Last Sunday we studied a very important text of Scripture: Colossians 3:1-14. I’ve spent considerable time meditating on Paul’s Letter to the Colossians over the last few years–ever since I heard Dallas Willard call it a model “curriculum for Christlikeness” (see The Divine Conspiracy, 369). And I believe that chapter 3 of the letter is especially important, as it helps us to put on the character of Christ. This involves putting to death or taking off certain sinful actions and attitudes and putting on godly virtues. As I reflect on the sermon I preached based on this text, I’m not convinced that I adequately explained how to do this. Perhaps I should have also discussed vv. 15-17, as it provides a practical application. Basically, what Paul does here is give us some basic spiritual practices to help us become more like Jesus. We sometimes call these practices “holy habits” or spiritual disciplines. Now Paul’s list is by no means exhaustive, but it gives us some of the basic spiritual practices that help us to become more like Jesus: be thankful (v. 15); studying God’s Word (v. 16); singing “psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit” (v. 16 NIV); doing everything that we do in the name of Jesus (v. 17). Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list of spiritual disciplines, but doing these activities faithfully (and with the right attitude) will take you a considerable distance on your journey toward Christlikeness. So what am I doing to become more like Jesus? The fact is that spiritual growth doesn’t just occur. Yes, the Holy Spirit does whatever He can to make us more like Jesus. But we must partner with him in our spiritual formation. So what is my spiritual growth plan? And what about my family? The following is a draft of a “family spiritual growth plan” that I’ve begun to practice with my family as we seek to become more like Jesus. I pass it on in as a potential resource for you.
Sunday: morning worship service; afternoon: rest & play; evening: sing hymnsMonday evening: Bible study (led by parent) & communal prayer, focusing on thanking the Lord for Sunday and praying for God’s blessing this week; also prayers for teachers
Tuesday evening: Bible study (led by parent); communal prayer: thanksgiving & personal prayer requests; prayers for immediate family
Wednesday evening: Bible study (led by children [one per week—oldest to youngest]); prayers for extended family and friends and sponsor family
Thursday evening: Bible memorization (school program); respond to God’s Word in communal prayer
Friday evening: practice the discipline of celebration (evening)
Saturday: service at home and in the community; prayers for the worship service
So what is your spiritual growth plan?