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We live in a world of outsourcing. When we call customer service, check our card balances and even make changes to our deductions for payroll we are likely partaking in outsourcing. Now, there are a lot of reasons that organizations utilize outsourcing for their day to day operation.
In our own lives we often find ways to reduce our time commitments, create cost savings and become more efficient. The truth of it all is that in a world that outsources just about everything there are some things that someone else just can’t do for you. When it comes to your own spiritual journey you just can’t hand that off to someone else to handle. You have to own it yourself. But there are some important truths you need to see for growing in Christ.
What if it wasn’t as complicated as you think?
What if it wasn’t just attending a class on Wednesday night, or filling in some blanks?
What if it wasn’t about just behaving better?
There is no 10 step sure fire program to spiritual maturity. It is a journey. It has ups and downs. It isn’t always easy. But it is worth it.
And while there is no set program of classes, there are a few simple skills that make a big difference over time. Here are the skills that give you a tremendous starting point for owning your own spiritual life.
Abide daily in Christ
The word abide originally means remain. Stick it out. Stay. Keep yourself in Jesus. Learn who you really are in Christ. Take time each day to read the Bible. Just read it. Pick a translation that is easy for you to understand. Use a reading plan from a Bible app, or print a hard copy to keep in your Bible.
A chronological plan is a great way to start. It breaks it down into small chunks each day that can be done in a few minutes. You will read things in the order that they happen and will skip around some. It will keep it a bit interesting and new. You will be surprised what sort of things will jump out at you as you walk through the text.
Miss a day? Don’t feel ashamed. It happens. Catch up the next. It isn’t a matter of perfection, but of commitment. You will discover that the longer you keep at it the easier it will be to make the time each day.
Pick a time in the day that you can set aside that time to read. Try and make it around the same time every day. It will help build the habit. As you finish up the passages for the day, take a few minutes and reflect on how they apply to you. What do they tell you about God? How do you practice those principles in your daily life?
As you come around to a year, start over. New things will pop out of the text. You will see new connection points and learn new things. Your life will be in different places and it will speak to those places.
Still aren’t convinced?
Give yourself a month and read the Gospel of John in the New Testament. Read one chapter a day. One chapter. Give it a month.
Don’t give in too early. Don’t give up if you miss a day. Take a first step towards a daily time.
Remain. Stick it out. It will be worth it.
Engage the Church Community
It would be easy to just say don’t skip church. That isn’t really the point. Your family has commitments and there are times that you simply can’t be there. The point is to not sit on the sidelines. Sitting on the sidelines makes it easy to miss. Easy to skip. Easy to not get involved. Easy to not care. Don’t settle for easy.
Church is really two things. Worship and groups. In worship we come together to honor and praise the God that loves you. That died for you.
At ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, TN, we have Groups that help make the big church smaller and bring people in similar stages of life together for encouragement, prayer and growth. Groups are the conduit to a life that matters. They are the way to finding and living in your purpose.
Engage the community. Be active. It is scary. We know. We have been there. Everyone else is scared too. But every person there has baggage. Hurts. Hang-ups. Difficulties. Struggles. No one has it all together. Even the ones that act like they do. They really don’t.
There are a lot of things that will compete for your time and attention. It isn’t that you should never miss, but to let go of the easy excuses to not engage. To not show up. To not get involved. We need each other. Someone there on a Sunday needs to hear your story. Hear your life. You need to learn from someone there as well. Hear their life. Engaging in the church community provides you with the tools to keep moving forward in your spiritual life.
God has a purpose for you. Above and beyond the mundane everyday life. It isn’t that God wants you to leave your job or where you live. He wants to use you right there. Exactly where you are. Intentionally. Your spiritual life isn’t separate from your regular life.
It isn’t something you plug into once a week, or twice if you are really spiritual. God gave you a story. A life to tell. Stories of His faithfulness. Stories of His love. Stories of how He brought you through difficult times. Stories of how you are trusting Him through a difficult time right now. God gave you a story to share with others. Don’t keep it a secret.
Do you know why God put you here? Why you are on the planet?
You are a unique individual with gifts, a personality and abilities. For a purpose. For a reason. For a plan. Live your life for the reason why you are here. Living on purpose does not mean moving to a grass hut in the Sahara desert. It means going to work each day with intention to live for God. Use your life to point people towards God. Let your life have doors that let people into it rather than windows giving a restricted view. God has not called you to tell everyone about Jesus, but He has called you to tell someone. Your neighbor. That family down the street. Your co-worker. Learn why God put you on the planet. And go do it.
The spiritual life does not have a magic formula. There is no magic bean to plant. There are lots of classes that help develop skills and tools. There are studies that will give you more knowledge. None of those things will make you own your spiritual life. No one else can do it for you. It is the journey of a lifetime and worth every step of the way.
If you need help discovering your purpose, we have for that at ClearView called PLACE. You can learn more about that tool by clicking here.
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About the Author: Brian Hatcher is the Discipleship Pastor at ClearView Baptist Church in Franklin, TN.