Where am I going and how am I going to get there?
Leadership books abound which ask these questions and coaching leaders to zero in on a purpose and then strategize their daily schedules to achieve this purpose.
Such intentionality in the context of the business world makes our own lack of purposefulness in our spiritual lives all the more obvious. But such a purposelessness stands in direct opposition to the purposefulness that God invites us into.
Jesus himself lived an incredibly purposeful life. If you pick up the gospel of John, you see that Jesus is very sensitive to discerning and following God’s purpose for his life. A purpose which leads ultimately not to self-fulfillment but to self-giving at the cross. In John 17:1, Jesus prays, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.”
How do we live a spiritual life with such purpose and awareness?
Just as we need a plan to study for a business exam, or to lock in our workouts to lose weight, so we need a plan for our spiritual life. So, what's your plan? What do you want? How are you going to grow in your understanding of God's Word? Or how are you going to grow in your prayer life? What current habits do you have? Do they need to be changed to grow? Do you need a shock to your system? Or maybe you need to expand what you're doing?
We need both the habits and the goal. On the one hand, there is a power in developing purposeful habits that we consistently practice over decades. On the other hand, many of our spiritual habits are without purpose, or have lost their purpose. We needs habits directed toward a finish line.
Our tendency is to do what we've always done, but just as the guy with the lopsided body in the gym who only bench presses and curls and never does cardio or lower body has a body that displays that workout routine, with biceps the size of cantaloupes, a generous gut, and legs that don’t look like they should be able to support the structure, so too do many of us have spiritual routines that have created top-heavy spiritual health.
If our spiritual disciplines are trapped in a narrow rut, we need to break out.
Do you read the Bible every day but your prayer life is constrained to inch deep requests to God? Do you journal daily but are disconnected from meaningful community? Do you study scripture deeply, but don’t serve the body of Christ meaningfully? When was the last time you fasted? Meditated? Memorized scripture?
Over the past year I have tried to take my personal mission statement and align it with my spiritual practices. What I found was that there were some spiritual “legs” I wasn’t working out that I needed to if I was going to develop purposefully and healthily. What do you need to develop?
May we dream, plan, and go after what God has for us: for his glory and our good.
Photo credit: Filip Mroz/Unsplash
For more on the Purposeful Spiritual Life Series, see: