“I want to grow closer to God.”
“I want to grow in my faith.”
“I want hear God more clearly.”
Have you thought or said any of these statements before? Come on, don’t leave me out here by myself. Even if it were fleeting…I think many of us have desired to grow in our faith in God.
God—do something great IN ME so that I may do something~Pastor Eve C. Rogers
GREAT FOR YOU!
In this era of goal setting, weekly goals, project plans, and vision boards—setting goals and creating a plan as it relates to growing in your faith is absolutely appropriate and essential.
I have definitely been guilty of saying “I want to grow spiritually” and then sitting there twiddling my thumbs—WAITING for God, my Pastor, my Sunday School Teacher, my prayer partner, my mother—EVERYBODY BUT ME to grow my faith.
But when I looked at the people in my life that I admired for their spiritual depth and maturity they were 100% responsible for their own growth. From my mom who I grew up watching sit on her bed surrounded by Bibles, dictionaries, and concordances nearly every day to prepare to teach Bible study or a sermon. Or my cousin who reads a chapter in proverbs in the morning and a chapter in Psalm at night—in addition to reading a book weekly. To my friends who find ways to use their advanced degrees in counseling and psychology combined with their own strong faith to speak directly to people of faith (especially “churched” people).
You would think accepting responsibility for your own faith growth and spiritual growth would be obvious and go without saying. But you’d be surprised by the number of people who are waiting on some “magical moment” for their faith to increase and for them to grow—when they are literally holding the wand.
Your faith will grow not by chance, but by choice.~Neil L. Andersen
I suggest the first thing you do to increase your faith is to set a goal then create a plan to grow in that area. Like most relationships, I don’t believe we ever reach “the end” of growing closer to God. I believe that through life’s circumstances and our own evolution, we get to know different aspects of God (some deeper and more personal than others).
If one of your faith goals is to read the Bible in one year, you DEFINITELY have to create a plan to accomplish it. You have to do things like
If we don’t make the plan and exercise discipline in doing the daily action of reading His Word—we’ll be sitting on the sofa at the end of that year looking confused wondering why God didn’t do something (I have no idea what that something is) to help us accomplish this. After all, wasn’t HE the one who planted this desire in our hearts? So HE should have turned the TV off, turned our phone to DND, opened the Bible, and kept us awake and alert to read for a whole year?
God gave us intelligence and free will. The SAME steadfastness, precision, planning, and time we devote to any other goal we want to accomplish—applies to growing our faith.
It’s hard to grow your faith inside of your comfort zone. #go
This one was one I had to grow to personally. I was one of the “if God wants me to know it or understand it, He’ll just let it be so.” LOL
Do what now?
Going back to the example of reading the Bible in a year…we may have to wake up earlier or stay up later to complete our daily reading assignments. Or we may have to use half of our lunch hour to make sure our reading is done.
Growing your faith, getting closer to God, hearing Him more clearly will require us to become uncomfortable so that we can become more comfortable in Him. Have you ever wondered how people you believe are spiritually mature, sound, and settled got that way? They stepped outside of their comfort zone in order to grow.
What does that look like in action?
Trust me, all of these (and plenty of others) will take you outside of your comfort zone at some point during your faith growth journey. It’s not always going to be comfortable, but it is sooooooo worth it!
I find that applying equal diligence in all of these areas is sometimes a challenge for some of us. We have the discipline of reading God’s word daily, but don’t always take intentional time to reflect and allow God to reveal how His Word applies to our individual lives and specific situations.
When I begin my daily reading, one habit I got from my mother is to read Ephesians 1:17-18
“asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.”Ephesians 1:17-18 NLT
I read this in the form of a prayer. My FAVORITE part is “pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called…” I want my heart (and thus my mind and spirit) to be flooded with His Word (which is Light according to Psalm 119:105) so that I can grow in the knowledge of who God is and understand the hope he gives me (THE ONE HE CALLED).
