Today is part two in a series on spiritual growth and development. Today’s post focuses on intentionality. You can find part one here.
If I were to sum up yesterday’s post on the topic of spiritual growth and discipline it would be this: very few people, if anyone, sees the hard ‘behind the scenes’ work that goes into following Jesus. Pulling weeds isn’t an upfront, center stage job. It’s done in the quiet, day to day moments.
If I could sum up today’s post, it would be this: this sort of growth can only be done with intentionality.
Let me expand that idea a bit.
During our time in Kansas, I didn’t shave. Not even once. I was on vacation after all. If I don’t like doing it during my normal routine, why would I want to do it when I don’t have to?
So by the end of our time in Kansas, I’d grown quite the shag on my face. Bad enough that my daughter said she wouldn’t snuggle or let me kiss her till I got it taken care of. (I immediately went and shaved).
But, here’s what my no shave week taught me about spiritual growth: people assume it happens just as easily as growing unwanted facial hair (or leg hair for the ladies).
When I was in seminary I heard several times ideas like: “I don’t really read my Bible, or feel like I need to, I see God in community so I just spend time there.”
True, God does appear in community and we can use it as a time to refresh and recharge ourselves. But it was also used as an excuse to avoid the moments of discipline that even more profoundly shape who we are.
We are, in very real ways, people of the book. Not in a legalistic ‘do this or else’ sort of way, but in a relational way that helps us find our identity, purpose, and direction in life. Quiet moments of Bible reading, prayer, fasting, silence, and solitude are not meant to show how religious we are, they are done to deny ourselves and identify with the Christ who gave up everything to be with us.
It’s not out of legalism that we do these things, it’s out of love.
It’s not because we’re good, it’s because we know the One who is good.
It’s not to prove how much better we are than others, it’s to show how dependent we are on God for all things.
I wish growing in Christ were as easy as not shaving. If it were, I’d be pretty darn holy by now. But the truth is that it’s work. It’s discipline. It’s deciding that in spite of whatever else may be vying for our attention, we block it out to focus on our relationship with God.
How are you intentional? In what ways do you set aside time for growth? Please Enter the Discussion and share your story.