Last week, I mentioned that your plan for marital growth must come from your personal time with the Lord. And I do not back down from that. My suggestions mean nothing if they are not relevant to your situation. But I hope that in the past week you have spent some time taking your marriage before the Lord in anticipation of how He wants to challenge and grow you this year.
If not, please walk away from what I have to say and go spend some time with the Lord.
If so, then I am now free to share with you some of what I have learned over the years. After all, God gave us one another for a reason: to grow together and encourage one another.
So, what have I learned?
The number one lesson I have learned over the years is the necessity of personal growth. That seems like an obvious statement, I know. We should always be growing, whether spiritually or in other ways (well, except physically – I’d rather be done with that by now!).
But, is it really as intuitive as we might wish?
- Spiritual growth is not simply reading the Bible every morning to fulfill the “quiet time” requirement.
- Spiritual growth is not being a faithful church attender.
- Spiritual growth is not acting on the thoughts and ideas that spring from the spiritual growth of others.
- Spiritual growth is not reading the latest and greatest spiritual growth book.
- Spiritual growth is not attending the great women’s conference every year.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
Those things are not bad for our spiritual growth. In fact, I would argue that we cannot truly grow spiritually without daily time spent in the Word of God and regular interaction with our church family. (The spiritual growth books and women’s conferences can help, as well, although they are not essential and can even be harmful if not handled properly.)
But, none of these things truly bring spiritual growth. Instead, the bottom-line component of personal growth is a continuous interaction with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We can be very active in “spiritual” things yet not growing spiritually at all.
Were you to make a very honest evaluation of your spiritual growth, what would it reveal?
I will confess that there have been many, many times in my marriage when my spiritual growth was stagnant. Oh, I went to church regularly – I am the pastor’s wife, after all. I had my daily quiet time. But, I was not growing. I was not connecting with my Savior on a daily basis. My life stood as exhibit A of “going through the motions.”
And my marriage suffered because of it.
When we marry, we set aside much of our individuality to become something new. But there is one thing we all retain: a personal identity before the Lord Jesus Christ, each of us an individual member of the priesthood of believers.
- I am individually accountable before the throne of God.
- You are individually accountable before the throne of God.
- Our spouses are each individually accountable before the throne of God.
If we do not handle that accountability well, our marriages will suffer. My desire is to be much more proactive and intentional in my own spiritual growth this year. Will you join me?