What do I do after I’ve surrendered my life to God? What do I do after I’ve responded to an altar call, come forward publicly, and declared my allegiance to the Lamb? The answer is GROW – continue to “grow in grace” (2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:15).
Paul says, “So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God” (Hebrews 6:1 NLT).
How do we grow spiritually? I have gleaned a few quotes in this regard (underlining is mine).
1. Personal, private prayer – “Prayer is a necessity; for it is the life of the soul. Family prayer, public prayer, have their place; but it is secret communion with God that sustains the soul life” (Education, 258).
2. Meditative praying – Not just a rambling of words or a rhyme you learned as a child, but meditating on Him as you talk to Him. “Meditation and prayer are necessary to a growth in grace” (Testimonies for the Church, 2:187).
3. Pray when you least want to – What do I do when I feel overshadowed by doubt and depression? “When we feel the least inclined to commune with Jesus, let us pray the most. By so doing we shall break Satan’s snare, the clouds of darkness will disappear, and we shall realize the sweet presence of Jesus” (Lift Him Up, 372).
4. Pray like you mean it – We are often too casual and complacent in our praying. We regard prayer as a magic tool or a lottery ticket. If it works, good; if it doesn’t then I didn’t do it right. We should pray more seriously, like it’s a life or death issue (Hebrews 12:4), and with greater faith. “Look unto Jesus in simplicity and faith. Gaze upon Jesus until the spirit faints under the excess of light. We do not half pray. We do not half believe. “Ask, and it shall be given you.” Luke 11:9. Pray, believe, strengthen one another. Pray as you never before prayed that the Lord will lay His hand upon you, that you may be able to comprehend the length and breadth and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Testimonies for the Church, 7:214).
5. Read the Word – Prayer and meditation go hand in hand with Bible reading. “Those who will put on the whole armor of God and devote some time every day to meditation and prayer and to the study of the Scriptures will be connected with heaven and will have a saving, transforming influence upon those around them” (Testimonies for the Church, 5:112, 113). “Several times each day precious, golden moments should be consecrated to prayer and the study of the Scriptures, if it is only to commit a text to memory, that spiritual life may exist in the soul. The varied interests of the cause furnish us with food for reflection and inspiration for our prayers. Communion with God is highly essential for spiritual health, and here only may be obtained that wisdom and correct judgment so necessary in the performance of every duty” (Testimonies for the Church, 4:459).
6. Experiential spirituality – Spiritual growth does not happen automatically, by attending to rituals, or attending church. It needs to real, and relational, with a real Person, Jesus Christ! “What we need is a deep, individual heart and soul experience. Then we shall be able to tell what God is doing and how He is working. We need to have a living experience in the things of God; and we are not safe unless we have this” (The Review and Herald, July 1, 1909; Prayer, 20). “The depth and fervor of John’s affection for his Master was not the cause of Christ’s love for him, but the effect of that love. John desired to become like Jesus, and under the transforming influence of the love of Christ he did become meek and lowly. Self was hid in Jesus. Above all his companions, John yielded himself to the power of that wondrous life. . . John knew the Saviour by an experimental knowledge. His Master’s lessons were graven on his soul. When he testified of the Saviour’s grace, his simple language was eloquent with the love that pervaded his whole being” (The Acts of the Apostles, 544).
7. Persevere in forming spiritual habits – A new habit doesn’t stick if repeated once or twice. It needs to be a daily habit. “If we would develop a character which God can accept, we must form correct habits in our religious life. Daily prayer is as essential to growth in grace, and even to spiritual life itself, as is temporal food to physical well-being. We should accustom ourselves to often lift the thoughts to God in prayer. If the mind wanders, we must bring it back; by persevering effort, habit will finally make it easy. We cannot for one moment separate ourselves from Christ with safety. We may have His presence to attend us at every step, but only by observing the conditions which He has Himself laid down” (The Review and Herald, May 3, 1881; Daughters of God, 81).
Print or cut these seven spiritual growth truths out and paste them on your bathroom mirror, or keep them in your Bible. Read them often to remind you to follow through. Don’t allow your cell phone to distract you. Turn it off, or leave it in another room on silent, when you have your devotional time. Let nothing take your attention away when you meet with the God of the universe. He’s waiting to give you His full attention and bless you with His presence!