He set himself to seek God … and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.1
If you want to be physically fit, you have to eat right, exercise, and put some time and effort into building good physical habits. Similarly, if you want spiritual growth—if you want to be spiritually fit—it will require investing in a spiritual regimen.
Let’s look at five points in a formula for spiritual growth.
Number 1: Connect with God through spiritual input.
Making time daily for godly input and spiritual nourishment is paramount to having a vibrant spiritual life. Jesus affirmed that God’s Word is our source of spiritual nourishment when He quoted the Old Testament verse: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”2
The Bible is the “word that comes from the mouth of God.” Just as we need to eat physical food every day for sustenance and good health, we need to take in spiritual nourishment every day. If you only have a few minutes to spend with God, don’t skip it and figure that it won’t count or make a difference. Jesus said, “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.”3 Don’t miss your daily infilling of “spirit” and “life.”
Where should your spiritual input come from? First and foremost is the Bible, God’s Word. Another source is devotional, faith-building material (or media) authored by godly men and women. The inspired writings of other Christians can serve to strengthen your faith, open your understanding of the Scriptures, and help you to practically apply God’s Word to your current needs and challenges.
Number 2: Develop an active prayer life.
Prayer is a key component of our spiritual life; it’s how we communicate with God, our Creator. We can speak with Him, praise and worship Him, and tell Him our concerns, troubles, needs, and ask Him for His help, intervention, and strength. Prayer is asking for the will of God to be done, and through prayer, we listen to His voice and seek His guidance, encouragement, comfort, and instruction. Prayer is designed to be a two-way conversation, a means of developing and deepening our relationship with God.
Through prayer, we can cast all of our earthly cares upon His strong shoulders. If your heart is concerned about something, God is concerned too. As has been said, “If something is big enough to worry about, it’s big enough to pray about.”
Number 3: Keep your heart right with God.
The next point in our formula of spiritual growth and health is to stay right with God. This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Jesus understands our flaws and human weaknesses, as He experienced life as a human. When He gave His life for our sins, He knew very well that we’d never get everything right, no matter how hard we tried. We can enter into that wonderful place of peace and forgiveness by regularly confessing our faults, mistakes, and sins to Him. We can find peace in His forgiveness as we humble ourselves, acknowledge our faults, and run to His outstretched arms.
Regular cleansing allows your spiritual life to flourish and brings peace. When you know you’re right with God, when you have no unconfessed sin in your life, you’re more apt to come to Him for times of worship and prayer, and you have more faith for Him to bless you and take care of you.
Number 4: Follow God (His Word, voice, and guidance).
Another foundational point for spiritual growth is doing what God’s Word says to do. We are called to obey what God asks of all Christians, as well as His personal guidance and instruction to us as individuals.
We don’t want to just be “smart Christians,” people who know a lot about spiritual things and doctrine and theology. We don’t want to just be able to talk about Jesus and His expectations for His followers. We are to apply the spiritual principles, to be living examples, and that comes from being doers of the Word and not hearers only.4
Number 5: Participate in a community of believers.
When we believers are together, we gain a lot. When we have spent time with other Christians worshipping, reading God’s Word, singing and praying together, and confiding in one another, we come away stronger. We are refreshed, our vision is clarified, and we are better prepared for what God will bring into our lives.
It can be a challenge to carve out the time for quality fellowship or to find a Christian community where you feel at home. It is important not only for your personal edification and enjoyment, but it also helps empower you to make a difference in the world.
So to cultivate a thriving spiritual life, put these five foundational points into practice. You’ll be happy with the results.