7 Biblical Keys to Personal Growth

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We are designed to grow in every area of our lives. If we are not growing, it simply means that we are not living life to the best.

Growth is development or improvement toward a goal called spiritual maturity, excellence & integrity that leads you to your destiny. Here is a verse about Paul’s personal growth :

Philippians 3:12-14 – Even Paul, as mature as he was, did not consider himself to have achieved perfection such that he could cease striving to improve. He forgot past achievements (and failures) and pressed on to greater accomplishments.

Below are some of the key things I believe are necessary to grow continuously (Please note this is only a brief note on these – I did not want to write a long post that nobody reads 🙂 ) 

1. Sow seeds of faithfulness 

I remember asking God to bless 2 things at one point in life :

1. Growth & a promotion at work

2. Take me to a new level in leading worship.

Both were very sincere desires and I intended to bring God glory. The issue was, I was not being faithful with the little I was doing in both these areas. I was spending unnecessary amount of time on the Internet and phone at work, and I was not spending enough time in personal worship at home. Another example is I wanted to gain some weight but I was skipping breakfast almost every alternate day.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. (Luke 16:10)

Being faithful with the little is what attracts increase.

2. Dream big is planning big 

The idea of ‘dreaming big’ has left a lot of people disappointed and in conditions worse than they were before dreaming big. The reason is this :

Dreaming big is planning big. 

The bible talks about having a vision and the most common verse we hear is this : “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18)

Research has proved over and over again that those who write their goals accomplish significantly more than those who do not write their goals. (Read my post on Goal Setting. )

3. Stay confident

My mentor once told me, “In this world, the ones who achieve the most are people who are the most confident, irrespective of skill levels.”

I’m sure this is very evident in different realms of society. What are you holding back today that you would do if you were the most confident person on earth? Go do that today.

Wake up everyday and speak words of confidence over you. Declare you are strong, confident, secure, righteous, victorious and prosperous.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 )

So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:6 )

4. Receive correction 

Being confident does not mean you are always right. One of the biggest stumbling block I see in a lot of people who have great potential is the inability to receive correction.

Listen to advice and accept correction, and in the end you will be wise (Proverbs 19:20) 

The simple learn by trials and struggles, but the wise take instruction from others. Simply being able to accept correction can save you from many pitfalls.

5. Never stop learning 

The most successful people in the world are ones who never stopped learning. Your biggest asset and strength is not your money, influence or job. Your biggest asset is knowledge, wisdom & understanding.

(By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew. – Provers 3:19,20) 

The bible tells us to ask for wisdom and understanding above everything else.

Spend time to grow in knowledge, understanding. God gives us the wisdom and understanding to be a master of what He has called us to do.

6. Flee from sin 

God cannot bless you while you are living in sin because if He blessed you, you would bear more fruit of that sin.

You do not have to live afraid of sin. Fear of sin attracts more sin because what we fear dominates us. Fear of God draws us closer to Him and makes us conscious of a better lifestyle available in Him.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

If you are not free from sin, you need to go to God and ask for help or even approach people you trust who can help you out.

7. Letting go

I used to think letting go of the past means to let go of the hurt, disappointments, shame and regrets. Well, that is true but it is only one side. Sometimes, we need to let go of the good memories too.

I have lived in 4 different cities growing up and the first year in every place would be the toughest days ever. I could not let go of the good memories & lifestyles of the previous place.

Letting go of the past is really hard but the winds of change is what brings new breakthroughs and blessings. I had to remind myself that God has promised to bless me in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13) and to receive that I need to let go of the past and embrace the present.

Is there anything that is holding you back from embracing the new thing that God is doing in you?

Discuss : 

Which of the above do you think is the most important?

Share if there is something else that has caused you to grow personally.

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God & Me – Through the darkest nights.

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This post is different from everything I’ve written for this blog. This is a personal learning from challenging experiences and struggles in my life. 

