Friday, July 27, 2007

Spiritual Growth Requires a Commitment

I always make fun of those commercials that promise dramatic weight loss from pills or absurb diets. I recently heard an ad for "the cookie diet." Sounds right up my alley. I love cookies.

But despite my resistance to these ads, I have to admit that I like the thought of improving myself by just taking a pill. (Come to think of it, that may be the roots of addiction, but that is a subject for another post.)

But the reality is, most good things in life come as the result of hard work. Is this really different for spiritual growth?

Kyle Strobel, author of Metamorpha: Jesus as a Way of Life, says this:

"A lot can be learned about the church's current worldview by examining the way it has neglected the Christian life as developmental journey. As a culture we avoid anything that requires a lengthy commitment of our time; we want our food fast, our dieting easy, and our entertainment now . . . Not only does this approach [to spiritual growth] fail to take reality seriously, but it fails to take the reality that Jesus wants to walk with us, teach us, and show us around his kingdom. That requires an investment of emotion and time."

Spiritual growth is the work of the Spirit. However, the Spirit works best when we make a commitment to opening ourselves to him, committing time, energy, emotion, and effort to growth. We become spiritually fit not by taking a pill or lying in our bed, but by actively purusing spiritual things--prayer, meditation, Scripture reading and meditation, service, and self-denial.

Here is the link to Strobel's book, which I have just begun. I'm looking forward to reading it.

How do you think that we grow spiritually?


Vasquez Adoption Experience said...

To quote Homer Simpson, "Mmmm. . cookies." I couldn't agree more. Also, there's a scene in the movie "Bruce Almighty" where Jim Carrey is tired of hearing everyone's prayers so he puts them on auto approval. He's later at a party where a woman is telling her friend that she lost weight using the Crispy Creme diet.

Seems like there's an ad for every kind of patch and pill on the market and the sad thing is (and I can say this as one of the good advertising gurus) people are buying into it day in and day out. Granted, there are a lot of great suppliments on the market that can be found at places like GNC, but they go hand in hand with hard work through fitness and diet.

The same is true for sprituality. I know I enjoy hearing a great message, spending time in high energy song worship or spending time with good friends who happen to be spiritually wise (like my good friend James!). But these things on their own won't do the total job. If I'm not praying, spending time in the Word and making a relationship more than onesided I want, I want, I need, it's not going to work out in the long run.

Sorry I missed your calls yesterday man. We were hoofing it getting things ready and then executing my mother's surprise 60th birthday party. Kim and I are totally stoked about the news we got on Thursday about our son. Can't wait to catch up with you man.

James said...


I like what you said here: "If I'm not praying, spending time in the Word and making a relationship more than onesided I want, I want, I need, it's not going to work out in the long run."

This is so true. In Kimball's new book (see next post), he tells how Christians leave the church that contains the people who brought them to faith, and they go to the church that has the better programs, worship, or whatever. We don't need to be "Crispy Creme" Christians.

Great to hear about your adoption. Congratulations!