Develop (verb): cultivate, prosper
This semester, I am taking a (mandatory) class on Spiritual Formation -- basically Spiritual growth. One of the primary tasks of the class is to create a two-week Spiritual Growth Plan, then continue to update that plan throughout the course. After creating and starting my plan, I realized how simple and effective this can be in the life of any Christian, so I wanted to share a bit about it with all of you so that you can take advantage of this method of Spiritual Growth!!!
Purpose. Many Christians try to read the bible every day and spend some time in prayer, but there are several Spiritual Disciplines that can be practiced in the life of a Christian. If we think of these disciplines as physical exercises, we know that consistency and variety is what keeps our bodies healthy. We need cardio and weight training. We must work our legs and arms. Consistency in these things keeps us strong and healthy. It is the same in the Christian life; we must practice consistency and stretch ourselves to practice other disciplines in order to grow and strengthen spiritually.
Plan. A Spiritual Growth Plan is just a list of disciplines you want to practice in your life for the next two weeks. Things like Bible Reading and Prayer should be a part of everyone's list, but there are many things that you can add, like Journaling, Fellowship, Worship, Fasting, Titheing, Serving, and Evangelism. You can also add "practical" things to your plan as well, like Physical Exercise or Financial Control -- both have to do with being a good steward of what God has given. Just pick some things to do daily or weekly and write out your goals.
Here is a sample from my plan: Prayer -- I will set aside 20 minutes every day to pray, I will create a prayer list of requests including a list of unsaved family/friends, I will prayer for a different country/people group every week.
While my Prayer goal has three components, yours can be as simple as just praying every day. This is why the plan works well -- every person can choose goals based on where they are spiritually. Each person can grow at their own pace in the areas in which they need to grow. After two weeks, you evaluate how you did (we are using a chart to check off days) and update your goals accordingly. By continuing this practice over a few months, you should be more consistent in spiritual disciplines and should be able to see where you are growing!!!
Partner. One thing I recommend is finding a Growing Partner. If you and a friend both agree to make and follow a Spiritual Growth plan, you can encourage each other to continue growing. Just be careful to keep it from becoming a competition -- that might mean not telling each other what goals you are doing, but just asking if you completed your daily and weekly goals. This person can also become a great Prayer Partner for you. This is something that wasn't part of the class, but I believe has a lot of value and will help with continued motivation.