I believe in community and God’s heart for people to love each other by rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn. I have seen the benefits of being part of a community and I believe God has placed people in our lives for a reason. I believe God works and speaks through people and I know that relationships are what makes life more meaningful. I have favourite sermons, songs etc that has helped me take courage and rise up again after a fall.

Having said that, here is something I’ve had to deal with in my life. In-spite of having many friends, there are times when I’ve felt alone, I’ve had issues I could not share with anyone, I’ve been broken and nobody ever knew about it and I have had to live through the darkest nights all alone. No sermons or songs could speak life into me and I’ve ran out of motivation.

A mentor of mine once told me, “End of the day, all you have in life is yourself and God”. There is a limit to what man can do for you. The people who you value the most may not be with you when you need them the most. The more you rely on people, you only find more limitations they have.

Psalms 146:3 says, “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.”

Have you expected help from people and never received anything?

Those are times when you need to find God for yourself. Somebody else’s story wont be enough, theology does not provide relief and religion doesn’t have an answer.  Encouragement fails to uplift you and everything that kept you going does not work anymore. Those are times when every cell inside you cries out for an encounter with your creator. Everything in you becomes aware of the only person who can answer your hearts cry and intimacy becomes necessity. 

The greatest cry in a person’s heart is not for love, success, breakthroughs or blessings. Whether you realise it or not, the greatest cry in us is for an encounter with our creator. Often, all we need in a storm is Jesus in the boat. The struggles in my life have always set me up for an encounter. Knowing God is with me in every mess becomes more important than the answer to a situation.

Encountering God in the midst of your struggles positions you to respond to it and not react. Seek God in crisis; seek Him in success. He is the only constant & an encounter with Him is what you need to face the darkest nights.

Discuss :

1. How do you prepare yourself to run to God when in trouble?

2. How has encountering God changed your situations?

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Aside

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Who You Are : 

We have seen religion, society, career, wealth, personality define who we are. I am not going to use any of that to define Who You Are.

Lets make it simple – Who You Are is a person filled with potential to impact and influence the world around you, either for good or for the worse. How you see Who You Are will define the impact your life will have. The first step to live life intentionally is to realise Who You Are and what You are capable of.

I have noticed that a child grows up believing that everything is possible until they are told by someone that they cannot do something. You are born with good intentions, talents, gifts and the potential to live a great destiny. As life progresses, we get influenced by different things that begin to alter the way we see Who We Are. Negativity, discouraging words, distractions, addictions and frustrations begin to tell you that the world is unfair, cruel etc; so to be in the world, you need to be in the battle for significance. When you partner with those thoughts and ideas, you begin to trade Who You Are.

It is important to know that You are born with a good heart, intentions, gifts, talents and a great destiny. Do not allow anything to change the way you see yourself. (Click to Tweet)

Who You want to be : 

If you don’t know who you want to be, you probably don’t know who you are. It is impossible to not have a dream once you know the capabilities of Who You Are.

When I was young, I wanted to be a software engineer. Those were days when computer technology was booming and so was the demand for software developers, engineers etc. As I grew older I wanted to be a rockstar. Those were days when I discovered bands like U2, Dream Theater, Coldplay and other giants who attract a stadium full of people to watch them. At later stages I had many different dreams but through it all I realised there were certain attributes to all those dreams.

Our dreams convey a need to be significant, influential and – perhaps leave a legacy. We want to do things that will have an impact on people, culture and society. It is important to know who you want to be.

We have to live life intentionally. To live life without a vision is a depressing way to live. There are many people who cannot find any satisfaction in life because they have no goals, no dreams and no plans for their future. Spend time to think Who You Want to be. Have written dreams, goals and a plan to chase them.

Who You Will Become : 

It can be easy to look at a successful entrepreneur and think to yourself, “I bet things come easy to them” or “They were just lucky.” But after spending time with successful men and women I’ve learned that nobody has it all easy.

