The Abundant Life and Spiritual Practices Connection

You Can’t Just Leave it All Up to God and Expect Real Spiritual Growth

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

Dr. Anders Ericsson has spent his adult life studying the secrets of extraordinary performers. In his book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise he writes “And this more than anything else, is the lesson that people should take away from all these stories and all this research: There is no reason not to follow your dream. Deliberate practice can open the door to a world of possibilities that you may have been convinced were out of reach.”

Through decades of research and testing Dr. Ericsson has concluded that doing the right kind of practice consistently is much more important than natural ability in succeeding in a particular area of life. In his writing he gives story after story along with lots of data that shows we can improve much more than we think with the right kind of practice.

Dr. Ericsson notes that all over the world in all kinds of categories human performance keeps increasing in every conceivable arena.

· American teacher Barbara Blackburn can type up to 212 words per minute

· Mark Baloh of Slovenia who once rode in 24 hours, 562 miles on a bicycle. That means he was averaging over 23 miles per hour for 24 hours, on a bicycle.

· Vikas Sharma of India, in 60 seconds, was able to calculate the roots of twelve large numbers, each with between twenty and fifty-one digits, with the roots ranging from the seventeenth to the fiftieth root. That is faster than most people could even type in the info on a calculator.

None of them could do these feats at one point in time, but through the right kind of practice they transformed an area of their life. The right kind of practice and practices has incredible power.

The Apostle Paul didn’t have that kind of research available, but he also wrote to one of the leaders he had mentored

“Train yourself for the purpose of godliness; for body discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7b-8)

Paul told Timothy, someone who had already had years of personal training by Paul Himself to keep on “training” or practicing. Especially for a person connected to God the potential for on-going personal growth and development is very, very possible. God’s understanding of how far we can go (and His understanding is perfect), far exceeds what we think is possible

In regards to your personal growth, especially your spiritual life, never think you have gone as far as you can go. In God there is always more and part of the good news Gospel is God wants you to experience it.

More than the most loving human parent, the perfect Heavenly Father strongly desires to give you what is good and develop the nature of Jesus in you.

1 Cor. 2:9 “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

If you take a moment and picture in your mind one or two of the greatest things you’ve ever seen with your physical eyes. (Mountain Range, Ocean, Waterfall, Event…)

Now try to picture something awesome you’ve heard about, but you haven’t actually seen (A sun a thousand times larger than our sun, more stars in the universe than grains of sand on earth, etc.) Picture that as best you can.

One step more, using purely your imagination, what is something you would love to do…fly, breathe under water, walk on water, be transported from earth to Mars, have superhuman strength,…..

The Bible says you have not yet even come in the front door of what God has prepared for people who love Him.

Over and over again Jesus said

He came to save, heal, liberate, strengthen

Impart His very peace, love, and joy,…abundant, overflowing life.

This is God’s will, His plan, His desire for every single one of us!

I often use the phrase “the greatest life possible”, because I am convinced that connecting with God and living His purposes is exactly that. God’s plans for us are so far beyond what we can even imagine, that nothing compares to knowing Him and living them.

The greatest life will include seasons of stress, trials, challenges and some suffering because that is needed to develop that life within us, but it all leads to experiencing the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:3–4)

But as you have experienced, much of that divine nature, the life of Christ does not just happen because we have put our trust in Jesus. God has given us key roles to play, not only in helping others, but in our own growth as well.

Paul’s Loving Challenge to His Spiritual Son

1 Timothy 4:15 “Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to all. (16) Pay close attention to yourself and your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.”

· Real dedication to practicing and getting better. “Take pains, be absorbed, pay close attention, persevere” are all strong commitment words.

Training, the right practices, done the right way can positively impact every single area of your life. “Salvation” in the New Testament speaks of both eternal life and the working out of the life of Jesus in us. As Timothy practiced and kept on practicing, it would keep the growth process going in his own life and in the people who heard him.

The Right Practices, done the Right Way, will positively change your life!

*15. The practices we’ll be covering will improve your:

· Devotional Life: your time in the Bible and prayer.

· Character

· Talents

· Relationships

· Career

· Health

· Ministry

You may be asking what are these practices?

We’ll be covering that in the next 4 articles. Look for “Spiritual Growth Practices that Work”.

If you want more FREE resources on how to grow spiritually and live God’s purposes for your life, head over to



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Mark Furlong

Mark Furlong


Helping busy, active people know and live all of God’s purposes for their life: the complete life.,