Personal growth never happens by accident. To grow as a disciple of Jesus you have to make a decision to grow and then intentionally implement a growth plan in your life. The key word here is “intentional.”
In my experience most people get saved and begin to read their Bible, pray, and attend a local church. All of this is good. But, if you just read your Bible you are not going to grow spiritually or even in your character. The Bible itself states we need to “study to show ourselves approved as a workman who need not be ashamed…” That is much more than a casual reading of two or three chapters a day. That is digging in and learning truths and principles and then applying them to your life.
And attending church and hearing a sermon each week will also not bring about much change. Many believers have heard thousands of great sermons and have not changed in the least.
These things, reading the bible and hearing teachings may cause some “accidental” growth but not the constant, intentional growth we need to become effective, mature believers and ministers of the Gospel.
So, we need to change from accidental to intentional growth and plan to grow in the various areas where we know we need to see and embrace change.
People tend to get into ruts in life. They get in an easy groove and they don’t try to break out of it – even when it’s taking them in the wrong direction. After a while, they just get by. If they learn something, it’s because of a happy accident. Don’t let that happen to you! If that is the attitude you’ve developed, then you would do well to remember that the only difference between a rut and a grave is the length!
How do you know if you’ve slipped into a rut? Take a look at the differences between accidental growth and intentional growth:
ACCIDENTAL GROWTH INTENTIONAL GROWTH
Plans to start tomorrow Insists on starting today
Waits for growth to come Takes complete responsibility to grow
Learns only from mistakes Often learns before mistakes happen
Depends on good luck Relies on hard work
Quits early and often Perseveres long and hard
Falls into bad habits Fights for good habits
Talks big Follows through
Plays it safe Takes risks
Thinks like a victim Thinks like a learner
Relies on talent Relies on character
Stops learning after graduation Never stops growing
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” (wife of a former president of the United States)
If you want to reach your potential and become the person you were created to be, you must do much more than just experience life and hope that you learn what you need along the way. You must go out of your way to seize growth opportunities as if your future depended on it. Why? Because it does.
Growth doesn’t just happen – not for me, not for you, not for anybody. You have to go after it!