The new year brings with it New Year’s resolutions. Many people will look to better themselves physically. They might flood to the gym, start new diets, and quit unhealthy habits, all in pursuit of this goal.
I have some similar physical goals. But my goals aren’t merely focused on the physical. As a follower of Christ, I’m looking for ways to grow spiritually. Paul writes, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).
So, how do we grow in godliness?
Here are four simple ways to grow spiritually.
1. Speak to God
Without constant communication, any relationship will not last. Yet, many Christians, who profess to have a relationship with God, rarely - or never - speak to Him. In fact, some seem content to let weeks or even months go by without ever talking to God. Remarkably, many of these same people wonder why their spiritual lives seem stale.
This isn’t complicated. Relationships need communication.
Because I love my wife and want a lasting relationship with her, I talk to her. I share my thoughts with her. I tell her about my struggles. I thank her for all the things she’s done for me. I ask her for help when I need it.
Likewise, because I love God and want a lasting relationship with Him, I talk to Him. Paul tells the Church at Philippi, “[D]o not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).
At this point, you might be thinking, “Tim, it’s a lot easier to talk to my loved ones because they talk back.” This leads to the next point.
2. Let God Speak to You
God is still speaking today. Now I’m not talking about listening for an audible voice or deciphering secret codes.
If you want to hear God’s voice, read your Bible. The Word of God is God’s primary source of communication. Of course, God also reveals Himself though creation and conscience. However, it’s through the sixty-six books of the Bible that we get special communication from God.
This year, let God’s words saturate your life every day. Don’t let a day go by without some interaction with God’s life-transforming Word.
3. Speak to Others
One of the best ways to grow in the faith is to communicate it to others. We are called to be disciples. And disciples make disciples. If you’re going to make disciples, you need to talk to people.
First, talk to believers. This year, seek out Christians in your life that you can personally disciple. These should be individuals in whose spiritual development you can play a role. And as you instruct, extort, correct, and encourage others, you, in turn, will grow in godliness.
Second, talk to unbelievers. Nothing will grow your faith like having it challenged by unbelievers. This is because these challenges help push us to better understand what we believe and why we believe it. And as your confidence in Christianity grows, so also will your love for God. This has been my experience.
4. Let Others Speak to You
It’s important that we be continually discipled by others. We all need trusted individuals who will pray for us, encourage us, and speak truth into our lives. There is so much we can learn from one another. So, take time this year to seek out faithful Christians who can help you grow spiritually.
If one of your goals in 2019 is to grow spiritually, focus on doing these four simple things: Speak to God and let God speak to you, and speak to others and let others speak to you.