Do you take periodic inventory of areas in which you need to grow? This is an important practice for leaders.
And equally as important as identifying areas of growth is taking steps to actually see growth take place. If you want to see change in your life, here are seven tips:
- Recognize your need. It sounds obvious, but it really is the first step. Specify exactly what type of growth or change you are looking for. Is it in your Bible study? Soulwinning? Office skills? Management? Family? Personal health? Whatever it is, identify it clearly enough to write it down.
- Repent of your way. Depending on the exact nature of where you want to change, “repent” may be a strong word here. But then, again, it may not. I’m surprised by how many people will say for years, “I guess I’m just not the organized type,” when they know full well that lack of organization is limiting their ministry. To me, it seems there is the underlying sin of apathy when we are content to stay the way we are with the excuse, “That’s just the way I am.”
- Seek the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing of lasting fruit in or through the life of a believer will be accomplished without the power of the Holy Spirit. To use a nautical analogy, we can set our sails in the direction we want to go, but without the wind of His power, we are going nowhere. Yield yourself to Him, and make the need you’ve identified a specific area of prayer.
- Believe change is possible. Sometimes we don’t see change in our lives because we don’t really expect the Holy Spirit to answer our prayers and to help us. The arm of flesh will fail every time, but the Holy Spirit can and will change us to Christ’s likeness when we seek His power.
- Be patient. Remember that lasting results take time. Growth is a process, and change may be incremental.
- Refuse to be distracted or quit. One of the best ways to sustain focus is to make yourself accountable. Share your goal with a close friend or post it online and ask people to check up on you. If your goal is in an area of spiritual growth, share it with spiritual leaders in your life, and ask them to hold you accountable. Accountability doesn’t keep you from failure, but it does help you stay in the race and keep your mind and heart set on the finish line.
- Maintain the course. Distraction is just as deadly to growth after you have reached your goal as it is while you are pursuing it. For example, have you ever lost several pounds, celebrated victory, and then let your diet go and gained them all right back? In every area of change, it is vital that you place checkpoints along your way for sustained victory even after you’ve met the initial goal.
Change is not as difficult as we lead ourselves to believe. It does require sustained focus and commitment, but it is reachable.
Every Christian with a commitment to excellence and a yielded heart to the Holy Spirit will regularly see needed areas of adjustment and growth. At these points, we must seek the power of the Holy Spirit and purposefully cooperate with Him as He works change in our lives.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.—Philippians 3:13–14