By Cally Logan, Crosswalk.com
As the new year begins, there opens the beautiful possibility to grow into the new and now. The busyness of the holidays has passed, and the time to develop new habits that will activate growth is here today. As you cultivate a list of places where your heart feels inclined to grow, consider all the ways that you can grow spiritually.
1. Growth in the Word
Growth spiritually comes from knowing the heart of the Lord. John 1:1 shares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This verse reminds us that the Bible in itself is the heart of the Lord written out for us to indwell in. This means not reading it in a way to gloss over or skim, but richly diving in to come to know God better. The Word shows time and time again how the Lord proved faithful to His people, and it can encourage us in our struggles today. Hebrews 13:8 exclaims that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so the same God Who made way for those in the past can do the same today.
Moreover, the Word conveys how we can see the ways and truth of the Lord through His heart in action and compassion. Consider a Bible plan not to go through the Bible speedily, but rather a rhythmic journey in which you absorb that which He wants to reveal to you and show you consistently. Making time in the Word part of your daily life will open your eyes to absolute truths and perhaps revelations you never considered before.
2. Time Where Your Heart Feels Him Most
It is different for each person; for some, they feel God most in a quiet chair as the sun peeks through the clouds in the morning; for others, it is among the tallest trees rustling from the wind in the forest, or it could even be in a sacred spot in a closet where you go to pray. Wherever it is, seek to find the place in which your heart can slow itself, and your mind can calm itself to simply be with the Lord in your safe haven. This is where relationship is built, and the most growth can occur - by spending time alone with Him. Consider repeatedly in the Bible how God would call His children out where there was not another soul to connect with them. For Moses, it was on Mount Sinai or the Burning Bush; for John the Baptist, it was the Wilderness, and for Elijah, it was after journeying far and wide to find a place where a gentle whisper was heard. Wherever your corner of the world is with Him, make it a priority to soak in the goodness of the Lord there. Coming before Him not always for a Word or revelation but coming to just rest and be with your Creator. It is here that some of the most dynamic growth happens, where some of the most profound Words can be given, and where Heaven meets Earth in respect of God meeting you right where you are. Spiritual growth starts and ends with that sacred space of prayer and pondering with the Holy Spirit.
From the first chapters of Genesis, it was clear that the heart of the Lord was that we were not made to always be alone; rather, we were made to commune and fellowship with one another. This is why it is so important to surround yourself with fellow believers who will encourage you in your walk and your spiritual growth, and in response, you offer the same to them. It is as Ecclesiastes 4:1 shares how, “Two are better than one, for if one falls down the other is there to help them up.” Much of the time, spiritual growth may come through mentorship from someone older than you or a captivating idea given by a friend. In fellowship, what is important is to connect with God for who He has for you to do life with and ensure that those around you are truly seeking the Lord in truth. When this is checked and known, then the place of sharing vulnerably and walking with through journeys can support growth. Ask the Lord to highlight to you who He has for you to be in your innermost circle. Ask Him to fill the garden of your life with golden fruit bearers that radiate His Light.
4. Gathering Wisdom
Time and time again, the Bible conveys the importance of wisdom in our lives to ensure good growth in our personal lives. Proverbs 16:16 offers, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” Additionally, through the Word of God in the Bible and the direct Words of God through prayer, wisdom can come through many vessels in the forms of books, sermons, podcasts, or devotionals. Do your research on content creators that make every effort to adhere and seek the will of the Lord in their works and glean from the wisdom they have cultivated through their careers. Often, our spiritual lives can be challenged through these types of mediums, and in turn, the working and stirring of those challenges will produce the fruit of growth in time. Ask the Lord to guide you as you sort through or come across things as well; you never know what He might have for you just waiting in the pages of a book.
5. Spiritual Gifts
A challenge that is not talked about often when it comes to growth is the idea of fostering the specific spiritual gifts God has given to you. It is a more narrowed approach, but it can be wildly captivating what it can produce when you seek to tend to that which God has given to you uniquely. There are several ways to find out your spiritual gifts, or you could consider how God speaks to you most predominately and then invite the Holy Spirit to assist you in adding muscle to that gift. It also opens the door to doing more studying, spending more time in prayer directly towards that gift, or doing research through the Bible and other valuable resources that focus specifically on the spiritual gift in which you want to embolden. God gives us spiritual gifts not to be misused but to know Him more and bless those He would seek for us to bless in the process. Inquire of God how you can grow this spiritual muscle in such a time as this.
Spiritual growth is one of the most important aspects of life, and it deserves to be treated as such. When we take the time to exercise these muscles and to dive more deeply into what God has for us, good fruit is produced. It is a way to come to know the Lord more than ever, and it is something you will not regret doing. You never know the adventure God might take you on as you trust His leading.
Cally Logan is an author and US History teacher from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, she enjoys mentoring youth and spending time in nature. Her book, Hang on in There, Girl! Will be available everywhere on April 1, 2022. Check her out on Instagram and Twitter, @CallyLogan and TikTok Cally_Logan.