Spiritual growth is very similar to successfully running a marathon race, allow me to explain…
Many years ago, I trained to run the Disney full marathon race. It was a spontaneous decision with no prior experience unless you count my half-hearted attempt at high-school track and field. I knew that I would never train for a 26.2-mile run without a lofty goal and to run through Cinderella’s castle to cross the finish line seemed down-right cool. To complete the race, I had to gain some knowledge about running that type of distance and every essential component required to achieve the goal. I found a “marathon for beginners” running plan, and after several weeks of training, I realized that this was not just a physical activity. It required a balanced blend of mind, body, and spirit. Through trial and error, I discovered that if I left out even one of the key ingredients to fuel the mind, body, spirit machine, I was destined to fail. I needed a new meal plan, mental and physical discipline, weight training, breathing techniques, stretching, and fitted running gear. Every component was essential for the bigger picture, the main event. Independently they were good but applying them all at the same time was the difference maker for me to glide through Cinderella’s castle and receive my Mickey Mouse medallion as I stepped over the finish line. Wow, what an experience!
Our spiritual growth reminds me of training for the Disney full marathon. Life is a marathon although we treat it like a sprint most of the time. We apply one thing for a short duration expecting an unrealistic result only to be disappointed by the outcome. Crossing that finish line was exhilarating, but it only lasted a few seconds. The greatest impact and life lessons learned came from the year-long journey of training. I had breakthroughs and set-backs along the way, and I learned more about my mind, body, and spirit than ever before. I learned that the joy of life is within the journey, not the destination.
There are essential components necessary to establish a healthy Christian lifestyle, and independently they are good but applying them consistently at the same time is a game changer for releasing the amazing life that God intended vs. the limited version that we conjured up. If Heaven on earth is our goal, why not start living it sooner than waiting to cross that finish line?
10 essentials for Spiritual Growth:
1. God as our highest priority. Making the decision to put God first in all that we do is the core requirement towards spiritual growth.
2. Bible knowledge. People ask, “how do I get closer to Jesus?” We build a relationship with Jesus the same way we would with anyone. We spend time with them and learn who they are. The difference is that God wrote it all down for us in the Holy Bible.
3. Prayer. Praying to God strengthens our faith and our bond with the Lord.
4. Church Fellowship. We find comfort, strength, and community through fellow Believers. Our worship, praise, and contributions to the local church are vital in our walk.
5. Time focused on God. Each day is an opportunity to seek and experience God’s love and strength. It’s wise to dedicate time quietly listening for spiritual guidance to steer our steps.
6. Tithing. God always provides, and he only asks for a small portion of our overall treasure to be given back. Tithing fosters selflessness and cultivates a cheerful giver.
7. Fasting. Just as Jesus did, fasting is an important component of spiritual growth and getting closer to Jesus. Countless stories of breakthrough healing and miracles occur in the process of fasting.
8. Service to others. Volunteering our time to charity or missions work is essential to dismantling pride while fostering humbleness and compassion.
9. Discipling others. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” – Matthew 28:19
10. Worship and praise. Praising God is vital to our faith and ever so pleasing to God. Thanking and praising Him through worship music or expressing joy is so delightful to God.
Applying all 10 components simultaneously and consistently will transform our lives. Eternity is the longest marathon ever created. Wouldn’t you prefer to experience the amazing race through many castles before we ever reach the finish line?
Check back for a blog post covering each essential component in more detail.
Carpe diem – Teresa