Archive for October 14th, 2008

Cultivating the Soil of my Soul 1

Over the course of the next week I will be posting some thoughts on spiritual growth and how I go about some daily spiritual disciplines.  Feel free to read along and comment your thoughts.

I spent a good deal of my weekend outside getting the garden cleared from this season and ready for next years crop.  Growing up on my grandparents farm I learned a few things about the work required to have a fruitful garden.  My grandfather was always preparing for the next season.  The work never ends but it also produces a harvest so the work is worth it.  As I wrestled with rocks that grew in my garden over the summer and tilled new compost into the soil to add nutrients for next year I thought more about how my spiritual life is very similar to my gardening.

I must work at it.  I can’t sit around and think that spiritual growth will take place on it’s own.  The level that I grow spiritually is dependent on the amount of work that I invest in my personal growth.  Regular times where I can get away with God and allow Him to speak to me through His Word are vital to my spiritual growth.  It is in these times that I can listen to what He is speaking through the Bible as well as being able to quietly reflect on what it is that He has for me.  I know that in order for me to grow consistently I must make this a priority in my daily routine.

I have been making more time for quiet space in my life lately and have seen great benefits in it.  In the past I would fall into the trap of listening to music – even really amazing worship music – that would cloud my mind and keep me from really focusing on hearing the Holy Spirit speak.  Technology breaks are vital for me.  I need to get away and unplug regularly in order to reclaim order in my life.  There is far too much clamoring for my attention each day and I need to pull away so that I may maintain my connection with God.  I will always have people who speak into my life, I invite that, but if I am not hearing from God directly all the guidance from others will fall flat and leave me empty.

One question I try and have answered each time that I break away with God is this: “How will I be different today because of what I have read?”  This is important for me to ask because I am the type of person who can read page upon page without taking anything away from my reading if I don’t have a question in mind.  By asking myself this question I give the Holy Spirit the freedom to speak to me through the written words.  If I am not applying the Word of God to my life daily I am wasting time in my reading.

I am reminded of the words of 1 Timothy 4:7-8

train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

By focusing on my personal spiritual growth I am making an investment in my life that will pay off great dividends now and in the future.  I can also see that in my position as a leader of others I must grow in order to help others grow.  I am fond of saying, “you can’t lead someone where you have not gone yourself.”  I believe that whole-heartedly.  If I am not living the example as one who spends time in Gods Word I can not make the same request of others.  My “creed” must match my “deed”.

How do you grow spiritually?