Last year early one morning, I ventured out of our room to peek into Elliot’s room and found him curled up on the floor with his favorite blanket. It had been one of his first nights in a twin bed. Apparently the floor felt more like his crib. As I picked him up and put him back in his new bed, I couldn’t help but think, “my boy is growing.”
I went downstairs, grabbed breakfast and went outside to water the grass seed that I planted. The seed was planted in the front of house, where over the course of a year I had uprooted everything from the tangled mess left behind by the previous homeowners. After twenty bags of dirt, shoveling and raking, it was time to lay the seed. I’d been faithfully watering it night and day, and the effort was’t wasted. Tender shoots of grass were now growing.
Both instances are great examples of the awesome power and responsibility God has entrusted to us. Though the actual growth is a sovereign act of our Creator, He gives each of us the responsibility of providing the environment for the same. It isn’t optional. It is required.
Spiritual growth doesn’t exist apart from consistent care and attention.
Consistency is the key. Feeding Elliot or watering seed once a week isn’t enough. It’s laughable and cruel, yet spiritually we do the same to ourselves. We must be consistent in the Word and prayer. As the saying goes, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” The personal application is clear, but let’s take it to the next level.
Spiritual growth isn’t just deeply personal; it’s deeply communal.
Our growth is linked to those around us; especially if we are in a position of influence or authority. We sometimes see our daily time with God as a vacuum and if we lack consistency it doesn’t affect others. Unfortunately that perspective coupled with that same inconsistency does indeed produce a suffocating vacuum… like helping others with their oxygen mask while neglecting our own.
If you’ve been inconsistent, do whatever it takes to get back on track. I’ve been there before. I’ve pastored there before. I share from a platform of experience. Provide the faithful care and attention so desperately needed to nurture growth in your own life and in the lives of others. It’s our great responsibility from the one who commands growth. Here are some practical ways for kickstarting and accountability:
- Build a time slot into your schedule. Make it a routine. For me, it’s now early morning (thank you, dear children). I know of many lead pastors build prayer time into their team’s paid hours.
- Change your location. I recently started spending time praying early morning in the Basilica in Minneapolis. I’m not Catholic, but there’s certainly much to soak in, between the art, architecture, and Scripture.
- Pick a Bible reading plan and invite others to follow along. You automatically put yourself in a position of accountability because it’s then expected of you. I insanely went a little further and developed my own reading plan (29plans.com) that others are following… instant daily responsibility!
- Go public with your devotions. Use social media to post a verse you read that day or a thought from your devotions.
How have you made it a priority?