Rate Christian Spirituality: A Young Adult Devotion
By: Ben Simpson
Young adulthood can be a difficult time for those following Jesus. During my late teens and early twenties I struggled to grow in my faith. During my freshman year as a student at a Christian university, I remarked to a close friend that I could skirt the college chapel requirement because student life was “like going to church everyday.” In retrospect I was clearly mistaken, but the sentiment itself was and is quite common. There are times in life when we simply refuse to grow.
In my spiritual life, I have not always been motivated to attend worship gatherings, take part in a small group meeting for the purpose of Christian fellowship, or to serve. My social life, schoolwork, and other commitments were not integrated into my life with God. You might know the feeling, or you may know a friend who has a similar sensibility.
If you grew up as part of a community of faith, it is likely you had others around you who held you accountable in your discipleship. They invited (or dragged) you to worship on the weekend and encouraged you to take part in community gatherings. As you entered young adulthood, that system of support may have disappeared or been supplanted by other social commitments, and the onus has fallen to you.
If you are new to the Christian faith, you may be taking the first steps in your journey but are unsure what to do. You ask, “Where should I turn for wisdom?” “Who are reliable guides as I embark on my journey?” and “How do I grow as a follower of Jesus and become the type of person he is calling me to be?”
Wherever you might be on your journey, here are five suggestions for moving from a second-rate Christian spirituality toward a deeply committed, Jesus-like walk of faith.
#1. Decide to Follow
Following after Jesus requires a commitment. Make one. Even if you have made a solid commitment in the past, your life may have changed significantly since that time. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, makes it a daily practice to kneel and recommit his life to Jesus. Pastor Hamilton’s example is instructive. Despite the fact that many would say he has made significant progress as a follower of Christ, he feels the need to renew his commitment each day.
#2. Involve Yourself in Christian Community
Fellowship is a discipline that helps us to grow as disciples of Jesus. Other Christian people can speak wisdom into our lives, help us with our struggles, and encourage us in faith. If you can’t find an intentional Christian community, create one. Band together with friends for conversation, study, prayer, and ministry.
#3. Worship with a Body of Saints
Don’t underestimate the value of engaging in worship with other people. Worship is a holy habit. Find a body of Christian people with whom you connect and join them. Through song, liturgy, communion, baptism, reading of Scripture, and sound preaching, you will mature as a Christian disciple.
#4. Read or Listen to Wise Teachers.
Resources for cultivating your life-in-God are available in abundance. Contemporary writers such as Dallas Willard and Donald Miller have been a blessing to me, as well as classical authors like St. John of the Cross, Brother Lawrence, St. Thomas A’Kempis, and John Wesley. Many churches podcast sermons and other materials that can foster your spiritual growth, so find good communicators and listen to their words on your commute or during a workout.
In Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of the Bible, The Message, James 1:22 says, “Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!” As you study and learn new things, put what you learn into practice! Love people creatively, serve humbly, work for justice, and delight in your walk with God.
Don’t settle for a second-rate Christian spirituality. But be patient. Dallas Willard once remarked, “Your soul is enormous, and it grows slowly.” Taking up these practices will help you along the Jesus way.
See more devotions from Ben and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.