But these two verses also set the foundation for reflection and application. I think about God’s Word a lot. And even when I’m not intentionally thinking about it, I have always told God I’m open and receptive to Him speaking and showing me who He is and who I am in Him. And when I know who He is and who I am in Him—I move, behave, and act differently.
I knew what God said and what He said about me. I grew up in church and have probably heard thousands of sermons. But I haven’t always believed it. So I made decisions and engaged in behavior that didn’t match up to what God said ABOUT ME. I didn’t intentionally APPLY God’s Word to my thoughts, which impact my decisions, which influence my actions.
When I made the choice to BELIEVE, my reflection revealed that my actions didn’t align with His Word. So I had to think and reflect and make MAJOR ADJUSTMENTS in my application of God’s Word.
This isn’t a one time, monthly, weekly or even daily occurrence. It is literally a moment by moment, situation by situation, WAY OF LIFE. I don’t always make the right application of His word or principles—but every moment and opportunity I’m presented with, I have another opportunity to make better and wiser choices.
This is probably one of my personal areas of growth. I’m cool talking to God in private. My private prayer time is sweet and constant. I’m not as strong as I’d like to be in praying with and for others. It’s probably more nerves and personal insecurity.
Many years ago while employed at a church, the staff decided to do a group Bible Study. We chose Beth Moore’s “Praying God’s Word.” That study helped me become more confident in my prayers. I often pray with an open Bible and prayer journal—and no, my eyes aren’t closed the entire time. Prayer will look different for each of us—the ultimate goal is to have regular intimate conversations with the Father.
It is not the arithmetic of our prayers — how many they be;nor the rhetoric of our prayers — how eloquent they be;nor their geometry — how long they be;nor their music — how sweet their voice may be;nor their logic — how argumentative they be;nor yet their method — how orderly they be;nor even their divinity — how good their doctrine may be, which God cares for:but it is the fervency of spirit which availeth much.(Bishop Joseph Hall, 1808)
I know I somewhat addressed this earlier, but I think it warrants greater emphasis. Because, in my opinion, this is one of the most underutilized tools of people of faith. People ask me how I accomplished some things in the past and how I get ideas. I always felt my answer was so simple it was almost condescending—I think and reflect.
And I think the same concept applies in growing in our faith.
The more reflective you are, the more effective you are.
We have to sit and think how God’s Word applies to our particular personality, situations, and purpose.
We have to reflect on last Sunday’s sermon to determine the nuggets that will help us navigate life.
We have to read and review our sermon and Bible Study notes when we’re home and still so God can do the work of “creating in us a clean heart and renewing in us a right spirit.” That kind of heart, spirit, mind, and life work takes place during reflection. Away from the lights, sounds, and even feel of corporate worship.
Looking back so the view looking forward is even clearer.
After you review and reflect, write down (at least) one practical action you can do this week to reinforce your reflection. Use this a starter…
This week, I will grow my faith by…(Examples)
If any of what I shared here sounds like some of the same habits, techniques, and discipline used in school—they are very similar. The only way we become familiar, passionate, or experts in any subject is by spending time studying it. The same applies to growing in our faith.
Let me know in the comments one thing I’ve shared here that you will commit to maintaining and increasing your consistency in to grow your faith.
Adeea R. Rogers, known as The Trendy Socialite, believes her calling is to help empower others to develop and pursue their purpose. And as a result, she is known as “The Purpose Pusher.” Adeea seeks to equip others with the motivation and tools necessary to create and design the life they want. Adeea believes in creating the change you want to see through creating events, communities and movements. She created International Natural Hair Meetup Day (INHMD), giving women around the world the opportunity to guide each other in their natural hair journeys. In July 2015, she co-founded Black Biz Live, a community-based initiative where black owned businesses are featured on livestream platforms. Adeea’s perspective on living a purposeful life, personal branding tips, and content marketing ideas, cause her to be a sought-after event host, workshop facilitator, speaker and panelist. She also hosts a podcast, The Trendsetters Podcast. Adeea has a profound love for three things: Her Savior, Jesus Christ, Starbucks, and Statement Jewelry.