Spiritual Growth That Works

Most people are familiar with the story of David and Goliath. We know about a huge hulk of a man who was slayed by a shepherd boy with a sling and a stone. We love the story of the underdog defeating the opponent who is larger than life. Most people know the story and I think most people like it, including me.

Lately my imagination has been captured by another small part of the story though. Before David goes out on the battlefield to face Goliath he has a conversation with King Saul. Saul wants David to wear his armor out into battle. Interestingly enough, David tries to put the armor on. That is interesting because Saul is described as being “head and shoulders” taller than everyone in Israel. In other words, he was a lot taller than any shepherd boy. Even so David puts on Saul’s armor and tries to get it to fit him. Eventually he takes off the armor and heads out onto the battle field with his sling and stone.

The reason I have been thinking about this story is because I read a lot of articles and posts about ministry and spiritual growth. Every article I read tells me how this person grew their faith this one particular way. The conclusion that follows is that for you to grow in faith you must do the same things they did. In the last week alone I have read articles saying I should go to bed early and get up early, skip email in the mornings, take a special day off every month, have a date night, cancel my date night, read 50 books this year, and so on and so on. Everyone has all kinds of advice for me and you to grow. I really do appreciate all of their ideas. In fact, I often share some of my own ideas to help people.

Honestly, most of what I read feels like I am trying on Saul’s armor. I am trying to fit my life into patterns that simply do not fit me. I stretch myself and try to get other people’s ideas to fit me. Usually I am left with another failure and the disappointment that goes with it.

One of the biggest parts of my spiritual journey was learning to be myself. I do not have to fit into anyone else’s armor. God made me unique and there are certain rhythms and patterns that work for me that may not work for other people. It is okay for me to learn, read and pray in a way that works for me, even if it does not look like what everyone else is doing. Don’t get me wrong, I still am grounded in the Bible and connected to the Church. But when it comes to how I grow my faith there are a lot of wide open possibilities.

So my encouragement today is that you find your own voice, form your own patterns and grow your own way. Get up early, stay up late or take a long lunch to spend time in prayer – whatever works for you. Read quietly, listen to the Bible on computer or rewrite every verse in a notebook – whatever works for you. Give daily or weekly or monthly of your time and resources – whatever works best for you. Find what works best for you to grow in your spiritual life and do it.

David did not fit in Saul’s armor. You do not fit into mine. You only fit in yours.

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