Your Favorite Means To Grow Spiritually?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Ryan&Amber2013, Jan 5, 2019.

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  1. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    So, in your opinion, what has been one of the best means you have discovered to grow spiritually? I don't just mean the standard means of Grace. I'm looking for something specific, like taking a means of Grace and applying it in a unique way. I am really serious about attaining heaven, and I want to always further grow, therefore I'm interested in seeing what advances you most.

    I personally really enjoy being in the quiet of nature, being able to really think and meditate on the most important things in life.

    Also, lately I have been turning on the audio Bible next to my bed at night, and listening to it on my knees at the bedside while praying.

    One more. I find that keeping a diary has really helped my soul come alive.

    Sorry, one more. I've really enjoyed reading books about practical living, and the topic of Heaven.

    Please share some of your uniqueness that hopefully I can incorporate.
  2. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I'm an auditory learner. I listen to good preaching while I walk, run, cycle, drive, etc.
  3. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    What sources do you use, Jack? Sermon audio?
  4. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    God's appointed ones, made efficacious in His due time, at His good pleasure (not in order of perceived efficaciousness). Suppose I'm just a "standard" guy, because I'm unable to perceive which is "best":

    1. The Word preached -especially in the last 10 years- seems to be the most effective on me, historically speaking, anecdotally and by my own perception (which isn't always correct).
    2. Praise (Psalm singing, thus committing Scripture to memory).
    3. Meditation (Occasional and Intentional) upon the truths taught by Scripture.
    4. Affliction from the hand of a loving Father Who treats us as sons and daughters, not bastards, knowing just what we need, and how much of it we need.
    5. Fellowship with the Lord's people.
    6. Prayer, wherein the Lord works to change us, our wills, fill is up, and make us more dependant on Him.
    7. Bible Reading (the only way infallibly to know God, with the blessing of His Spirit, of course).
    8. Good books (usually early English Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians).
  5. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Sometimes, if that's where a particular church puts their sermons. But I probably get most of it from church or conference websites.

    I seldom name particular preachers on this board. I've found that naming a preacher here, even a very good one, is too often an invitation for someone else to come along and speak evil of the fellow.
  6. Edm

    Edm Puritan Board Freshman

    The times that I grow the most are the times I find myself at my darkest points. For instance, when my wife miscarried, I grew in faith, and other times just as bad or worse. I also realize the depths of my faith at these points. It’s weird, I enjoy the growth but I don’t enjoy the journey to it. I’m not recommending you have a crisis. There is probably a much better way.
  7. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    Take heart, Brother (Heb. 12):

    Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.​
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Engaging with lost people in a witnessing situation.
  9. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Praying through a Psalm can be helpful, especially when my mind goes blank. Every once in a while, I'll use the previous week's church bulletin to guide my private worship. Consistency (daily time set apart) is most beneficial and I'm just now regaining my footing in that regard after a particularly difficult and unpredictable time in my life.
  10. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Years ago I read MLJ's 'Studies in the Sermon on the Mount. Very informative and edifying, and that led me to acquiring, and reading his 8 volume series on Ephesians. I read one chapter per day until I went through the whole set.
    This was like charging a battery for my spirit. Trying various Bible reading plans, and attending church regularly also helped.

    Wrestling with prayer. Reading books on how to pray years ago, and finally just praying morning and night, and eventually whenever the Spirit led me to pray.

    As noted by other posters above, when going through trials and tribulation. Leaning on God for sustenance.

    Five years ago I began the M'Cheyne 1 year Bible reading plan and after the first year augmented that with D.A. Carson's 2 volume 'For the Love of God.' The first volume comments on each days reading, the second volume on the nightly reading.

    The first thing I do when I get up in the morning, after tending to my hygene, and feeding the cat, is the M'Cheyne reading. Close to the last thing I do before sleep. When I first started the plan I read both morning and evening readings first thing.

    I soon switched to M'Cheyne's recommendation of a morning and evening reading. This feeds the soul on both ends of the spectrum, with Spiritual truths. It is so easy to let the cares of the world overwhelm our focus on the Almighty.

    In between I read books to better help me understand the Bible. I don't watch television, motion pictures, or engage in secular entertainment. My reading of secular literature, aside from keeping pace with the news, is very limited.

    I feel I devoted enough time to those pursuits for the majority of my 70 years, and not knowing how much time I have left in this world of time, I prefer to devote myself to the eternal rather than the temporal.

    Of course, I'm retired, and solo, so I don't have a family to consider, nor a job to distract me from my course of action. Just overcoming the old man, and putting on the new. Sometimes that is a job in itself.
  11. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Junior

    Coming as I do out of a brand of evangical Christianity which has neither psalm-singing or Sabbath-keeping, I have found that those two things that have had the biggest impact on my prayer and life.

    Also, since becoming a Calvinist, and then Reformed, I have been reading good Christian books, which I never did in the past. There are a few books especiallly that have helped me a lot.

    Daily morning closet worship and twice daily (as often as possible) family worship, with the Shorter Catechism on the Lord's Day has been strengthening as well.

