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Strategies for Developing Your Spiritual Lifeby Duane Mabee on July 19, 2018
We’ve been talking a lot about spiritual maturity during our Sunday services and I thought it would be good to give you some thoughts on how to develop and deepen your spiritual life. The thoughts below did not originate with me. They come from Robert Thune, a former pastor in the Christian and Missionary Alliance. They primarily relate to guarding your heart, but they apply equally well to deepening your walk with Christ.
Here are three tested strategies for guarding your heart.
- Cultivate personal intimacy with God. Nourish your soul in the Word. Spend unhurried time in prayer. Plan it. (It’s not going to “just happen”.) Set aside days on your calendar for solitude, silence and personal renewal. Practice spiritual disciplines that keep your soul refreshed with a sense of the love and glory of God. The greatest temptation is to exalt doing over being. It is important to get things done, but effective ministry is always an overflow of a heart aflame with love for God.
- Mortify sin, resolutely and relentlessly. As John Own wrote: “Since it is our duty to mortify sin (Rom. 8:13) …we must be at work!” Pride manifests itself in a careless disposition toward sin, but humility brings with it a wary watchfulness. No matter how much progress you make in sanctification, you are always vulnerable. “Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Cor. 10:12 NASB). For some practical help in putting sin to death, you can read Own’s The Mortification of Sin. It is a helpful book, but it won’t be an easy read.
- Create honest community. None of us can see our own faces. You need people around you who know you well and whom you can trust with the honest truth about yourself. You need a community who will encourage you in the gospel and help you see your own sin, unbelief, and idolatry. Creating this kind of community is difficult because you can’t trust everyone. But it is critical, because if you don’t have it, you are isolated and vulnerable to spiritual attack. Don’t make excuses. Figure it out.
None of the above sounds easy, but then Jesus didn’t promise that spiritual growth and development would be. What He promised was that growing deeper in relationship with Him would always be worthwhile. Put another way, if you want to grow deep in relationship with Jesus, pursue an open and intimate relationship with Him. Deal with sin without making excuses or cutting yourself any slack. Find people you can be transparent with and build the kind of community with them where they can say the things to you that you need to hear.