I recently had the epiphany that personal development is useless. As a professed adherent to constant personal development in my own life, the revelation took me by surprise. I am always looking for ways to better myself, do things more effectively, and am consistently refining my habits and disciplines. But ultimately, personal development is useless because it starts with myself. I am a terribly flawed human being. We all are.
Nothing that comes from us will ever improve ourselves in a significant way. We are building on a flawed foundation (our flawed selves). While personal development may be useless, God-development is where the true answers are found. If we start with perfection, we have something worth building upon.
God development starts with God rather than ourselves. Instead of identifying areas in our lives on which we’d like to work, formulating a plan, and then getting busy, we will begin by asking God to reveal the areas of our lives He knows need work. This may involve a lot of prayer and even some fasting. I do know if we are diligent in our asking, God will show us the area with which He’d like to begin. A note here, for this to work, you’ve got to be completely surrendered to God. Nothing can be off limits. This is the ultimate test of our faith and commitment to Jesus as our Lord. What He says needs to change, we must change.
Growing spiritually will be even more painful than improving personally. God is going to strip away years, maybe even decades, of sludge and grime from your heart. Sin is sticky and won’t come off easily. It will cling to your heart and make you feel like your very soul is being ripped away from you. But it’s not true; it’s just another lie from the devil. In fact, your spirit is being refined and perfected by your loving and patient Creator. The big difference between God-development and personal development is one lasts for eternity and the other dies, probably fading long before we do. As followers of Jesus, we should be all about building what lasts forever.
Are you ready to believe personal development is useless? I won’t deny some good habits and life change can come from personal development, but I guarantee every change worth keeping will be an easy byproduct of your God-development process. All things lovely and true are sourced in God. None of it comes from within our sinful hearts. As we grow closer to Christ and allow Him to shape us to look more and more like Him, countless positive changes in our lives will come along for the ride. You get those for free. Ultimately, we all want to look like Jesus, and we want to do whatever it takes to get there. That is true of you, isn’t it? If not, you may have stumbled across the wrong blog. I doubt that’s true. I believe if you are reading this your deepest desire is to live the life you were designed to live. That means looking like Jesus your Creator. Personal development is useless. Looking like Jesus is everything. Which will you choose?