SOCIAL MEDIA

Friday, September 18, 2020

4 tactics for stimulating Spiritual growth

 


While washing my hair this morning I became extremely frustrated. I realized after a short time of flourishing, my hair had plateaued. It grew to a certain point then stopped making progress. In fact, many of my ends were split. Running my fingers through my strands, I begrudgingly accepted I’d have to get a trim. However much I dislike it, trims are absolutely necessary for hair health. Between one second and the next, my thoughts shifted from my locks to my spiritual life, where I’ve previously dealt with this very thingstagnancy. Every time I’ve been in that place where I struggled to produce fruit, like with my hair, I considered what could be done to spur progress. In this post, I’ll share four principles for stimulating and maintaining spiritual growth: abiding in Christ, surrendering to the will of God, pruning, and patience.

 

What The Bible Says about bearing fruit


“Finally He said, “Gardener I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ The gardener answered, Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down. (Luke 13 vs. 6-9 NLT)”

 

Every believer is expected to bear fruit-produce evidence of their faiththis is illustrated in the text above as well as many other passages, notably John 15. Galatians 5 vs. 22 describes the fruit of The Holy Spirit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. In the scripture, the Gardner declares He will give the barren tree more attention, if after that there is no produce then He will cut it down. This is an important spiritual principle: God looks for fruit. If we are truly followers of Christ there will be fruit/evidence to prove it. Furthermore, we can only be productive when we are abiding in Christ.

 




The first key to being productive is abiding in Christ

 

“A branch cannot produce fruit if it severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me. (John 15: 4)”

 

To abide is defined as accepting or acting in accordance with. To abide in Christ is to accept Him, obey His commandments, and remain in His love (John15: 10), which is the essential and primary key to growth. If you find that you’ve plateaued the first thing to do is to assess whether or not you’re abiding in and connected to Christ.

 

Jesus said, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the Gardner. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches so they will produce even more.”The text shows it is impossible to produce fruit if you are not abiding in Christ. Which brings me to principle number two, surrender to the will of God.

 

Surrender to the will of God

This is a difficult one because we tend to hold onto our expectations for specific situations as well as for our lives as if, for lack of a better analogy, our lives depended on it. Resigning ourselves to the fact that God may not want the specific opportunity, career, or relationship, that we want as badly as we want to live, can be heartbreaking. Many of us choose to ignore God’s discernment and proceed ahead anyway. We toil at a hard fallow ground that produces nothing but disappointment because we’re convinced just a little more time, money, and effort will change everything around. But it’s a vain hope to search for God’s divine blessing in disobedience.

 

God can give you grace, shielding you from the most severe of the consequences of your disobedience, but He will not prosper it. I know this from personal experience (read my story here). If you’re not surrendered to God’s will, there can be no abiding, and without abiding in Jesus there is no growth.

 

Pruning

“I am the true grapevine and my Father is The Gardner. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you (John 15:1-3 NLT).”

In this passage, Jesus illustrated the work of pruning to the disciples and explained it had already begun in them, through the hearing of His word. Like with my hair, sometimes the only way to stimulate growth is to trim your dead ends, which in some cases means cutting away a thing (or person) that’s hindering your growth. Do not be misinformed sometimes what we need to be rid of is an unhealthy friendship or relationship, If your connection to someone feeds the most carnal parts of you, that’s a connection that needs to be severed. Often, what holds us back is our attachment to worldly things. As my desire to have close fellowship with God intensifies my tastes change. I’ve found I don’t enjoy the same things I used to because my spirit has grown more and more sensitive to what I’m feeding it. If we habitually take in salacious and violent music, lustful and impure images, abusive language, etc. we can expect our lives to mirror those things, which aren’t exactly fertile ground for spiritual growth. That’s why our lives need pruning.

 

Spiritual pruning happens via the word of God-reading, meditating on, and studying The Bible. When a believer accepts Christ there is an initial cleansing as a result of receiving the gospel, however, there is a need for continual cleansing. Because we have yet to receive our glorified bodies and live in a fallen world we are still subject to error. Therefore, our minds need constant renewal. We can only grow so much holding onto sin, wrong ideals, attitudes, or beliefs. The word of God convicts, makes holy and promotes growth.

 

Patience

The fourth and final step is patience. Who can’t use more of that? We tend to be anxious, unwilling to wait for results, however, some seeds simply take longer to grow. In the parable of the fig tree in Luke 13 vs. 6-9, The Gardner committed to giving the tree special care for another year before cutting it down. God is patient with us; we need to be patient as well. If you are abiding in Christ, surrendering to God’s will for your life, and pruned by the word, then you can rest assured that your life will produce fruit, even if it’s taking a little longer then you’d like. I encourage you to water the seeds that are showing signs of life. For example, if a certain style of Bible study or quiet time with The Lord has proved fruitful in your life, stick to it! Don’t switch it up because someone suggests his or her way is the correct way. Everyone learns at a different pace, give yourself the grace to grow. 


I want to encourage you to pray. Prayer changes things and hearts. If you’re in that space where you’re struggling to be fruitful ask God to reveal to you what’s holding you back and pray for the strength to act on what God relates to you. One thing I do is keep a daily reflection journal; It kind of works like an accountability partner. I write about my spiritual aspirations, prayers, and scripture. Every so often I look through my entries and find that it reads sort of like a progress report. If you’d like the template I use click here for a free printable version.  

I hope you enjoyed this post. If it was a blessing to you please like, share, pin, comment, and repost. If you'd like to keep in touch subscribe to this blog at the bottom of the home page. Let me know in the comments section what are some things you do to stimulate spiritual growth?

 

3 comments :

  1. Making sure I thank the Lord daily for all He has done for me. So making sure I am practicing gratitude daily.

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    Replies
    1. That is actually a great way to stimulate growth. Gratitude keeps us abiding.

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  2. Making sure I thank the Lord daily for all He has done for me. So making sure I am practicing gratitude daily.

    ReplyDelete