I must confess that when selecting continuing education courses to maintain my teaching certificate, I looked for easy classes. I avoided classes that required weekly or weekend attendance, research, submission of a special project or paper. Since most of my work was on the computer, I chose online courses for Excel, Word or Access. These classes provided easy credits and I could breeze through the modules at my leisure and pride myself in how well I had done. I wasn’t looking for advancement, I was looking for affirmation and an easy way to meet requirements.
When we look at CONTINUING SPIRITUAL EDUCATION, we need to ask ourselves, “Do I want to find easy, 4-minute affirming exercises, or am I willing to give up some evenings, some weekends, or some TV shows to learn more about God and God’s plan for my life? Do I want affirmation and the easiest path or advancement?
Along with daily time with God and the Word, consider the following ways we can develop spiritual life.
Bible Read something other than the Psalms or the Gospels. Skip the genealogy begats, and ceremonial laws, but read the millenniums-old stories in Genesis, Exodus, Judges, Ruth, Esther and Jonah, of flawed people who faced the same basic problems that we face. They were afraid, faced bereavement, had unruly kids, struggled with following God and overcoming temptations.
Classes Attend classes offered by your church to develop spiritual growth: Sunday morning classes, evening services, and weekly Bible studies.
Seminars, Conventions, Special Speakers, Retreats Take time to go with friends for a weekend conference. Spend time with other Christians and grow together.
Books. Some people say, “I don’t read.” Get books on audio or podcast and listen to them while exercising, working around home or driving. The books that have helped me most have not been easy reading. I, as many people I know, have five or six books in various stages of being read. It’s OK to take a year to wade through some books.
Music Music has enriched my spiritual journey. No matter what type of music you like, take time to listen to music that reminds you of God’s faithfulness, holiness, friendship, patient grace, sacrifice for us, and heaven. Wireless access provides unlimited resources of encouraging and God-glorifying music.
CONTINUING SPIRITUAL EDUCATION prepares us to meet today and tomorrow’s challenges. Out of the strong reserves we have been building we will find strength for the day. Out of these reserves may come a reminder of a Biblical traveler who conquered the impossible, or a comment by a speaker or an underlined passage in a book. Sometimes a tune emerges in our memory and as we dredge up the words of the song we find the encouragement we need for that day.
Martha Hawn VanCise©2016 www.signpostsonhightrails.com
Signposts on High Trails will be back in 2017, when we look at some of the scams and dangers in Continuing Spiritual Education.
Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year.