The Incredible Power of Spiritual Practices to Change Your Life
All Jesus followers want to grow and change, the big question is how.
Sometimes you hear stories of people who are instantly changed by God’s power. My wife was once instantly healed of a crippling disease. One moment she was in great pain, headed for a life in a wheelchair. The next, the pain was gone and she continued on doing gymnastics, diving, and living an active life.
I personally know other people who were instantly freed from addictions to smoking, alcohol, drugs, anger, fear, and more. These are not just stories I’ve read or heard, but people I actually know.
I love those stories of God’s grace and power.
But I also know, that is not how most positive growth and change takes place. Jesus said, most often, growth and change is like a seed planted in the soil that grows for a time, in the unseen world under ground, until it breaks through into the visible world.
Even then, most plants do not shoot up over night; most grow so slowly that it is not noticeable right then. But over and over again, billions of times all around the world seeds turn into plants and trees.
Gradually, steadily, with little fanfare or explosions. But the result can be breathtaking. Powerful redwood trees, mighty oaks, acres and acres of corn, or wheat are spectacular!
The result is spectacular, the process is not.
But sometimes we get stuck, don’t we? I know I have.
Wanting to change, praying to God that He will help me change and still repeating the same dumb or harmful behavior.
There are lots of reasons that change is often hard, and in this one article I’m not even going to attempt to address them all or provide solutions to all of them. But what I do want to encourage you with is the fact that the right practices, done in dependence on Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, resting in God’s grace can produce amazing results!
Over the next few weeks I’m going to be addressing different aspects of spiritual growth and change and some of the most powerful practices I’ve seen in over 40 years of working with people.
Just know this positive change is a combination of God’s grace and power and our Jesus trusting effort.
Philippians 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
This is so encouraging. God Almighty has made a divine commitment to perfect the work He started in your life. God will not quit, He will not give up on you. No matter how many times you fail, God has made a holy commitment to finish what He has started in you.
But that doesn’t mean we just passively sit around and wait for God to change us. Just a few paragraphs later, Paul also writes, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12b-13)
There it is, that divine partnership. God supplies the power, the answers, the grace, the resources; He even helps us with our will. But because He has given us the great privilege of choice, we also play an important role in our own growth and development.
No One Keeps Growing on Accident
In my own life and in the lives of many I’ve had the privilege to serve, though I am always wide open to those instantaneous miracles God does, seed to plant growth is the place to focus most of our efforts.
I’ve also seen that simply believing in Jesus does not keep spiritual growth going. It is very possible to settle in at one level of growth and never progress. Or, it’s possible to keep growing and experiencing positive change our entire lives.
Step #1 in doing effective spiritual growth practices is to decide to keep growing. When you do that, the right practices will produce consistent, powerful, God-glorifying growth.
More on that soon.
If you want more FREE growth and purpose resources, I invite you to take a look at www.TruVineMission.com.