At Road to Freedom, we believe that strong spiritual health can help you build a foundation of coping skills, faith and fellowship that supports sobriety. Other than reading your Bible and praying — both of which are important pillars in building spiritual health — here are five things you can do to grow your faith.
Express yourself through writing or art
Journaling is a great way to explore your ideas and thoughts about God while also listening to what God might be saying to your heart. If you’re comfortable with writing, take time to record your thoughts, questions and what you think God might be telling you each day. Couple journaling with Bible reading by writing down what you think about after reading Scripture. Reflecting in a physical way often helps you make a breakthrough about emotions or ideas.
Not everyone is a writer or likes to write, though, and you can reflect in similar fashion while you draw, paint or work with wood. Choose a quiet, individual activity that you can do somewhat automatically while you reflect on God, such as crocheting or coloring in a book. Remember that there aren’t right or wrong answers during your reflection time; it’s more about spending the time with God and with yourself.
Read about faith, scripture and Jesus
Obviously, reading and reflecting on the Bible is essential to growing in Christ, but you might also want to branch off into other books and materials. Find narrative stories that recount what happened in Biblical times or read daily devotionals that help you expand how you think about Jesus. As you grow in your faith, challenge yourself with more difficult topics, and reach out to counselors, pastors and others to discuss items that make you uncomfortable or thoughtful. By challenging your faith, you can make it stronger.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3, NIV).
Some books we recommend include:
- Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst
- Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson
- Beautiful Outlaw by John Eldridge
- A Fellowship of Differents by Scot McKnight
You can find Christian fiction and nonfiction at local libraries, online or at most bookstores.
Obey God’s commands and his pull on your heart
One of the best ways to boost your spiritual health is to align yourself with Christ by following God’s commands in your life. Some of his commands are pretty straightforward and easy to understand. The Bible tells us not to kill, steal or lie; it also tells us to be good stewards of what God has provided for us. That means trying to make good decisions about your money, your family, your talents and your body.
God’s will for you can be harder to discern sometimes. Just like anything, it takes practice to listen to God’s word; sometimes it takes even more practice to follow it! As you grow in your faith, take small steps every day to incorporate God’s will in your life. When you mess up, don’t give up or return to square one. Simply try again.
Show love to others
Showing love to others is a great way to get a positive boost for your mind, body, and soul. Doing something nice for another person has been shown to impact brain chemistry in a positive, healthy and natural way. Trying to emulate Christ in the way you show love to others is a great way to put your desire for greater faith into action. No one had more faith or love than Jesus, and no one sacrificed more for others than he did.
It doesn’t take huge action to show God’s love to other people. Simply saying hello with a smile can be a big gesture for someone who is having a bad day. Other actions you can take might include:
- Praying for others — even your enemies
- Helping someone with a daily task or special project
- Bringing food to someone who can’t get out or is sick
- Sending a card or letter, especially with words of affirmation
- Affirming someone in person with spoken words
- Just listening to someone who needs to talk
- Volunteering at community organizations or events
Fast Appropriately to Draw Near to God
Spiritual fasting means abstaining from something in an effort to draw near to God. Many people associate fasting with food, but you might find that fasting from television, social media or other things are more effective. By fasting, you free up your energy, attention and time for God and his Word. If you do want to attempt fasting from food, make sure you speak to a healthcare provider first and fast in moderation appropriate to your condition.
These are just some habits you can incorporate into life to boost your spiritual health. If you are dealing with recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, you might also be able to use some of these habits to help you face cravings or deal with triggers. If you’re struggling right now with an addiction or substance abuse, don’t struggle alone. You can call us today and speak with a caring, Christian counselor about treatment options.