Written by Erik Gernand
A couple of weeks ago I ran across some research from two separate places that were both studying the same thing. These organizations wanted to identify the catalysts that help spur Christians on to spiritual maturity?
The first organization, LifeWay Publishing Company, followed 2500 people for a year in 2008. Through various assessments they categorized people into one of four levels of commitment to Jesus at the beginning of the year. On one end of the spectrum there were people exploring faith in Jesus. And on the other end were people who had become fully devoted followers. Throughout the year they studied what kinds of catalysts, practices, experiences, etc… helped people move on that spectrum towards becoming a fully devoted follower.
The second group, Willow Creek Community Church, studied similar things, except that they ended up studying 1,500 churches and 65,000 people over a four-year period! Again, they were looking for the catalysts of spiritual growth.
When all the results were in, one catalyst soared above all the others when it came to effectively moving people into deeper levels of spiritual maturity. As a pastor, a part of me wishes that catalyst was “listening to great sermons” or even “attending a great church program.” But do you know what the greatest catalyst for spiritual growth is by a 2-1 margin over the next closest one?
Personally reading the Bible on a regular basis.
I’m assuming, if you’ve made it this far in reading the devotional for today, that you are interested in growing in your relationship with Jesus. And I simply want to remind you today (and research backs this up!), that if you want to grow up to maturity in Christ, there is simply no substitute for personally engaging with the scriptures on a regular basis. This is a spiritual discipline in which God regularly and faithfully meets those who are seeking him.
So, pull out the Bible app on your phone. Get your Bible off the shelf today. Listen to the audio version on your commute. Reflect on and maybe even memorize the verse below. Find a way of engaging with God’s Word today through the scriptures.
This practice will move you closer to the heart of God. It will not fail you.
For no word from God will ever fail. – Luke 1:37