Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter approach to spiritual growth.
As a Pastor, I want to tell you, “Do these things in this order, and you are guaranteed results.”
Faith just doesn’t work that way. Every individual is wired differently and what works for one person may not work for another. The goal is not for my life to look like yours; the goal is for my life to look like Jesus.
Understanding this one truth is the single biggest factor my spiritual growth over the last few years. I tried to imitate my parents when I was growing up. In high school, I listened to my youth leaders and decided to follow their example. In college, I was surrounded by great men of faith and surely copying their methods would make me grow, but it didn’t.
I have spent most of my life trying to act like my leaders and other believers but to no avail. Finally, I set out on my own path and slowly my life began to change.
1. It doesn’t matter how you learn the Bible, just learn it. I have tried the one-year Bible, Bible reading plans and every other method under the sun. Finally, I landed on a way that works for me, and I have been able to read through the Bible four times in the last seven years.
2. It doesn’t matter how you receive instruction in Christian living, just get some. Some people listen to Christian radio, some podcast, some go to seminars and still some to Sunday school. The goal is better understanding what you are reading, and it doesn’t matter where you get it.
3. It doesn’t matter how your marriage grows, as long as you are growing together. Some people thrive on date nights and private vacations. I have never been able to afford either of those. My wife and I enjoy a Redbox movie alone in our bedroom. It works for us. Find what works for you.
4. It doesn’t matter how you instruct your children, just be sure they are receiving spiritual teaching. Try devotionals, straight Bible reading, children’s Church and even videos. Your child is unique, and it may take a unique approach to help them grow and learn.
5. It doesn’t matter how you serve the Lord, just serve. You have something special to offer the kingdom of God. It may be singing, teaching, planting flowers, painting or even lawn maintenance.
You need to connect to other believers. You need a time of worship. You need accountability. I could probably go on and on, but you get the point.
There is no need to feel guilty that someone else’s method doesn’t work for you. Failure only comes when you stop trying different things to see what works.
I think God puts us in a community of believers so that we can learn from each other not imitate each other. I can hear what works for you and learn from it. People can point me in the right direction until I find the path God has made for me.
The Church at its best is a collection of individuals who are all striving for the same goal in their own wonderful way.