Often, Christians younger in the faith than I am, have asked me how they can grow closer to God. I’ve discipled several believers over the course of my life, and I can tell you I’ve never found a concrete answer as to the right way for someone to grow closer to Christ. Yes, you need to read your Bible. Yes, you need to pray. You can’t have a relationship with someone you don’t know.
The Bible alone is the greatest tool for spiritual growth. Unfortunately, few of us will ever have the luxury of doing nothing other than studying our Bible all day. I’m not even sure that would be healthy, but I’d be up for trying it! The reality is responsibilities and commitments jockey for position in our lives and impede our growth.
I’m always tweaking my own disciplines and habits in my attempts at knowing God better and following Him more closely. Some have more discretionary time than others, but the important thing is to use whatever time you have to do something that will increase your understanding of God and His Word. One thing that has had a major impact on my growth is to keep a steady stream of sermons from trusted pastors flowing into my ears. When you’re doing dishes, laundry, yardwork, washing your car, or any other task that doesn’t require focused concentration, try playing messages while you work. You’ll be amazed at how much teaching you retain over time.
We all make time for what is most important to us. Whether your vice is Netflix, YouTube, Audible, or playing sports, recognize we all have a finite amount of time to bolster our relationship with God. Here’s a challenge for you. Over the next two weeks, keep track of how much time you spend doing things that don’t add to your spiritual growth, and how much time you spend in a true pursuit of Christ. You won’t like what you see. If you want to skip that depressing exercise, then just begin making changes today.
While I can’t give you a specific formula or definite set of steps that will work best for you, I can tell you until you immerse yourself in His Word, you will not grow closer to God. Don’t just read your Bible, study it. Go slow, take notes, and track down answers to your questions. Instead of listening to the latest romance novel or business strategy book, assemble a playlist of Biblical teaching and listen to that instead. There is a multitude of free instruction online to deepen your knowledge in hermeneutics, apologetics, and almost any theological concept you’ll ever want to dive into. Try using your screen time for that instead of the latest blockbuster.
To grow closer to God will require some changes. You’re going to have to give up your current means of entertainment and replace them with things that will build your faith and knowledge of the Lord. You will have to be intentional. It’s not as simple as picking up a book to learn the “10 Secrets to Spiritual Growth.” There are no shortcuts to drawing closer to Jesus. You must saturate your mind with Him, obsess over His Word, and pursue Him with everything you’ve got. The best part is if you have the desire to know Him better, it means He’s already reaching out and pulling you toward Him. He is waiting to be found by you. Seek Him with all your heart.