Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth

Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth

How can we create conditions for spiritual growth in our lives? What does it look like practically in the midst of busyness and changing routines?

Michele Morin’s writing is always so descriptive, yet concise. She says so much in one short sentence. Any time I see she’s written something new, I make a point of reading it because I know I’ll enjoy it and be challenged and/or inspired.

Women Wielding The Word

Sharing stories of how God has impacted our lives encourages us and builds our faith. It’s one of my favorite things to do!

This series is meant to be an encouragement to you. I’ve asked other bloggers to share what their time with God looks like and how the Bible has impacted their lives. No two stories are the same. Every woman’s devotional life looks different.

Read about other “Women Wielding the Word” in this series here.

Here, Michele shares with us her perspective on the spiritual disciplines and what it looks like in her own life. Be encouraged as you read how she cultivates the conditions for her own spiritual growth.

Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth

Bread dough the color of molasses yielded to the pressure of my working fist. Fold, press, turn, repeat, and soon I lost count of how many times I had kneaded the fragrant lump. With the recipe calling for three hundred repetitions, I began to wonder—Three hundred? Really? But switching to the heel of my hand, I persevered. Eventually, I sensed a change in the texture and smooth elasticity as the gluten developed the necessary strands that would capture the gas bubbles created by the yeast, allowing the dough to stretch and expand as it rose.

Bread-makers want to create the conditions for the dough to rise, but we are completely helpless to make it happen on our own, so we trust the recipe. We follow the directions given. Reading the Bible and kneading bread as purely physical acts could easily become sheer discipline, items on a never-ending checklist. However, viewed with an awareness of the invisible, life-giving force at work behind the scenes, I find that I am participating in something that is bigger than what I can see.  

Therefore, I will follow the teaching of God’s Word, because I am in relationship with its Author—not because I fear losing that relationship. I will persevere in the disciplines of the Christian life, because I am held in a hope that is based on strong promises—not because I am hoping that the disciplines themselves will hold me in the faith.

Needless to say, in the making of bread and in the practice of godliness, I will always be a beginner, mechanically counting the strokes as I knead (and then losing count); reading words of life at the dining room table, fitfully on some days and fervently on others.

Jesus, the Bread of Life, comes to us as we take the Living Word into our being in a way that changes us. God directed both Jeremiah and Ezekiel to eat Scripture, the Old Testament equivalent of the Bible. In the book of Revelation, John swallowed a scroll. Absorbing the truth into their cells and sinews, they imaged the necessity of assimilating God’s Words, taking them into the soul.

My imperfectly executed commitment to follow God is based on true words that seek to describe but in no way explain his glory.  Faithfully meeting with God, holding to the written Word, and holding myself before it has looked different in every season of my life. There is no secret formula and no “perfect” method. The point is to make it happen.

Propping a Bible on a couch pillow while I held a sleeping baby and cobbling together study time during naps eventually gave way to keeping a bag packed with Bible, pen, and notebook during the mini-van years. I reviewed Scripture memory projects in the middle school parking lot, and I still sometimes carry 3×5 cards in my pocket when I walk the dog. In a perfect world, a serious student blocks out distractions and finds a regular time to meet with God daily. In a mother’s world, the serious student is responsible for keeping those “distractions” alive, so she perseveres in being flexible in every season.

"In a perfect world, a serious student blocks out distractions and finds a regular time to meet with God daily. In a mother’s world, the serious student is responsible for keeping those “distractions” alive, so she perseveres in being… Click To Tweet

My regular reading tends to focus on short passages read repetitively. For example, it will take me the better part of a year to make it through Proverbs, one chapter per week, but for the past five years, my husband and I have read through the Bible together out loud, giving me an aerial view of the biblical landscape. Study and meditation go together whenever I am preparing to teach as I read and seek to understand the words as they were received by the original audience, to consider how they relate to Jesus’ person and work, and only then to make personal application.

Immersion in Scripture is the foundation by which I resist temptation, cynicism, and passiveness.  I declare that God owns my heart and create space for the Spirit of God to work in ways that are unseen and yet vital to the regular rhythm of relationship. I long to know God, to walk in his ways and hear his voice, and he has made it clear that when I read and obey the Words of Scripture, I am obeying Him and making room for the Spirit to work in me. Therefore, I trust “the recipe.” I follow the directions given.

Meet Michele

Michele Morin is a teacher, reader, writer, and gardener who does life with her family on a country hill in Maine. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, and three adorable grandchildren. Michele is active in educational ministries with her local church and delights in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. Connect by following her blog at Living Our Days, or via FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


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Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth
Women Wielding the Word: Michele Morin

24 thoughts on “Creating the Conditions for Spiritual Growth”

    • “There is, therefore [because of Christ’s atoning work!], now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
      And the truth is, it’s His love that draws us into fellowship with Him, so the condemnation we heap on ourselves and others is probably one of the factors in why believers “fail” to come to the Word–afraid to start a reading schedule because they’ve dropped out so many times in the past, comparing their own habits with others they perceive to be more godly, etc.

