Jump directly to the Content

A Bigger Toolbox

Spiritual growth demands using a variety of practices.

Can you help with a riddle? How is it possible for someone to go to church year after year, listen to great sermons, read the Bible, absorb Christian classics, find ways to serve, and even attend ministry conferences—and change very little?

Strange question, I know, but not hypothetical. In fact I ask it with someone specific in mind, someone whose minimal spiritual progress I've watched with mounting frustration.

That person is me.

Don't get me wrong. The activities above have spurred growth in my life, especially early on. It was reading through the Gospels as a teen that fueled my nascent spiritual journey. Great Christian literature has deepened my faith. And preaching has profoundly shaped the way I see God.

But in recent years I've detected a troubling phenomenon, a sort of law of diminishing returns. The Christian life isn't a self-improvement program; it's all about God, not us. I get that. Still, as we examine ourselves, shouldn't we see ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Pastors, We Are Not Kings
Pastors, We Are Not Kings
That role is already taken
From the Magazine
Why Defining Gossip Matters in the Church’s Response to Abuse
Why Defining Gossip Matters in the Church’s Response to Abuse
Have we tamed the tongue too much? Christians work to recover a biblical understanding of harmful hearsay vs. healthy criticism.
Editor's Pick
Visitation Is Still Our Vocation
Visitation Is Still Our Vocation
We may face new challenges, but the heart of our calling remains the same.