What separates these people is their decision to not allow their situations to dictate their emotions. I believe, among many things there are 2 key things that plays the biggest role in “Who You Will Become”.

Friends – Time spent with dreamers will cause you to dream. Possibility thinkers cause you to realise all things are possible. Thats why its so important to choose relationships that will keep you going in the right direction. Choose to be with people who will speak life into your dreams and goals. Choose people who will invest into you by encouraging and motivating you. Choose people who will be happy seeing you succeed. Remember to be such a person in return to them as well.

Your mind – While we cannot control all our circumstances, what we can control is our response. And that’s what makes you move ahead : your decision to take responsibility in the midst of chaos, disappointment and struggles. Be guaranteed that you will face hurdles in your way to your destiny, but how you respond to them is what will eventually win the battle.

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” – Charles R. Swindoll (Tweet This)

Click here to read more posts on Life Planning by Joel Mundackal 

Discuss : 

How do you plan your life?

Has planning your life changed your lifestyle?

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8 Keys to Pursuing God!

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Pursuing God is a journey we begin when we surrender our life to God. It is not a journey of trying to find Him. It is a journey where He is with us at all times, but we start discovering His world and being more sensitive to His character, desires and plans. We pursue God because we love Him. His ultimate goal for us is an intimate relationship with Him.

1. Remove guilt.

Guilt tops my list of things that can keep you away from God. Guilt has the power to make you feel things that does not exist. It can make you feel separated from God, hated by God, unworthy of God and unloved by God.

You cannot be in a relationship with God if you are living in guilt. Through the death of Jesus Christ, God has provided a means of removing guilt, thus opening the way for believers to know the blessings of a right relationship with him. [Click to Tweet]

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:14 ) 

Wash away all guilt.

2. Person over matter.

There is a difference between pursuing God and pursuing what He has. Every blessing should lead you to the source. The gift is not as valuable as the giver. Once, somebody asked me to pray for their broken relationship. The relationship was restored and I have never seen them ever since. I realised they loved what God can do more than God Himself.

In your pursuit of God, value knowing God more than receiving what He has. [Click to Tweet]

3. God loves you more than you love Him. 

I was once having a really bad day and it felt as though God was not even listening to any of my prayers. He seemed quiet and distant. Being in this state of mind, I sensed a thought in me that suggested that I love God more than He loves me. I felt like, here I was living for God, exercising faith and doing many things in church & ministry, yet not able to get His attention in a way I wanted.

Thankfully, I was quick to get rid of that thought. I realised, that can never be true. God proved His love for us on the cross and there is no greater expression of love than that. [Click to Tweet] He desires to draw closer to you than we will ever desire Him. He loves you more than you will ever love Him.

4. You don’t need to fix everything first. 

We do not have to fix ourselves before reaching out to God. He is the deliverer, restorer & healer. [Click to Tweet]

Do not put your journey with God on hold until you sort it all out. That will never happen. The good news is that God is willing to be with you when you make the right choices AND when you make the wrong ones. All you need to do is seek Him and He is willing to save you. He can do a much better job of saving you than you can.

5. From acceptance, not For. 

You can never seek God for acceptance because you are already accepted the minute you give your life to God. How often do we see people do things to feel accepted, loved and for a sense of belonging? A fear of God that releases a fear of rejection is never from God. Fear of God always draws us closer to Him and makes us conscious of being accepted and loved by God. [Click to Tweet]

This is a big deal because knowing that you are already a son/daughter of God can take your relationship with God to a whole new level. Remember you are not pursuing God for acceptance. (I wish I could write more on this, a blog post later for sure!)

6. Time Spent Together. 

We will never achieve closeness in any relationship unless we invest time and effort. A neglected relationship simply won’t grow in richness or depth. You may read a chapter of your bible everyday, but that does not mean you are building your relationship with God. Are you too busy to spend time sitting in His presence everyday? If yes, your schedule is robbing you of an awesome eternal treasure—deep, satisfying communion with God.

