Expecting more from your spiritual life

Your teachers don’t care if you cheat on a test.
Your boss doesn’t care if you give away free food.
Your coach doesn’t care if you win or lose and just wants everyone to have high self-esteem.
Your parents don’t care if you break curfew as long as you had a good time.

expect moreDoes that sound about right?

Absolutely not. Those scenarios are ridiculous. That’s because in the real world, you have real expectations. Your teachers expect you to do your own work. Your boss expects you to have integrity. Your coach expects you to leave it all on the field or court. Your parents expect you to honor their rules.

No matter how high these expectations may seem, you most likely do a great job living up to them. In fact, the higher the expectation, the harder you probably work to make it happen. Setting high standards is a great way to motivate yourself to excel.

But, sadly, when it comes to our spiritual lives, we don’t often set very high standards for ourselves. We push ourselves academically, socially, and at work, but when it comes to walking with God, we slack off and accept mediocrity. We justify not reading our Bibles, not sharing our faith, skipping student ministry activities, and not praying— all in the name of “being busy.” The truth is, our standards are too low. We were created for more.

You were created for more.

The beauty of walking with God is that He is the source of energy for all the other activities in our lives. Not only that, but all other commitments in our lives have the potential to become false gods. A false god is anything that gets most of your heart, passion, time, thoughts, and joy. To keep this from happening, Jesus has to be the priority in your life.

Setting the Bar

So, what do you do when you have high standards for yourself in every area of your life except your spiritual growth? Here are five quick ideas:

  1. Lose the guilt. Walking with God isn’t about feeling guilty because you miss church every now and then. Following Christ is about finding a joy and forgiveness so captivating that you can’t help but give Him your everything. It’s about returning again and again to His presence because you find yourself there. It’s about hiding His Word in your heart because it’s a sword to fight off the enemy. Walking with God is an adventure and delight. It is not a burden or another to-do list. Change your perspective.
  2. Set some goals. Write down two or three realistic spiritual goals. Beginner goals might include: memorizing one verse a month, listening to worship music on the way to school, or praying with a friend every day.Radical goals could be memorizing a book of Scripture, organizing a student-led fast for the lost at your school, praying for an hour in the morning, sharing Christ with a teacher, making friends with the outcasts, or going on a mission trip.
  3. Find a coach and a team. You weren’t meant to live the Christian life alone. You need a spiritual leader who pushes you to reach spiritual victories. You also need a team of Christian friends. If you’ve become disconnected from student ministry, it’s almost a guarantee you’ve also fallen away from your relationship with God. Get reconnected and start seeking Christ consistently with other committed believers.
  4. Celebrate your victories. Did you reach one of your goals? Celebrate! Tell your coach and your encouragers. (See tip 2.) Praise God and be proud of the work He’s doing in you. When you win a big game, the team celebrates. It should be the same in your spiritual life.
  5. Sacrifice to excel. You can be too over-committed to being spiritually healthy. Boldly, cut some things out of your life. It might be a sports team, a job, or a demanding friendship. Anything that keeps you away from God is an enemy. Build a fortress around your walk with God. Push back anything that tries to take away from that relationship.

Without Christ at the center of your life, any positive aspiration has the power to become a slave-master, whether it’s sports, academics, or a desire to be good at something. It will exhaust you, weaken you, and never satisfy.

You don’t accidentally make straight A’s, and you can’t live a godly life accidentally. You were made to run after God. You were wired to do great things for the name of Christ.

So, what mark do you want to leave on your high school, your community, or your family? Expect great things from yourself spiritually. Then, get ready because God will do even more than you ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within you (Eph. 3:20).

This article was written for the March 2013 issue of ec by Jennifer McCaman. Get your subscription here: .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: