Beginning April 15, 2018, SRC will begin a new six-week message series that will focus on eliminating the things in our lives that distract or discourage us from growing in emotional and spiritual health. A six-week Devotional / Scripture Reading Guide has been written to supplement the series. Below is the introduction to the Devotional / Scripture Reading Guide, and each daily reading will be included as a separate post.
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Cultivating a Life Without Fear, Hurt, Worry, judgment, Envy, & Shame:
On a basic level, most people want to GROW. Most people want to grow smarter, learning more about the world in which we live. Most people want to grow emotionally, learning how to more effectively communicate with others and experience lasting contentment. Most people want to grow spiritually, learning about their purpose in life and actively fulfilling that purpose.
Unfortunately, the first thought that comes to mind about how to grow is, “Just tell me what I need to do to experience growth, and I’ll do it.” But this isn’t working. As an example, most people know what to do to experience growth, but they’re still not experiencing real growth or lasting contentment.
The solution is difficult, but necessary. To experience growth, one must first identify what is preventing real growth from occurring. Fear. Hurt. Worry. Judgment. Envy. Shame. These are a handful of the things that prevent real growth, and are often the most difficult to weed out of our lives.
This Devotional & Scripture Reading Guide will be a supplement to the Cultivating Growth message series. May it help you identify the things that may be preventing you from experiencing emotional and spiritual growth. And may you begin to take the necessary steps to weed them out, and experience lasting growth.
A Note from Pastor Justin:
As I was preparing this Reading Guide, I took the opportunity to think about the way Jesus communicated with others. I quickly realized that whoever He communicated with — whether it was His disciples, drunkards, prostitutes, or religious leaders — He did so with the desire for them to experience heart change.
Another way to think about heart change is to think about growing in emotional & spiritual health. So I skimmed through the Gospels, looking for examples of Jesus clearly communicating what heart change — or growing in emotional and spiritual health — really looks like. One moment in Jesus’ ministry really stuck out to me.
Basically, a young man comes to Jesus and asks Him, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” After some quick conversation, Jesus tells the man, “If you want to be perfect, sell all of your possessions and give the money to the poor. Then, come and follow Me.” The young man walked away sad, because he was wealthy.
Most biblical scholars are quick to note that Jesus’ response was intended for this man alone. Jesus knew that the one thing that was most preventing him from placing his faith in Jesus Christ and fully trusting God was his wealth.
But here’s the thing — most of us have something in common with this man. Some may struggle to put their faith in Jesus Christ because they’ve put their trust in something else. And many who have placed their faith in Christ still have at least one thing that discourages or distracts us from fully trusting God.
Maybe it’s wealth…
Maybe it’s fear…fear that we don’t really belong, or we’ll never be good enough.
Maybe it’s shame…believing that we’re nothing and our lives are insignificant.
Maybe it’s envy…believing that if we just had what some other people have, then we’d be happy.
Maybe it’s anger…being frustrated over what other people may say or think about us.
Maybe it’s judgment…and we have too many judgmental thoughts towards others.
Maybe it’s control…and giving up control to God is a serious challenge.
Maybe it’s pride…thinking we’re better than others…
Maybe it’s doubt…refusing to trust God because we question if He really is good.
Truth is, it’s quite likely that many of us have more than one thing that may be preventing us from fully trusting God, and being all-in.
As we go through this series, and as you go through this Devotional / Reading Guide, it’s my prayer that you will not only identify some of the things that may be preventing you from being all-in, but that you will allow God to root them out, and by doing so experience emotional and spiritual growth.