In my last blog, I introduced the idea – and need – to choose a lifestyle of continual growth. As I move through these later years of my life, it becomes more and more obvious that it’s one thing to talk about something and quite another to put it into practice. As we delve further into what it means to be always growing, my goal is to share some helpful things for you to consider and hopefully implement. Intentionality is necessary if we are to raise the bar in our pursuit of God in this crucial stage of life.
A Pathway to Growth
A commitment to continual growth requires knowing ourselves and being willing to examine who we are and who we aren’t. Begin by identifying the areas of your life that are good and in which you excel. Conversely, you also need to recognize where you need to improve.
Scripture encourages us to be humble, and to walk in the light as we seek Him with our whole hearts. As He searches and tests our hearts (Psalm 139:23), we will recognize things that require confession. Thankfully, Hebrews 4:16 assures us that we are able to approach God with confidence, knowing that He loves us more than we can comprehend.
As we grow in our awareness of God’s love and grace for us, it will also increase our ability to accurately assess our strengths and weaknesses. We will more clearly see our flaws, AND be able to allow God to help us with our shortcomings. Asking friends to help you identify these things can also be helpful. Just first be sure you are willing to hear some things about yourself about which you may not be aware. Additionally, be sure your motives for asking stem from a genuine desire to improve.
A key area we must be willing to assess is our devotional life. Are you satisfied with the time you spend reading God’s Word? With the amount of time you spend in prayer? Of course, all of us have room for improvement, but we may need to take a hard look at how much value we place on our alone time with God. Our actions truly do reflect our values. Let’s not fool ourselves to think that by just saying something, it means we are faithfully doing it. For example, if we say we are praying for something or someone, do we really take the time to do so?
Developing A Growth Plan
Once we get a good picture of ourselves, it will be important to develop a plan for growth. Realistically, I believe we all benefit from help. I’ve had a life coach for several years, who helps me track with the goals I have in all the areas of my life. If getting a coach is out of reach, find a friend to help keep you on task.
Next, find a small group of like-minded friends with whom you can meet regularly for the purpose of spiritual growth. Not all your friends may be interested in this pursuit. Choose ones who have a hunger to grow in their faith and a willingness to engage in an honest and genuine manner.
Finally, friends, take this seriously. If we aren’t growing, I would challenge that we are neglecting God’s Word. God LOVES us as we are, but CALLS us to be continually transformed to be more like Him.
The Joy and the Challenge
If I’ve learned anything in my 70 years of life, it’s that being in the center of God’s intention for me is the very best place to be. Our joy is connected to our personal relationship with Jesus. The closer we are to Him, the more fulfilled and satisfied we become.
Friends, being faithful in this stage of life should be our greatest desire. Let’s finish our race, giving it our all as we face the home stretch. Easing up, being neglectful, or apathetic is found nowhere in Scripture. So let’s get going and let’s get growing!