      Grateful for your thoughts here, Julia.
      Blessings to you!

      Reply
  1. This is beautiful, Michele. I love how the “distractions” turned into purposeful discipline and desire! Congratulations on being asked to write for Wield the Word! I’m so happy for you

    Reply
  2. I love this analogy. I’ve often thought that, just like our meals are sometimes Thanksgiving feasts and sometimes forgotten peanut butter sandwiches, so our devotional life is sometimes marvelous and other times routine. But each partaking nourishes.

    Reply
    • Yes, and how can we so easily forget that our life depends on nourishment?
      It’s in the showing up and the trust that God will meet us that we grow, even thought the growth process seems slow to us while it is happening.

      Reply
  3. Michele, this is so true >>> “Faithfully meeting with God, holding to the written Word, and holding myself before it has looked different in every season of my life.” There really is no formula or tried and true recipe. It solely requires us to steadily meet with Him, however it works in this present season of life. Whether having just a few moments or an entire block of time, for me it means praying, “Lord, please thrill me in Your Word as I read.” And somehow, He does just that – to the wonder of my hungry soul.

    Reply
    • You are so right, Joanne. It just has to happen as it happens. We hold ourselves before the Word, and we are changed by it. Letting go of perfectionism and comparison is crucial to receiving the blessing!

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  4. I love this, Michele! Your love of God’s Word always comes across so clearly in your writing so I loved reading these insights into how you engage with it.

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    • Lesley, this is one of my favorite topics to write about, and that may be because for so long it was one of my favorite things to READ about. I have dug into the spiritual practices of so many people I admire, and one day it dawned on me that I needed to just open my Bible faithfully before I worried about the HOW.
      The first question is always why.
      Thank you for your kind words. I so appreciate you.

      Reply
  5. Michele, I was thinking just the other day how I’d love to have a book in my hand that you’ve written. your gift for writing continues to grow and prosper and thrive with so much wisdom and common sense. you have an extraordinary way with words.

    any plans to publish, friend?

    Reply
  6. AMEN, Michele. The seasons of life do impact how we incorporate quiet time into our days. Years ago a sleep-deprived, overwhelmed mother of a preschooler and newborn baby confessed to me her frustration and guilt for not being able to keep a consistent quiet time. I knew she craved time in God’s Word as had been her habit before, that she wasn’t looking for an excuse to dismiss it. My godly, earthly father came to mind. What would be his reaction if I expressed frustration and guilt for not seeing him more often, because life circumstances were overwhelming? Dad would have told me not to give it a second thought. We’d be able to reconnect soon and then we’d catch up. So I quoted Romans 8:1 to L., used the illustration of how a loving earthly father would respond to her, and assured L. God understood. Lost time could be redeemed later. L. did indeed make up for those few exhausting, stressful months, becoming an outstanding Bible teacher–out of the wealth of knowledge, spiritual wisdom and understanding she’s gleaned over the years.

    Reply
    • It’s heartwarming to read this story, Nancy. Honestly, I wish we could paint a huge billboard to sit outside the kitchen windows of young women who feel as L. did. (I’m dating myself, right? The thing to do now would be to put it on line… which I guess you and I are trying to do!)
      Blessings to you, Nancy! So glad you shared.

      Reply
  7. “I declare that God owns my heart and create space for the Spirit of God to work.” Yes! When we follow his lead and direction, things will always turn out better than if we follow our own directions. My kids laugh that I always follow recipes exactly, but I trust the tried and true ways the most. 🙂

    Reply
    • Me, too, Lisa. For me, at least, it takes longer to experiment, and I know the outcome when I follow the recipe.
      And if God tells me he will meet me over his word, I have to believe that he means what he says.

      Reply
  8. I love the idea of creating the conditions for spiritual growth—being intentional about it. If we’re not intentional, it likely will not happen. At least, that’s what I’ve discovered in my own life. Thanks for sharing this Michele!

    Pinned & tweeted.

    Thank you for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

    Reply
  9. Elisabeth Elliot said, “There is always time to do the will of God.” And then went on to say that if we didn’t have time to do the most important things, then we must be filling our lives with lesser commitments that need to go.
    That no nonsense wisdom continues to shape me, and you’ve said it so well here: if we’re not intentional, it won’t happen!
    Blessings to you!

    Reply
  10. Michele, I love how you take us through the different ways that we can consume God’s Word. Being committed to carving out time spent in His word, even if it’s waiting in the school line. This truly was an encouraging and inspiring post! #inspirememonday

    Reply
    • That’s so good to hear, April. Even though I’m no longer waiting in the school line, I still find myself having to be creative in carving out that time alone with God every day. I think it’s when we get stuck in the idea that “devotions” have to look a certain way that we begin to doubt ourselves and become defeated by our own imagination.

      Reply
  11. The Blogger’s Pit Stop likes to gently expose readers to Spiritual truths they may not find elsewhere. That is why we are featuring your post in our new category ‘Spiritual.’ Thank you for sharing your articles with us, may the Lord use them as He will.
    Kathleen

    Reply

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