Updated: Feb 14
Have you ever found yourself wondering why some people seem to have a special connection with God? Maybe it appears that they understand things about the Bible why you still feel confused. Or perhaps it’s that they have more faith than you. What’s going on here? Why is it that I still feel so out of place? I’ve been coming to church for a while but still struggle with some of the same bad habits, thought patterns and struggles I have had for years. Do you ever find yourself in this place? So have I.
I have had seasons in my life where I just felt like the peace I felt on Sunday morning didn’t last throughout the week. I could easily look at others and see where I didn’t measure up, and couldn’t imagine that I ever would.
First off, we constantly need to be reminded that it isn’t a competition. It’s not about me being perfect at all. On my own I will never be, that is why Jesus had to come and rescue me. So my journey with Jesus, my desire to grow in my faith is a response to what Jesus did. I want to honor Him with my life, I want to grow in my relationship with Him. So how do I do that?
Let me pause for a minute and talk about physical well being. The apostle Paul often used physical health as a metaphor to talk about our spiritual health. It is something we can easily grasp and helps us to understand what is going on.
With that in mind, let me describe the weekly habits of a person, and you tell me if they are on their way to good physical health:
They only eat one meal a week, usually on Sunday mornings?
They study up on all the exercise plans, diet plans, and experts. But never do anything.
They regularly consume toxic material.
They hang out with unhealthy people in unhealthy places.
They always put off exercising because they are going to start tomorrow.
The answer is easy isn’t it? None of us for a minute would assume that the person described above is healthy. The exact opposite is true, we could all reasonably assess that this person is headed for some major health issues and a premature death.
The same principles apply with our spiritual health. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul writes this:
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Paul compares this life to a race and challenges us to run as if to win. With that mentality he talks about his own need to discipline himself. Just like our need to physically discipline ourselves by eating healthy, exercising, getting rest etc. We need to be disciplined spiritually if we want to be spiritually healthy and grow.
How would you assess the spiritual health of someone with the following habits?
I only read the bible at church along with the message
I study the Bible and learn all about it, but never do anything.
I regularly fill my heart and mind with toxic things.
I hang out with people who are a negative influence.
As you think about your current state, don’t be paralyzed by comparing yourself to others that appear to have it all together. First of all, they are far from perfect and would probably be quick to admit it, and Secondly, they didn’t get where they are overnight. There is no elevator in our Spiritual growth, no quick fix… we all have to take the stairs. So what is your next step? What is the next thing you can do to grow? As you discipline yourself and learn to run the race like Paul describes, consider trying out one of these spiritual disciplines.
Read the Bible. Try a simple daily reading plan. The Bible App has hundreds of plans, some that are just a couple of days. Find something and give it a try.
Meet with other Christians. - Join us on the weekends for a service, get connected to a Life Group.
Pray. Take some time each day to talk with God about what is going on in your life.
Memorize some verses. We often make excuses on this one, but just give it a try. Try the one we have been talking about on the weekends “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent. For I am with you, and no one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city.” Acts 18:9-10
Serve. Ask around and find ways to serve others. There are always opportunities to serve at church on the weekends.
This is by no means a complete list, and doing all these things won’t make your life perfect. They are just steps that help us grow in our faith, pick something and get moving.