Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Ideas to Jump-Start Your Spiritual Life

The majority of people out there believe on God and believe that there is a spiritual component to all of us.  Many people have given up on the God of the Bible because they had a crappy experience with church or with Christians sometime in their past.  Many people have not given up on the God of the Bible but still have a languishing spiritual life because they haven't been intentional about nurturing this part of themselves.  They spend much more time on physical health, occupational health, familial health, emotional health, and while these things are important they are not as critical as the spiritual side of us when it comes to our true fulfillment and purpose.  Here are three ideas to help jump-start a faltering spiritual life.

  1. Take a regular half day away - go somewhere away from all media and technology and use the time to pray, write, reflect, ponder, take inventory, confess the junk in your life.  I often ask God the question, "what's next for me?"  What's next in my own personal/spiritual development, what's next in my family life, what's next in my job?
  2. Adjust your input - most people are addicted to media.  Media can be a very positive thing if we utilize it to allow soul-expanding content to enter our hearts and minds. About two years ago we cancelled cable at our house (although we still get some channels that we watch).  Some great sources of spiritually enhancing content are: youversion - the bible for i-phones, podcasts of godly pastors/speakers, blog subscriptions to people who will challenge and stretch your thinking on a regular basis.  Use your media intake to expand your soul and not just as a mindless outlet.
  3. Find a spiritual partner/ mentor - this takes some initiative and some guts, but if you don't have someone walking your spiritual journey with you, you likely won't progress.  Most of my Christian life has been shared with like-minded travelers who served as sounding boards, confidants, truth-tellers, and butt-kickers.

What's your logical next step toward spiritual progress?


Danny Lucas said...

1) Read a Bible story all they way through. Jot some notes listing every character you find.

Pick one character and then, go back and reread the whole story from THAT character's point of view.

Repeat reading the story until you have read the same story over and over from every characters angle and view.

When you meet people tomorrow, it is likely you can see the world from their view better, and in the process, improve your view.

2) One verse. Pick it.
Repeat it aloud with voice emphasis on one word only.
Redo this until the whole verse is covered. The meaning often changes with emphasis. See if you can detect a change in what is being communicated with this following change in word emphasis out loud:
~~BE still and know that i am god.
~~be STILL and know that i am god.
~~be still AND know that i am god.
~~be still and KNOW that i am god.
~~be still and know THAT i am god.
~~be still and know that I am god.
~~be still and know that i AM god.
~~ be still and know that i am GOD.

8 words with 8 meanings depending on the word emphasis. There is a whole Bible of these available to all.

