The hardest person in the world to manage is you, and you are the only one who can do it. You are the only one who can manage your emotions, spiritual life, and relationships. Nobody else can do it for you. Just like no one else can’t work out for you or eat for you; you can’t have someone else manage you. You can hire a coach, ask for help, or find a mentor, but ultimately only you can manage you.
Here is a little formula that works:
Intention + Action = Outcome.
You can have all the good intentions in the world but unless you act on those intentions nothing is going to happen. Last fall I intended to lose 10 pounds but didn’t change my eating habits. So, now I weight the same.
That formula applies to most things and it certainly applies to your spiritual life. Spiritual growth happens by intention. If you intend to grow spiritually, you need to take action. You can’t outsource or delegate your own spiritual growth. Only you can commit to spiritual growth.
If you don’t commit to it, you won’t grow. We become what we are committed to. Jesus says: “Come follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” Matthew 4:19.
Spiritual growth is a gradual process that takes place over time. The key is to stay connected to Christ. In John 15, Jesus uses a fruit tree as an example of how to grow. He says, “stay connected to me”.
“5I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
The biblical term for spiritual growth is sanctification. Sanctification is the process of continually giving your fleshly desires over to God so that the Holy Spirit will be able to make you more Christ like.
For example, as you give your anger to God, there is room for God’s peace to fill that space that anger used to occupy. God cannot fill what he cannot have. Give that space of anger over to God so he can fill it with peace and love.
If you struggle with lust, fill that space with prayer. Pray that your husband or wife will meet your needs, and you theirs. If you are single, pray that God will provide you the right person if you desire to get married or remarried.
The Japanese use the word kaison which means “a little bit better every day”. If you get just a little better every day you will be continually improving. They applied the concept of kaison to car making and that is why Japan makes some of the best cars in the world. Back in the late 60’s nobody would buy a Japanese car because their quality was so poor. Then they started practicing kaison. By the 80’s, while American made cars were only going 100,000 miles, Japanese cars started lasting over 200,000. Now we expect cars to last well over 200,000 miles all because the Japanese committed to building better cars.
The same principle applies to spiritual growth, but instead of kaison the bible calls it sanctification. Growing closer to Christ day by day, as you choose to stay connect to Him day by day.
It takes time for your life to change, and it will if you are intentional and committed. If your spiritual life is the same now as it was two years ago, you need to ask yourself: “Am I growing spiritually?” If not, you need to figure out why not. Only you can manage you. There is no better time than right now to start strengthening your spiritual life. It will help you in every other area of your life.