If you don’t plan you won’t grow (see Personal Growth part 1). So let’s get some concrete, measurable goals that we can make the most effective us of our lives for God’s Kingdom.
Psalm 90:12 – Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.
First, Establish a Daily Prayer Time
Psalm 57:2 – I will cry to God Most High, who will fulfill His purposes for me.
Commit to two things, how long and when. Example: “I will pray for 15 minutes a day every morning.” Let me say this, all of these are goals to help us to stretch ourselves and grow. There’s no condemnation, no legalism…use these goals as guides. If you prayed five days and missed one, don’t get all upset. Say “I prayed for five days. Awesome. Let’s start again.” Now if you look at your prayer time and you’ve missed three days in a row well, either your passion for God has slipped or your life is out of balance.
Second, Have a Regular Bible Study
Psalm 119:104-105 – Your commandments give me understanding; no wonder I hate every false way of life. Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.
Having daily Bible reading is very important but we should all have a weekly study time also. In our study time we’re not just reading but spending time in a passage, looking up the meaning of words, studying what was happening during that time, looking up related passages etc. In general going deeper on one section of scripture or studying one idea throughout the whole Bible.
Example: “I will spend fifteen minutes a day reading the word at lunch and One hour a week in study on Sundays. This week I’m studying all the Bible references to gossip.”
Next Create Personal Accountability
Proverbs 15:32-33 – If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding. Fear of the Lord teaches a person to be wise; humility precedes honor.
Someone once told me “You’re only as accountable as you want to be.” That’s a true statement. No one can force you to open up and share your struggles or ask another person to encourage you pursue your calling. This really is the place where people either soar or crash. We are all human and left to ourselves we will take the easy road. We need godly input from people we respect.
Example: “I will make myself accountable by joining a Connect Group and opening up to the leader about my struggles. I will choose one brother or sister who is strong in an area I am weak, to keep me accountable.”
Keep Church Attendance a Priority
Hebrews 10:24-25 – Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.
How can anyone think of personal growth apart from the local church? A huge part of growing spiritually is the selflessness that comes from being part of a larger vision. It’s no longer about me and my life but about what God is doing with our church and in our city.
The poor priorities we have where we choose kids sporting events, overtime and leisure activities over obeying scripture to gather together is one of the main things that causes us to stagnate. We must seek firs the kingdom of God.
Example: “I commit to never miss church unless ill or on vacation.” “No Molly you can’t play soccer Sunday at 11am because we have church.”
Work at Positioning Yourself
1 Corinthians 14:3 – One who prophesies is helping others grow in the Lord, encouraging and comforting them.
Whatever your gift is use it to build the body up. Don’t wait to be asked! If you’re not skilled yet in the gift or if someone has told you that you have a gift, seek out mentoring. Get around other people who are already succeeding in that area. Study the word on the specific gift. Etc.
Example: If you feel called to teach and there’s no opportunity to teach adults, position yourself by using my gift of teaching in the children’s church or in a Small Group.
2 Peter 3:17 – But grow in the special favor and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Mal 3:8-10 – Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed me. But you ask, In what way did we ever rob you? In tithes and offerings You are under a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do, says the Lord of Hosts, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Let me prove it to you!
The tithe is the minimum to call yourself a believer. Please don’t put comments out about how it’s Old Testament. Abraham tithed 700 years before the law was written (Hebrews 7:4-10) and Jesus said you should tithe in the New Testament (Matthew 23:23).
We should all be giving above and beyond the tithe because it’s a supernatural thing that increases our faith! What makes me laugh is when people say, “Well, I pray and just give what God tells me to. I’m not obligated to tithe. It’s legalism.” Because they always are people who give less than 10%!! Do you mean the same God who raised all the standards for those under grace (not just don’t commit adultery but don’t even look at a woman with lust) is going to lower the standard for giving? Ha!
Example: “I commit to tithe (10%) and to prayerfully give 3% to hunger relief.”
Serve God by Serving People
1 Peter. 4:10 – Each one should use whatever gift he’s received to serve others. (niv)
Serving is everyone’s responsibility. There should be no spectators in the kingdom of God. I was blessed by a dear sister who showed up for the back pack give away and said, “I want to help but I can’t stand long because of physical limitations. What can I do?” I had her sit at the table and stuff the back packs with the pencil cases. Her attitude was she wanted to serve in any way she could. Wonderful!
Example: “I will serve in the Lord by ushering and coming to the church work day.”
Obey the Sabbath Principle
Ex 16:28-29 – How long will these people refuse to obey my commands and instructions?” the Lord asked Moses. “Do they not realize that I have given them the seventh day, the Sabbath, as a day of rest?
Mar 2:27 – The Sabbath was made to benefit people, and not people to benefit the Sabbath.
I wrote on the Sabbath in Personal Growth Part 2 so I won’t say anymore here.
Example: I will rest one day a week from my work (including phone calls) and take one week vacation a year with my family.
Plan to Grow. If you’re the same Christian you are next year as you are this year…If you don’t look a little more like Jesus, than you’re out of God’s will! Anything God blesses grows!