    These days I also listen to sermons downloaded from Sermon Audio, since, to be frank, I can find the kind of preaching there that I've never heard at any church I've ever attended.
  12. Cedarbay

    Cedarbay Puritan Board Freshman

    Praying for the needs of others. I bought a beautiful journal type book at a thrift store where I list names and dates of prayer requests. I do this now because I have been so touched by many who say they pray for me daily, and I wanted to add that discipline to my life.
  13. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Sophomore

    For me it is small things done with consistency. Reading and thinking about a Bible passage, and offering up simple prayers—especially when I most feel my need of God’s help—on a daily basis helps keep the LORD at the forefront of my mind. I would add more recently having benefited from daily devotionals or sermons from John Piper that have the ability to continually remind me of seeking God Himself, and nothing else.

    The things that help me most are those that help me fight against my constant trend toward practical atheism (living as if God does not exist in the moment-to-moment of life).

    Thanks for causing me to reflect on these things.
  14. TheInquirer

    TheInquirer Puritan Board Freshman

    Confession and repentance that moves my heart to take God's word seriously and obey it regardless of what my flesh thinks about the idea. I don't do this enough but the times I have, I feel like I had made great strides forward.
  15. Andrew35

    Andrew35 Puritan Board Freshman

    After Bible reading and prayer, I would say podcasts and theology books.

    I know this sounds "brain-on-a-stick," and seems to fit the Reformed caricature. Nonetheless, I really have found podcasts such as The Jerusalem Chamber and White Horse Inn enormously helpful for filling in and coloring doctrinal and Biblical truths in my mind. Truths that I previously either simply glossed over and took for granted or even misunderstood, giving me fresh impulse and reason to praise God.
  16. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator

    A wonderful way to learn doctrine with piety is Thomas Watson's "Body of Divinity". As Joel Beeke said "It shows the author's deep understanding of spiritual truths and his ability to make them clear to anyone. Unlike most other systematic theologies, it weds knowledge and piety together, and can be used effectively in daily devotions."
  17. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Just a reminder: you've already attained heaven by putting your faith in Christ alone for salvation. These other things you're doing and want to do spiritually won't help you get heaven "locked in." That's done. These other things will help you to grow spiritually.

    I know you probably know this. As I said - just a reminder.
  18. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    This post was written from Russia.
  19. dane_g87

    dane_g87 Puritan Board Freshman

    bookslover, while what you say is true in one sense, nevertheless our Lord bids us to "strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able" (Luke 13:24). It is not as though our striving earns us Heaven, but that our faith, by which alone we are justified, drives us forward to strive for the prize that we believe Christ has freely offered to us by His grace.

    On this passage, John Calvin comments:
    Matthew Henry noted,

    Amen! This has been my experience as well. My wife and I have experienced tremendous blessing since coming to observe the Lord's Day (Isaiah 58:13-14) after having been convinced recently from reading the works of A.W. Pink and Walter Chantry on the subject.

    This is an excellent thread and it's encouraging to see believers concerning themselves with taking strides and gaining ground in their walk with the Lord.
  20. gjensen

    gjensen Puritan Board Freshman

    I love to go to a State Park that is close to me. I enjoy sitting at a picnic table to read my Bible. I am encouraged by the simplicity of this effort. It is being with my Lord that stirs me and revives me. While doing this, I can look out across His creation and admire Him.

    Serving people is vitally important to my walk. I have to admit that there are times that I get discouraged with "church". When I visit a particular nursing home, I always leave in a better place. This is a place where my Lord stirs and revives me. I may not be in the mood to go, but I am always glad that I did. There are more examples, but for me, this is an example of where the rubber meets the road.

    Our evening family devotions/bible study are very important to the life of my entire family. Before we open with prayer, we discuss our family prayer list. This reminds us of the need that exists, and connects us to all of them in a personal way. It reminds us to check on them, ask about them, or to serve them in some way. My entire family is reminded that this is something that we do in service to our Lord.
  21. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Post-salvation good works are the evidence that we are genuinely saved. So, the "striving" there means the production of God-given good works which provides that evidence, which provides assurance of salvation. (Assurance, of course, is stronger in some Christians than in others, by God's design.)

    We must always be sure that we don't sneak works into justification by the back door (I'm not accusing you of doing this). Which is another way of saying: be careful not to collapse sanctification into justification, which is what Roman Catholicism does.
  22. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    The motivating verse comes from Matthew. The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force. Justification definitely is not the context, but the verse does imply what it says.
  23. dane_g87

    dane_g87 Puritan Board Freshman

    To be clear, I wasn't at all referring to justification; I even clarified that justification is by faith alone. Rather, I was addressing the dismissal of the necessity to "strive to enter." The Lord's answer in Luke 13:24 was in response to the question, "Lord, are there just few who are being saved?" And so the matter here is not just one of sanctification, but particularly of the assurance of salvation. The Lord implies that it is in striving that assurance is had, and no assurance should be expected where no striving exists.
  24. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Not my favorites....but I've learned and grown much through suffering pain and illness as well as conflict due to sin and reflecting upon mistakes.

    Growth is not pleasant usually.
  25. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Wonderful idea.
  26. Grumman Tomcat

    Grumman Tomcat Puritan Board Freshman

    1. Time alone with God in prayer. I do this out in my backyard. I live in a rural area any my yard is a grove of trees, so I am alone with God without distraction.

    2. Daily Bible study. The bible study is how I start my day.
  27. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    My go-to means of growing spiritually seems to be suffering...but it is not my favorite.
  28. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    learn and read as much in the languages as you can, and then cross-reference the stuff. Also, go full-orb on the supernatural stuff in the bible.
  29. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    In my experience there is no more effective way to grow spiritually.
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