Pursuing God requires your time, resources and energy. God is interested in having a conversation with you. He is not one of those prayer boxes in church where you drop your requests. Be still and listen, giving Him time to speak to your spirit. The more you listen, the more you’ll hear His voice, and soon your time with Him will become your greatest delight.

7. Vulnerability.

Another important factor is our willingness to be open and honest, exposing every area of our lives to the Lord. No one can be forced into an intimate friendship with God. In fact, the depth of this relationship is limited by the extent of our transparency with Him. Although the natural response is to shrink from such vulnerability, we need to remember that He already knows us inside out and loves us more than we can comprehend. God’s love for us is greater than our shame and regrets. [Click to Tweet]

8. Faith makes it possible. 

Pursuing God includes obeying His word and living a life that honours Him. Very often we face circumstances in life that challenges our commitment to Him and His standards. You will need faith to choose the right over wrong, truth over lies and integrity over success. Faith is what fuels your journey with God. [Click to Tweet]

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Discuss:

What are your challenges in pursuing God? 

How do you grow in your relationship with God?

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Do you fear the Pharisees?

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Do you know what is the first thing that can keep you away from doing the will of God? What can stop you from taking your first step into your destiny?

The fear of rejection can.

John 12:42 describes something that still happens with many people even today : “ Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in Him(Jesus), but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.“. They were afraid that they would not be accepted by the public. They were afraid of how people might react if they followed God.

How often does that happen even today? How often do we stop ourselves from doing something right due to the fear of rejection? How many of us are more concerned about what people will think than fulfilling our calling?

If you want to move ahead in your destiny, you have to face fear head on. I believe fear has caused more people to give up than failure ever has. Fear has to be replaced with faith, hope and purpose. Your awareness of your calling and destiny has to grow everyday and fear should be put to death as soon as it arises. Many people believe they are not good enough to do something, but the truth is, most often this is not because of lack of skill, but it is them surrendering to the fear of facing people.

I had my share of dealing with fear. Here are a few things I do to face fear, overcome it and move ahead in my calling :

  • Focus on your identity rather than on what people think about you.
  • Spend less time trying to figure out who’s saying what about you.
  • Instead of trying to be what the world demands you to be, focus on becoming who God wants you to be.
  • When you stand strong for what you believe in, the world will eventually respect you for that.
  • You can never please everybody but don’t worry, you don’t have to.
  • Ultimately, we are accountable to God, not to man.
  • We are not under any pressure from God to do everything right. God is not afraid of our mistakes. He can turn around anything for good.
  • When you decide to follow God, He will fill you with faith and courage. Where faith is, fear cannot exist.

For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)

Declare with David, “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?  (Psalm 56:3-4 – NIV)”

 How do you face fear?

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Temptation is a lie.

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The source of temptation is a lie.

I have had certain areas in my life trouble me for a long time. I would decide not to give into certain temptations and it would be just be a matter of time before I’m back doing exactly what I did not want to.

Once I was tempted to do something wrong and I gave into it. While I was lost in it, I realised it is not something I enjoy doing. It was a lie that made me believe that I would enjoy doing what I was tempted to do. I felt really stupid and immature while I was living in that sin. I did not enjoy it at all. It was nothing like what it seemed to be when I was tempted.

So often, temptation is a lie trying to convince you that you love doing what you’re tempted to do. (Click to TweetAnd once you have given into it and done with it, you walk out guilty, feeling miserable and often unworthy. 

The devil can enter your life only through a lie. His entry point in your life is a lie that he proposes to you in the form of temptation or something else. When you partner with it, you empower the liar.

