To grow spiritually doesn’t have anything to do with your age, how long have you served in the ministry, your Biblical knowledge, your degree, and your spiritual “position”. Growing spiritually can be seen in dialogues, attitudes, actions, and dedication. Growing spiritually is not depended on situation and environment. Bad Situation and Environment CAN make someone to grow spiritually. The story of Joseph is a living proof of this. Even though his father had 4 wives, jealous and evil siblings, Joseph still grew spiritually even on that kind of environment.
On the other hand, bad situation and environment don’t guarantee someone to grow spiritually. Judas became a traitor among Jesus’ Disciples. To grow spiritually is a choice for someone to do His Word with the strength from God. Too many Christians choose not to grow spiritually and become the doer of God’s Word!
It’s no where surprising if there are Christians in the church who have served long, but their lives do not become a blessing. Even in theological seminary, there can be lecturers and students without spiritual growth even though they’re learning the Word of God every day. They are only focusing on the knowledge, but not on how to do the Word of God in their daily lives. They can serve God many times in a week without having spiritual growth and become a blessing among their friends and families. Their hearts go further and further from God. They do it for the sake of routines, their hearts full of lust. They develop bad characters and that characters are untouchables! Their hearts have hardened like an ice on a heated pool!
Whatever situation we are facing, we can grow spiritually! As a student who lives far from our parents, we can still grow spiritually! Husbands and wives shouldn’t complain about their situations at home or their spouses’ spirituality. You can still grow! Don’t force changes on your spouses, but instead, force yourself to be changed by God through His Word. As pastors, leaders, cell group leaders, ministry leaders, and coordinators, we have to force ourselves to grow spiritually before we can criticize others!
Don’t force the truth of the Word to the congregations, our students, before we have the truth transform our lives! Often the pastors or cell group leaders complain about the spiritual life of their congregations or cell group members. Or even the congregations and cell group members complain about their pastors or cell leaders’ spiritual life. They often forget to look at themselves and reflect on their own spiritual lives seriously. They seldom ask themselves seriously.
Some questions for yourselves that can help you grow spiritually:
- Do I have a good and pure motivation?
- How’s the condition of my own heart? Does it full of negative or positive things?
- Has my heart been clouded by money, materials? or a love for God?
- How’s my sexual and lust life? Do I overcome it or let it overcome myself?
- How are my thoughts? Is it focused just like what Philipians 4:8 said?
- How’s my quiet time with God everyday? Consistently or ups-and-downs?
- Have I gone fasting this week before serving God on Sunday?
- Have I prayed to God today?
- Have I prepared the Word of God carefully in front of God?
- Have I seriously prepared my cell group study?
- Do I have any bad attitude that I have to leave behind?
- Have I given my tithing faithfully?
- Have I become a loyal and good spouse & parent?
- Have my conversations become a blessing to others?
- Have I controlled my emotions and anger so that not to become sinful?
- Have I read any Christian books this month?
- Have I attended any seminars to enhance my skills as a minister of God?
- Am I still passionate about my ministry or it has become a routine?
- Have I becoming lazy at work? Always like a shortcut?
- Do I lie often?
- Do I complain a lot?
- Do I like to talk bad about people, always look at others’ mistakes and weaknesses?
- Do I like to judge others and “label” them?
- Do I still have a desire to spread the Gospel? Have I spread the gospel this week/this month/this year?
- Am I on a discipleship program at this moment?
- Do I really have a passion to see my church grow?
- Have I been listening and giving time to my family just as I’ve been listening and giving time to my congregation?
- Have I become the current Pharisees? (focusing on appearances but not doing the Word of God in my daily lives)?
- Does my spirit burn like fire and serve God wholeheartedly?
- Do I have the courage like Paul that God and the congregation are my witnesses on my spiritual life and ministry?
When a minister “grows”, his/her ministry does too
Observe the verses below, showing that the quality of a minister can’t be separated with the quality of a ministry:
It is true that only God who can grow a church and He is the source of that growth. However, don’t forget one thing: God wants to use His ministers to grow His churches!
That was why Paul said that we are “fellow workers” in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:9).
Analysis shows that there is a strong relation between a growing church and its ministers. A minister that grows spiritually will be more effective compared to a stagnant minister. The Holy Spirit helps us in preparing leaders that grow according to the Word of God. Ironically, the ministers themselves don’t want to grow! If that happens, then it will be impossible for a ministry to grow effectively. God uses people who want to grow spiritually! God likes to use people who are lacking in abilities, but He never uses people who like to play with sins, have unrepentant hearts, looking for personal benefits, trying to only please other people, lazy, cowards, invalid motivations, don’t care about His Gospel, and disobedient.
Therefore, it’s important for us a minister to grow consistently. You need to evaluate yourself when you are not having any spiritual growth anymore in your life. Ask serious and deep questions to yourself. Questions that make you feel humble and ashamed, and answer them honestly!
Colossians 2:6-7 gives a way out or a way so that we can keep growing in Christ. We have received Christ as our savior, therefore, we need to live in Christ faithfully, stay focus and Christ-centered (verse 6). Verse 7 advices us to keep growing in Christ. The illustration given here was a living tree. A tree has to have roots, branches, leaves, and fruits If we know about a real living tree, then we can understand fully this verse!
(to be continued)