Sustainable spiritual growth

By Dave Henning / June 15, 2017

“Sustainable spiritual growth happens when I actually want to do what I ought to do (emphasis author’s).”- John Ortberg

As John Ortberg continues Chapter 4 of The Me I Want to Be, he asks this proven conversation stopper.  He queries, How are your spiritual disciplines going?  Most people, John quips, mention a very short list of activities that fall in the “I ought to do this, but I don’t get to do it as much as I should, so it makes me feel guilty just thinking about it” category.

Thus, Pastor Ortberg offers an alternative question: What do you do that makes you feel fully alive?  Everyone, John observes, understands feeling fully alive.  And everyone longs for that.  Next, John applies this idea to his definition of a spiritual discipline: “simply an activity you engage in to be made fully alive by the Spirit of Life.”

However, Pastor Ortberg stresses, spiritual disciplines or activities are not:

  • doing whatever feels good in the moment
  • simply participating in what feels comfortable
  • pursuing our distorted list of “what counts” toward spiritual growth
  • the activities themselves- but whether we do them with and through the Holy Spirit

In conclusion, John underscores that no relationship built purely on “should” lasts.  People you love don’t want you to be with them simply because you think you should.  When people love you, they give you freedom.  And in freedom, desire grows.

Likewise, John notes, freedom exists in the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Speaking personally, Pastor Ortberg states:

“It may seem strange, but when I think of God giving me freedom from the staleness of too many ‘shoulds’, I find that my love and admiration for him grows.  I want to be around a God like that!”

Today’s question: How does the Holy Spirit power and strengthen your sustainable spiritual growth?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Knowing where the land mines lie”

About the author

Dave Henning

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