Recently I planned some much needed time away from the office in order to give a writing project some undivided attention. Environment is everything when I write, so I camped out a local coffee shop in search of a more creative environment free from the distractions that so often plague me in the office. Choosing this particular coffee shop, however, was a bad move. Apparently the local high school had the afternoon off as well.
It’s hard to be productive in a bad environment. Sure, it’s possible; but it is difficult. And the same thing is true of our spiritual maturity. Spiritual maturity requires the right environment; so it goes without saying that if spiritual growth is something you desire then it pays to consider the environment in which you are attempting to grow.
When it comes to my own spiritual growth there are 3 environments that are critical to my walk with God…
1. MY MORNINGS.
When I’m struggling in my spiritual growth the first thing I have to consider is what personal space I’m creating for God. I’ve found that if I haven’t created margin for meeting with God regularly it can and will affect everything else. The margin I create each morning to be still before God, reading and reflecting on His Word, is the single greatest contributor to my spiritual growth. My walk rises and falls on the quality and regularity of that time. Additionally, I’m constantly evaluating what’s going into my mind and heart as I ramp up my day. Sometimes I drive to work without the radio on in order to spend focused time talking with God about the significant things I’m facing that week. Creating margin each morning to tend to my soul is key to my spiritual health.
2. MY COMMUNITY.
I have to be sure that the loudest voices in my life are the ones calling me to greater maturity. Who I spend my time with can either motivate me to grow or discourage me from it; as a result I am committed to surrounding myself with people that push me to grow. Both my wife and I are committed to key friendships in our lives that not only keep us grounded but also model for us what a healthy marriage looks like. We are also deeply committed to a small group, never scheduling something on a group night because the relationships there are critical to our growth. The same goes for church. Sundays are sacred. We make sure to schedule life around our spiritual community, not in place of it. You can’t grow close to Christ while becoming distant from His bride.
3. MY MENTORS.
Sometimes growth requires a deep dive. Unpacking something in your life or leadership may require the experience and maturity of someone further down the road. There have been key times in my life where my walk with God was significantly aided by of maturity of a mentor; as such, I meet regularly with a man far more mature than I who has my full permission to speak into any area of my life.
Scripture is clear that the responsibility for spiritual maturity is ours. And just as important as thinking about what we do is thinking about the environment in which we do it. Spiritual growth needs the right environment. Making sure that the soil is right in your personal life, that the people around you are fueling your desire for God, and that you have experienced voices providing you with direction are all critical components for moving us towards maturity.
So which of these areas needs some attention in your life? More significantly, how are you going to address it?