We don’t grow for three simple reasons:
- we don’t have a plan
- we get discouraged; beat ourselves up when we fail
- we try to do it alone
Here’s a brief explanation, and what we can do about these barriers to growth.
We Don’t Have a Plan
We all want to grow, but growth doesn’t happen automatically. Desire isn’t enough. Without a plan, we won’t know where to start and where to invest our limited energy.
The solution isn’t a complicated plan. Life is busy, and the more we get overwhelmed, the less we get done. We need a simple plan if we’re going to grow, one that fits into our lives — our real lives with endless demands and not enough margin.
The place to begin is with simple, tiny habits, so small that they’re not overwhelming, but significant enough that they make a difference. We live almost half of our lives on autopilot. Simple habits can build practices in our lives that will make a big difference.
We suggest beginning with three core habits:
- Read or listen to the Bible. Find a way to do this that works for you. Study is great, but reading is enough. Find a way to do this regularly, even in small amounts, and it will help you grow.
- Pray. Don’t aim to become a prayer warrior who spends hours a day in prayer. Start small. Talk to God about what’s going on in your life. Begin to manage your life through prayer.
- Get involved with a church. Yes, attend, but do more. Get to know people. Join a small group or a class. Invite people into your life, because God made you to grow in community.
These three core habits are essential. We never outgrow them. Start slowly. It’s a simple, workable plan that will put you on the path to growth.
We Get Discouraged and Beat Ourselves Up
Sometimes we struggle to grow because we fail. It’s easy to get discouraged with ourselves. We’re not where we would like to be. We have a hard time staying consistent. Sometimes it even feels like we’re losing ground.
The good news: God’s grace is always greater than our failure (Romans 5:20). We never have to beat ourselves up. For those who trust Christ, our sins — all of them, including our present and future ones — have been dealt with at the cross. God gives grace to those who need it.
Even better, we can know that God is at work in our lives. He’s promised to complete that work (Philippians 1:6). It may be slow sometimes, but make no mistake: God will completely change you from the inside out.
No matter how many times we fail, we can keep looking to God’s grace. He won’t quit on you.
We Try to Do It Alone
The final reason we struggle to grow is that we try to do it alone. We live in an individualistic culture. We tend to think that we can do it on our own.
The reality: God made us to grow with others. The best way to grow is in community with others. It’s why he’s given us the church. The church is inconvenient and frustrating sometimes, but it’s essential for our growth. We need the one-another ministry. Not only that, but others need us as well so that they can grow.
We grow as we follow a simple plan, rely on God’s grace, and live in community with other Christians who want to grow.