A Framework for Faith/Spiritual Discipline
I pray you, Christ, to change my heart,/To make it whole;/Once you took on flesh like mine,/Now take my soul.
- Anonymous (Early Irish, date unknown)
I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!
- Psalm 119.32
Spiritual growth is something every believer is called to seek (2 Pet. 3.18), but it is not something that we can accomplish. God alone gives growth in our souls, by His means, at His pleasure, and on His schedule, unknown to us.
Still, we must seek to grow, and apply ourselves diligently to the task. Desiring to grow, our task is to furnish our souls with the resources spiritual growth requires.
This means being renewed in the spirit of our minds, banishing all thoughts and ways of thinking that do not reflect the mind of Christ and setting our minds on those that do (Rom. 12.1, 2; 1 Cor. 2.16; Col. 3.1-3). Since our minds are continually under assault from forces frivolous and sublime, secular and spiritual, wholesome and debasing, we must exercise constant vigilance and provide nutritious intellectual food for our hungry minds.
Spiritual growth also involves the heart, from which flow all the issues of life (Prov. 4.23). We must understand the complex and varied affections which our heart engenders, guarding against corrupting affections and securing those that issue in love for God and neighbor.
And we must understand the elements of a good conscience (1 Tim. 1.5) - values and priorities that are in line with the revealed will of God - and do what we can to fortify our conscience with divine propensities.
If we would truly grow in the Lord, so that we become more like Him from the inside-out, we must plead with the Lord to take our souls and to mold and make them according to His pleasure. We must do our part and supply our minds, hearts, and consciences with the resources Christ can use to transform us. But we must wait on Him, persevere in Him, and look continually to Him to do in us what only He can do.
Spiritual growth begins in desiring to grow, proceeds by furnishing our souls with the resources for growth, and takes shape and becomes a work of beauty in the hands of our divine Potter.
He is eager to grow us. Are we as eager as He?