How to Grow
ccording to Gallup, the number one personal concern of the American people is to have good physical health. Many people also long for a happy home and family life. I'm sure this is true for many people in many other countries. However, to find these, we need to develop good emotional and spiritual health as well as taking care of our physical wellbeing.
When a person responds to God's call and receives Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, he becomes spiritually alive and is a brand new person inside. As Paul said in the Bible, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is come."1 One still has his old self to contend with, but God has given him a brand new spiritual life.
To grow and be healthy physically we know that we need to eat, sleep, relax, and exercise properly. To grow and be healthy spiritually, we need to develop a close relationship with God and take care of our new Christian or spiritual life. The following suggestions can help you do this.
R ... P ... T ... O
Jesus Christ said, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."2 Jesus was referring to the Bible, which is God's Word to mankind. In it we find spiritual food. Its truth teaches us about God. And its principles for daily living, if we live by them, guarantee a greater sense of physical, mental, and spiritual health than modern man has yet devised.
The best way to get to know the Bible is to read it on a regular, daily basis. Read a modern translation and use some teaching aids (such as the Wycliffe Bible Commentary). For new Christians, it is helpful to begin with the Gospels of Mark and John in the New Testament and the Psalms and Proverbs in the Old Testament.
P ... Pray
Communication is the key to all healthy relationships and needs to be two-way, not only with people, but also with God. God communicates to us through nature, our inner spirit, other people, our circumstances and various other means, but primarily through his Word, the Bible. But how do we communicate to God?
We do this through prayer, which is simply talking to God as you would to any close friend. It includes expressing love, thanksgiving, and all our feelings as well as presenting our needs and requests.
For me, praying doesn't come naturally or easily. So, many of my prayers I write in letters to God. I also find it helpful to visualize Christ being with me wherever I am.
As I need to spend quality time with family every day, I try to do the same with God. To do this I like to set aside a quiet time each morning to read from the Bible and other devotional material and to pray. If I neglect this important area of my life for too long, I end up feeling soul starved.
Does prayer work? John wrote in the Bible, "This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears usówhatever we askówe know that we have what we asked of him."3
T ... Trust
Another benefit of being a Christian is the inner security we find as we learn to trust God for every detail of our life.
For one thing, we have the security of knowing that we have life after death. "And this is the testimony," says the Bible, "God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life. . .I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."4
We also have the security of knowing that nothing happens to us in this life without God's knowledge and care. Jesus reminded us that even the hairs of our head are all numbered.5 Furthermore, if we put our trust in God, he has promised to supply our every need.6 And Peter encourages us to "Cast all our cares on him because he cares for us."7
Every day I like to trust my life to God. I am convinced he can make a much better job of it than I can.
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