In my last post, I shared about how I really want to prioritise spiritual growth in the year ahead, after all this is what will last into eternity. Even as I write that I realise it is a big claim- one that could quickly spiral down into a works-based self-righteous slump. But as I look to the year ahead, I stand in awe of the glorious grace that flows from the cross and hope that by writing it, it might help me keep more accountable. 

 
In thinking about spiritual growth, I’ve stumbled across a few great blog posts to help in my journey that I want to share with you (is it lame that I get really excited when I find some new blog that I connect with- particularly ones that encourage me in my faith- that I just want to send the blogger an e-mail asking if we could be friends? 🙂 )

 

  • John MacArthur has published a great online resource Back to Basics: The ABCs of Christian Living, where he reminds us that once the instantaneous and miraculous event of salvation and Holy Spirit indwelling takes place, we should desire spiritual growth (2 Peter 3:18 and 1 Peter 2:2). This spiritual growth has nothing to do with the amount God loves us, nor does it have to do with how long we have been a Christian for, how much Bible knowledge we have, or how much money we have. So what does spiritual growth have to do with? “Spiritual growth is simply matching my practice with my position. Now, my position in Christ is perfect: I am complete in Him. I have all things that pertain to life and godliness. I have received all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. But I need to progress in my practical life in a way that is commensurate with my position.” (John MacArthur)
  • Over at Worship Rejoices, Lindsey shares her desire to grow and the strategies she is going to try and put in place such as strategic Bible reading, Scripture memorisation and systematic prayers. She mentions a prayer app Prayermate that I plan to check out and also references a great Gospel Coalition blog post “How To Change Your Mind” (a fresh Bible reading approach where you choose 1 book of the Bible and read it through 20 times, reading for meaning and comprehension like any other book, ignoring the chapters.)
  • She Reads Truth– Another friend is doing this Bible Reading plan, with a free Bible Reading plan, accompanying app and accountability group.
  • Courtney Joseph at Women Living Well is also putting together a Bible Reading plan, and has just started working through Exodus.
  • My mum has found John Piper’s “Solid Joys” app really helpful this past year and YouVersion Bible App have lots of Bible Reading plans and devotions that are free too.
Personally, I think I am going to try the “How to Change Your Mind” approach to Bible reading. I’ve often felt like I need a Bible study guide or a concordance or questions to read alongside the Bible. Jen Wilkin in her book “Women of the Word” (2014, Crossway), really challenged me to read the Bible on its own, savouring the words as THE Word of God. In this book, Jen provides her own Bible Study principles to help equip us with the tools on how to approach Bible reading as study. Like anything, Jen encourages us to work at it and discipline ourselves so that we become students of the Bible.
 
In terms of prayer, this is an area that I need to grow in. For years I have journalled my prayers and I’ve found this helps keep me focused, though I often feel like I get stuck on presenting my wish list to God and become a bit self-focused. “Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God” is a new book on prayer by Tim Keller (2014, Dutton Books) that has caught my eye. It was Desiring God’s #1 Book for 2014 and will be on my “To Read” list for 2015. Keller’s “Gospel in Life” Bible study has been hugely influential in my Christian life, so I’m excited to read this one on prayer and give my prayer life some much needed vitamins. 
 
I’d love to hear anything you find helpful or encouraging or that you are planning on implementing in 2015 as we grow together in our pursuits of God and growing more like Jesus. 

photo credit: eisenrah via photopin cc

 

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