual practices and strategies.