3 ways to resist temptation : 

1. Know you’re better than that : 

  • You’re more valuable than what you’re about to sell yourself for.
  • You deserve more than the acceptance you long for in something or someone.
  • There is much more available than the pleasure any form of sin can provide.
  • You’re loved unconditionally even during your loneliest times.
  • You have a destiny awaiting ahead of you. It is too valuable for you to miss it and it is so important that the enemy does not want you there.

Remember you represent royalty. Remember you’re bought with an incomparable price. God thought you’re worth His son’s life.

2. Be quick to replace thoughts : 

You don’t always have to ponder on thoughts to know if it is right or wrong. Mostly, we know whats right and wrong. God has given us the wisdom to judge whats right and wrong. Don’t ponder over wrong thoughts. Be quick to replace them with another thought, or even better with the word of God.

3. Ask for Grace : 

Pray everyday that God would consecrate your heart, mind, hands and eyes that you may not sin. As theoretical as it sounds, the truth is we can do nothing on our own. We cannot resist temptation on our own. We need the Grace of God for that. Take it before God and ask Him to help you overcome it.

How do you resist temptation? Share in comments below. 

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Wisdom – Why, from where and how?

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Wisdom is not to enable us to live independent of God. Wisdom is what enables us to understand the plan of God and partner with Him in executing it. We are never good enough to do it all on our own and never too bad to not be able to partner with God. Wisdom is what connects our minds to His.

I shared that on our Facebook & Twitter pages a few days ago. It made me think and study more on wisdom and specifically the life of Solomon.

God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore. (1 Kings 4:29)

That verse has always been an inspiring verse for me. In-fact, ever since I read that verse, wisdom and understanding has been in my top list of prayer points.

Why is wisdom important? 

2 reasons why wisdom is important :

1. Wisdom is required to finish your divine assignment. 

After David died Solomon became King over Israel and while he was at a place called Gibeon the Lord appeared to him in a dream during the night. “God said; ‘Ask! What shall I give you?‘” (I Kings 3:5). It seems more like a dream right? The maker of everything we see, hear, know and more asking what you want.

Solomon’s answer qualifies as one of the greatest prayers in the Bible.” Here is what he prayed for: “Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (I Kings 3:9). Solomon was asking for wisdom to be a good king.

Solomon needed wisdom to be a successful king. Wisdom is what makes the difference in your pursuit of your destiny. Wisdom and understanding from God enables us to release an expression of creativity, leadership and excellence that gives God glory.

2. Wisdom as an answer to prayer. 

God answers a lot of prayers by giving us the wisdom to handle what we need Him to do for us. If you don’t see God do it all for you, use the wisdom and understanding that He gives you.

I read this excerpt today of a Billy Graham interview :

“But I’ve discovered that God sometimes answers our prayers in a fourth way: By showing us how to solve the problem. In other words, sometimes we become the answer to our own prayers! We always want God to solve our problems instantly, but sometimes God wants us to deal with them on our own, as he gives us wisdom.”

Where does Wisdom come from? 

“So God said to him(Solomon), “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.” (1 Kings 3:11-12)

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5) 

For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6) 

People claim that wisdom is gained by experience and great knowledge etc. The above verses make it very clear that wisdom comes from God and wisdom that God gives cannot be bought or earned from anything else.

Who gets wisdom? 

Solomon’s prayer was a great one because his heart was right when he prayed it. I believe wisdom is a result of where your heart is.

“To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 2:26)

God gives wisdom when we live to please Him. Our ultimate goal in life should be to hear that God is pleased with the way we lived and loved. Throughout the bible, there are many verses that speaks about what pleases God. Here are some of them :

  • God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right(See 1 Peter 2:19),
  • Faith pleases God. (See Hebrews 11:6)
  • Walk as children of light. (See Ephesians 5:8-10)

Ultimately, the ability to please God is birthed by His work in our lives. Our willingness to obey and submit to what God is doing in and through us is what creates a pure heart and a renewed mind.

What is your understanding of Wisdom from God? 

How was wisdom from God empowered you to make a decision? 

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