3. You know what is good.
Do what the Lord requires of you.
Act justly.
Love mercy.
Walk humbly with your God.
~~~Micah 6:8

Bonus 4. Find someone with more problems in their life, than you have in your life. Solve one of their problems as best you can.

Di said...

I disagree with your premise. The many are not His true children. We are all spiritually dead and cannot know the things of God until we have received His call/gift. The Holy Spirit does the changing from within, if we try and do it there will be nothing but frustration. Your tips and Danny's are good for the ones that are being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:4-14,2:1- IPeter 1:2, Romans 8:29-30 His own come to Him, even when there has been slacking off, they are hungry and thirsty. I would add that Prayer is of utmost importance more so than knowledge. Prayer builds intimacy and definitely this is the way His children repent when they have fallen out of fellowship, Worship is also important too for spiritual growth. His children should praise Him and be filled with joy. His promises to us are amazing more than we can imagine. Lastly, God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.

Danny Lucas said...

Derek's Blog post is titled:
"Ideas to Jump-Start Your Spiritual Life ".

He has pretty much defined his audience to those WITH a spiritual life, not the many.

This is confirmed below (in case someone thinks Derek infers all of humanity is in discussion and WE can make a spiritual life, without a Divine assist).

Derek now writes:
" Here are three ideas to help jump-start a faltering spiritual life."

He has now added a simple clarifier, "faltering".

So the premise is folks with a spiritual life, and withing that set, a subset of those whose spiritual lives are "faltering".

The slight change was required since Derek outlined significant ways that folks have simply abandoned an active spirituality.

I believe that he underestimates the number of people for whom this is true.

The three proposals are akin to taking care of your health or you will need a doctor.
Eat right.
Live correctly.
Then, your body is ok.

Well, same with the spirit.
He seeks the spiritual practices that do for the spiritual life, the things that good eating, etc., do for the body.... especially a body that is faltering spiritually.

Di is correct that HE come to us. We love,... for God first loved us. The initiation is established.

But I was in the cemetary with a young girl 2 months ago. She was laying on the ground talking, tho no one was there but me, visiting my mom (she died in May). Birthday ballons surrounded the grave of the man she loved. He was killed before his birthday, and before he could marry this beautiful woman. Her future husband was dead. Faith can be jarred that way.

An atheist wrote to Scott McClellen at Collide Magazine. He was accused of spewing "Hater-aid" all over. His online profile shows him to be an atheist. It also reveals that he is a former gay, though gays say that is impossible.

A visit to "Hater-aid's blog reveals a crushing view of Scott McClellan, but a begrudging alliance to the people who wrote comment, and tho not diminishing Christ, admitted that the church has flaws. A common denominator was established, that even those IN the church know there are some problems.

I know so many folks who are turned off by churchianity and religiosity, or folks like the above who are in spiritual pain, that new medicine for the soul is almost impossible to apply.

God does do so in His time and in His way. But sometimes, He uses real people to be a defibrillator for Him.

Like Nathan, to David.

To that extent, if we can take a "faltering" spirituality and revive it, we can then be used by God to others who have a spirit in "cardiac arrest" and are unable to live on their own.

Abraham, Moses, David, the list goes on. We are in good company to find ourselves like them, faltered spirituality was in each of them. They then jump started.... to live forever spiritually alive.

Prayer, worship, Bible reading, mentors, solitude and the rest of suggestions do not require Biblical verse support. They are common sense methods to protect from falling away.

A cornered, and injured animal is likely to attack when you reach out to help it. Same with an animal with one foot in the trap.

Their pain makes them impossible to approach.

Watch out for media?

Well, if you listen to media, a lot of things are ok, that our God says is not ok. Who will you listen to.

I sat on a chair at Barnes and Noble reading Frederick Buechner. A lovely 20 something sat down nearby and lifted a large book. Her boyfriend was ignoring her and wandering the store.

The book she lifted was a "History of Playboy" and had rather large, unmistakeable nude pics on all the pages. She peered intently to every part of every page.

How do you jump start spiritual life there?

She was not the least bit embarrased to have two full pages of naked women in her lap and a stranger guy asking: "Are you thinking of becoming a model?"

"No, I just never saw this book....I'm a student".

She told me her school, what country she was from (foreign student), her studies, hopes and dreams.
She likes to read.

"Me too", said I.
"I recommend Frederick Buechner around the corner aisle, maybe start with "Whistling in the Dark". It is the latest edition, but I like the earlier edition cuz it had a short story on "Darkness".

It was after the Resurrection, Jesus was on the beach cooking some fish for his friends. They were coming in from a night of fishing and it was dark. Jesus was using the breakfast get together to reunite with his buddy Peter, who betrayed him as a friend.
Buechner draws a stunning moment in Darkness when he describes the Risen Christ cupping His hand, to blow on a spark, to start a fire, to cook some fish for breakfast for his friends.

At the same time the Light of the World is doing this, a new day is breaking as the sun, the light of this world, is being drawn.....by those very same hands."

When the lass heard this story, the Playboy book was the farthest thing from her mind.

Will spirituality thrive in her heart?

I don't know, but the field was plowed for planting.

I suspect Derek's entire post is about keeping your spiritual battery charged, so that you can "cable out" to strangers in need of recharge or direction,... in a very unspiritual world.

Anonymous said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts

Derek said...

Great - thanks for stopping by.