Once you get faith you now need to grow it. In fact, once you get it, it is our responsibility to grow it.
Growth is not an automatic process. We do not magically get better. We only get better when we intentionally grow ourselves. Just because you are using your faith doesn’t necessarily mean you’re growing it. For example, just because you get out of bed in the morning, walk around, and eat doesn’t mean you are working out. There is a difference between living life by getting around and taking intentional time to grow your muscle strength. Any fitness instructor will tell you that walking during your daily activities is good, but taking time to regularly exercise is infinitely better.
If you want to grow your faith, you can’t just use it by default, you have to work it out by decision. This means you have to decide to grow your faith with a growth plan. Many people use their faith, but few are willing to grow their faith. The only way to become better is to act on those things which make us better. We will never fully be used by God if we are unwilling to be disciplined for Him. Jesus calls us to be disciples. In the Bible, the word disciple primarily refers to a student of Jesus. He is the Rabbi, meaning teacher, and we are His students. Think about what it truly means to be a student of Jesus. A student is striving to achieve something greater and is completely focused on becoming an expert in that which they are studying. You cannot become a disciple without discipline; they are linked together as one in the same. In order to become a disciple, a student of Christ, it takes discipline. This means we can’t just talk about what we are going to do, but we must live it out through our actions. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world.”
So how do you have a faith growth plan? Here are some tips…
1) Get Resources
No one will ever grow to their maximum potential without reading. Reading great books, stories, biographies, articles, and blogs pertaining to faith is one of the fastest ways to grow on your journey. Take the wisdom and insights offered from others and apply it to your situation. To transform, the mind needs stimulation. One of the best ways to stimulate the mind is to read. It lets you soar on the wings of other people’s great ideas and insights. If you could’ve spent a month with missionary and explorer David Livingston for $24.95 would you have? If you could spend a week with Billy Graham for $14.95 would you? If you could spend 6 months with your favorite Biblical teacher for just $19.95 would you? The truth is, you can. Get their resources and study their strategies and you’ll gain their God-given wisdom.
Books are to the mind what nutrition is to the body. The more you dive into great books, the more growth you’ll experience. American philosopher Mortimer Jerome Adler said, “In the case of good books, the point is not how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” If you want inspiration, simply read. If you want information, study what you read. If you want transformation, act on what you read.
2) Get Mentors
You can learn most everything you need in life by being around the right people. Finding mentors who will lift you to a higher level is vital for success. People become like those they surround themselves with. What kind of people are you surrounding yourself with? Successful people are drawn to other successful people. They intentionally seek out those who are better and further along than they are themselves. One of the greatest traits of highly successful people is the drive to find and learn from people who are good at what they do. They go the extra mile to network with those who have gone before. We cannot reach our potential alone; we need others to help draw the best out of us.
Every leader needs a guide to help bring out the best in them. Luke had Yoda, Katniss had Haymitch, Frodo had Gandolph, Dorothy had Glenda, and the list goes on. Everyone needs a trusted coach to help them unleash the hero they were created to be. In almost every profession, high capacity individuals use a coach. Movie stars have acting coaches on set to help them in their roles, singers have vocal coaches during recording sessions, athletes have coaches during practices and on game day. And it’s not just those starting out in their occupation. Seasoned professionals continue to use coaches for the longevity of their career. The fact is, having a coach helps bring out your very best. Surround yourself with those who can speak wisdom into your life and you’ll go to a higher level.
3) Get Experiences
All experience is not created equal. Contrary to what you may have heard, experience is not the best teacher; educated experience is. There is a big difference between the two. Experience doesn’t teach you anything unless you take the time to learn from it. It is not enough to simply go through situations; you have to grow through situations. Just because someone goes through a difficult time does not necessarily mean they automatically learned from it. We all know people who have gone through a lot but have nothing to show from it. Educating yourself as to what you have acquired through your experiences will give you incredible insight into the future.
It’s not what we’ve experienced that shapes us; it’s what we’ve learned from our experiences that truly shape us. Unless we take the time to reflect, we will be destined to repeat the past, or worse, forget about it. Every experience brings with it a seed of success. Don’t allow yourself to waste experiences. Instead, take time to cultivate growth lessons from your experiences. Vernon Howard said, “Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.” One of my mentors, Dr. John C. Maxwell says, “Reflective thinking turns experience into insight.” Take time to sit down and learn after every experience and you’ll gain wisdom for a greater future.
1) Get a list of resources you need and start to read.
2) Find at least 2 mentors to start meeting with on a consistent basis and be prepared with questions for them.
3) Build a reflective thinking routine after each experience you have and write down at least 2-3 takeaways from it.