In this post, I will continue with the article by Tobin Berry at Pastors.com that offers A to Z steps that will move a person to a deeper spiritual life in Christ. You can see steps A – H in A to Z Guide for Spiritual Growth, Part 1.
INSTITUTE a no-gossip rule for you and your family. Nothing destroys a friendship like gossip. Make a commitment between you and anyone else you have influence over not to indulge in gossip. Don’t spread hurtful information. For that matter, choose not to listen to gossip as well. Make a point to walk out of the room or confront the gossip.
JOIN a small group Bible study. God designed the church to be a family. If you’re not building relationships with fellow believers, you’re not fulfilling one of God’s five purposes for your life – fellowship. You were never meant to live an isolated life. One of the best ways to establish relationships is by studying the Bible with a small group of friends. For relationship-building tips, see How to Build Relationships, Part 1 and Part 2.
KEEP God’s Word in your mind. Try to pick out a verse every week to memorize. You can begin with verses that focus on issues in your life. For instance, if you’re struggling with temptation, memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13. Struggling to forgive yourself for a past sin? Try Romans 8:1. Regardless of the verse you choose, you’ll grow as you hide God’s Word in your heart.
LAUGH more this year. You might not realize it, but laughing can be considered a spiritual discipline. The Christian life was never meant to be a somber funeral — it was meant to be a joyous celebration. In the Sermon on the Mount, as Jesus is going through different characteristics of Kingdom living, He mentions laughter as the ultimate destiny for those grieving in this world (Luke 6:21). Jesus really resembled a lover of life more than a stoic religious zealot (Matt 11:19; Luke 7:34). If you want to become like Christ, you’ll need to learn to take God more seriously and yourself less seriously.
MAKE Bible study a constant habit. If the only time you open your Bible each week is when you show up at church on the weekends or at your small group, you’ll never become the Christ-like follower God wants you to become. The Bible teaches that you were created to be like Christ. An important step toward Christ-like-ness is absorbing the truth of His Word. Make Bible study as regular as brushing your teeth. (We’ll go out on limb and say brushing your teeth is a regular part of your life already! Ha!) See Read the Bible for help in this area.
NIP temptation in the bud. Temptation is one of the greatest spiritual killers out there. If you want to escape the snare of temptation, try letting a fellow Christian in on your struggle. If you have a Celebrate Recovery program in your church, that’s a good place to start!
OPEN your heart to God’s surgical maneuvers. When you become a follower of Christ, He starts a grand surgical procedure on you as He reforms your heart into an image of His heart. Pain is often a sign that Jesus has His surgical knife on your heart. Although it might hurt for awhile, pain is an important part of heart transformation. Take stock of the pain and trials in your life right now and allow God to use them to change you.
PITCH in and help out at church. Try volunteering at your church. It doesn’t matter if you are a brand-new Christian or a seasoned believer, there is a place for you to serve somewhere at your church. Talk to the pastor or volunteer director at your church.
QUESTION your beliefs about success. God’s standard of success isn’t the same as ours. Jesus tells us that the greatest in the Kingdom of God is the one who serves. Ask yourself, “How do I measure success?” See American Idol for more on this topic.
Part 3 coming….