By Matt Friend with Michelle Thompson
Another year passes and you blow out even more candles. “Are there really that many on my birthday cake?” you ask.
You want to make progress in life, to grow as a person, to be more needed today than yesterday, to make a contribution to the people you love… but how can you grow?
A – Admit your need.
Admit you need to grow.
Whether you desire to grow in your spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, cultural, relational, or financial wellness… the best way to start is by looking ahead to your desired destination, and recognize the gaps from where you are currently.
In what ways do you want to grow? Where do you need to grow?
If your growing edge isn’t obvious, I recommend asking a trusted friend or family member about where he or she thinks personal growth is needed in your life.
B – Believe God for it.
Believe that others are for your growth, not against it.
Someone’s in your corner, even if you don’t feel like it. Maybe it’s a teacher, a current or former coach, the person who sits near you at work, an old acquaintance you haven’t seen in a while, a neighbor, an aunt, or a close friend. Someone’s in your corner.Someone’s in your corner, even if you don’t feel like it. Maybe it’s a teacher, a current or former coach, the person who sits near you at work, an old acquaintance you haven’t seen in a while, a neighbor, an aunt, or a close friend.… Click To Tweet
The people in our church have come to believe the words of the Bible when it promises that God is for us, that He wants our best, and that He wants us to grow.
- His creation showcases growth, from the smallest cell to the ever-expanding universe.
- Though all growth has been stunted by humanity’s choice to disobey God, the entire storyline of the Bible is about Jesus, our Shepherd, coming to rescue His sheep. He cares for our wellbeing, both now and in eternity.
- Even after we put our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He continues transforming us. One day, He will make all things new!
C – Clear the soil.
Just as a gardener must clear the soil of any weeds or rocks that could hinder growth, so we must clear our lives of obstacles that might hinder our growth.
What’s standing in the way of you reaching your goal?
- If it’s a spiritual obstacle, have you prayed about it?
- If it’s a person who is holding you back, have you discussed it with them or considered surrounding yourself with more encouraging influences?
- If it’s a biological or psychosocial challenge, let’s not be part of the stigma for mental health––we need to talk about it. Have you discussed it with your doctor?
- If it’s simply a scheduling issue, are you ready to take charge of your calendar and prioritize what really matters?
D – Depend on a Higher Power.
There’s good news and bad news…
- Bad News: You can’t make yourself grow; somebody else has to do it for you.
- Good news: You can’t make yourself grow; somebody else has to do it for you.
Yes, that’s both difficult and encouraging news! Just as you didn’t cause your own birth, and just as you aren’t ultimately in control of your own physical growth, you’re not powerful enough to superintend your own personal growth.
We, at Bible Center Church, believe the words of Jesus…
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener… Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:1-5).
The happiest day of our life is when we stop trying to control our own growth, but trust Jesus with our marriage, friendships, finances, career, emotions… and ultimately with our destiny.The happiest day of our life is when we stop trying to control our own growth, but trust Jesus with our marriage, friendships, finances, career, emotions... and ultimately with our destiny. Click To Tweet
E – Engage with others.
We grow best by engaging others who encourage–not discourage–our personal growth.
Life was never intended to be a solo sport. We were designed to depend on others for inspiration and accountability. Just as we learned discipline from our parents, a coach, a teacher, or a mentor… we learn to grow through the active presence of other people in our lives.Life was never intended to be a solo sport. We were designed to depend on others for inspiration and accountability. Click To Tweet
F – Feed yourself.
Healthy growth requires healthy nutrition in all areas of life, so, you’ll want to build a diet strategy that works for you.
No matter where or how you desire to grow, I always recommend the Bible as the first and primary resource. Even if it’s new to you, or you find it intimidating, or you find it difficult to understand… read it anyway. Download the Bible app and listen to it. Meditate on it.
At our church, we use the New International Version for all preaching and teaching, but the New Living Translation is also good for those new to the Bible. I recommend starting in the New Testament with the book of Matthew, and reading a few chapters each day.
You won’t be disappointed by its impact!
Other aspects of personal growth may include healthy exposure to sunlight, a protected sleep schedule, taking advantage of all your vacation days, reading good books, listening to good music, or regularly enjoying coffee with a good friend.
G – Get a coach.
Few of us can grow without a coach. This is true in our physical fitness, our career, and our spiritual health.
Let me recommend the greatest coach of all… Jesus of Nazareth. He grew just like you and I grow!
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52).
Thankfully, Jesus fulfilled what you and I never could. By living the perfect life, sacrificing Himself on the cross on our behalf, rising again, and ascending back into Heaven… Jesus wants to save us, transform us, and grow us in ways that we never could on our own.
Matt Friend, a Charleston native and tenth generation West Virginian, graduated from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has served in pastoral ministry since 2002 and at Bible Center Church since March 1, 2016 (as our sixth Lead Pastor). He and Sarah (his high school sweetheart and wife) are raising two teenage daughters, Katie and Riley, and one son, Kadyn. Together, they are advocates for adoption and all things Charleston. In his free time, he enjoys reading, running, kayaking, and spending time with his family and two dogs, Queso and Sabi.
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