Recently I was reading an article from Tory Johnson about how she lost 62 pounds in a year. In the article she suggested five steps for substantive turnarounds. After reading them I thought they also applied to spiritual growth. So I adapted them for this post and added one of my own.
Step 1: How fed up are you, really? Are you tired of not experiencing the spiritual growth you desire? Are you really fed up enough with your spiritual progress that you are no longer willing to stick with your spiritual status quo? Are you ready to actually do something about it? Until you are completely fed up with the way things are, you will not have the energy you need to actually make the necessary changes.
Step 2: What are you willing to give up? Growing spiritually requires you to give up something. That extra sleep in the morning to pray. Time daily in your schedule to read the Bible. Time every week to attend Bible Study. Time during your commute to listen to sermons instead of talk radio. What is it you need to give up to grow spiritually? Well…give it up. Until you do, you will not achieve spiritually what you desire.
Step 3: What’s your plan? The days of creating detailed long-term plans are over. Things simply change too quickly to make long-term planning as effective as it used to be. So…get over it…and make a short-term plan. What are you going to do tomorrow to grow spiritually? What about next week? What about this month? How about creating a plan for every day this month? Then write down exactly what you plan to do each day. Writing your plan down will give you a much better chance of following through with it.
Step 4: What’s your daily accountability? We all need some sort of accountability to accomplish our goals. You can’t let a week go by and then figure out that you have done nothing this week to grow spiritually. Maybe when you are trying to lose weight your daily trip to the scale in the bathroom is your accountability. So, what is your accountability for your daily spiritual growth goals? The important word is “daily.” Whatever accountability you establish, it needs to be daily.
Step 5: How will you celebrate your victories? It is harder to keep working towards a goal than to start working towards a goal. Usually when we begin we are full of enthusiasm and energy. After a while both fade and yet our goal remains. One way to maintain your energy and enthusiasm over the long term is to regularly celebrate your victories. Let’s say you read the Bible every day for a week. How will you celebrate? Pick a celebration and put it in your calendar. Make it something to look forward to. Then count the days until your celebration. You will be amazed what you can accomplish through that little bit of motivation.
Step 6: Call to the One who walks on water. As I am writing this I am listening to “Amber Cascades” by America…Yes…it’s in my itunes…who would have thought. I think I downloaded their complete collection. Anyway, one of the lines in the song says, “And we call to the man who walks on the water…” Now I have no idea what they meant by that line. But for me, the man who walks on the water is Jesus. Not just Jesus the man, but Jesus who is the Son of God. The Jesus who is God himself. Remember in your struggle to experience the spiritual growth you desire, Jesus desires spiritual growth for you as well. Remember to call upon Him regularly. Part of James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” Granted the context is a bit different but the point is still the same. Remember as you seek to grow spiritually to ask Jesus to help you. He will…and you will grow.