Spiritual Growth is a very broad term and includes several things. We’d like to focus on just a few specific practices as being important steps in personal Spiritual Growth. There are certainly others, but these can be a starting point.
Private Prayer Time
There are countless verses in the Bible related to the importance of prayer and there are examples of both public and private prayers. In this case, we are referring to having a daily time to spend in focused, private prayer. While the length of time can vary and may not be that much to begin with, it is important to begin the practice of individually communicating with God each day. In Matthew 6: 6 Jesus instructs us this way: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Personal Bible Reading/Reflection/Memorization
Just as it is important to set aside time each day for prayer, the same can be said for reading the Bible while asking God to teach you from His Word. Christians can sometimes fall into a couple of habits as it relates to daily Bible reading: neglect or legalism. Neglect is when we fail to take the time to read the Bible at all. Legalism would occur when we read a passage of Scripture “just to say we did it” without allowing God to apply it to our individual lives. Our hope would be that all of us at Ridgecrest take the time each day to interact with God and His Word, the Bible.
There are many good reading plans to give organization to personal Bible study but the key is to just get started. Some books of the Bible that might be good starting points would be Psalms, Proverbs, or the Gospel of John. One idea would be to pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you through your Bible reading, then to read a chapter, and then to ask some simple questions like: What does this say about God? What does it say about people? Are there any sins to avoid, promises to claim, or examples to follow? Based on this passage, what is God showing me about my own life?
In addition to reading and reflecting on Scripture, memorization is another important part of Spiritual Growth. Psalms 119: 11 shows us one outcome of Scripture memory, avoidance of sin:
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Having parts of the Bible memorized can also bring things like wisdom, comfort, peace and encouragement. If you are not currently memorizing Scripture, what if you started with one verse a week? By a year from now, you could have 52 verses of Scripture ready for any situation you might face.
At Ridgecrest, we believe that giving your material resources to the work of the church, to other Kingdom causes, and to those in need is a sign of spiritual growth and maturity. As human beings, when we can trust God with something as important to us as our finances, we can trust Him with anything. Not only is giving necessary from a practical standpoint to fund various ministries, the principle of generous giving is found throughout the Bible.
We teach the concept of the tithe (10%) of a believer’s income being given to the local church as a starting point of giving. This is based on several passages of Scripture including Malachi 3. Jesus put money in an eternal perspective in Matthew 6: 19 – 21 when He said,
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Giving may be your next step in trusting God with “all your heart” (Proverbs 3: 5)
If you have questions about giving or about how gifts to Ridgecrest are used, feel free to contact our Finance Office at 601-853-1090 or