by Rick Warren — June 6, 2021
“Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Ephesians 4:24 (NIV)
You form your habits through your time in God’s Word, your time with people, and the way you face your circumstances. All three are indispensable for character development. God’s Word provides the truth you need to grow. God’s people provide the support you need. And circumstances provide the environment to practice Christlikeness.
If you study and apply God’s Word, connect regularly with other believers, and learn to trust God in difficult circumstances, I guarantee you will become more like Jesus.
Many people assume they just need solitary Bible study and prayer for spiritual growth. But some issues in life will never be changed by solo Bible study or individual prayer. God uses people. God often chooses to do his work through people so that we will learn to depend on each other. He wants his children to grow together.
In many religions, the people considered to be the most spiritually mature and holy are those who isolate themselves—they live in mountaintop monasteries, uninfected by contact with other people.
But this is a gross misunderstanding. Spiritual maturity is not a solitary, individual pursuit!
You cannot grow to Christlikeness in isolation. You must be around other people and interact with them. You need to be part of a church and community.
Why? Because true spiritual maturity is all about learning to love like Jesus. You can’t practice being like Jesus without being in relationship with other people.
Remember, the Christian life is all about love—loving God and loving others.