Note: In order to keep this article from getting too long and so I can avoid the dreaded tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) this article will be divided into two parts.
Jeremiah 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
When you think of the term “Personal Development”, what comes to mind? Maybe one of those self-help books about How to Lose 20 Pounds in 20 Days or 30 Days to New Habits or some other not-so-nice-sounding title like that? While it is true that those kinds of self-help books do actually help, it’s sometimes because of the process of getting the results indicated in those book titles that causes people to cringe and pull back from such concepts as personal development. They want the outcome for sure, but it’s somewhere in the process that they lose heart and quit!
When I speak of personal development, I simply mean it in the context of starting with where and how you currently are and taking the necessary steps to develop yourself, one or two concepts at a time, into someone who gives more value to other people than you are currently giving. Notice I did not say how to “become a better father”, “become a better leader”, or to “get better at handling money”, etc. I simply said, “starting with where and how you currently are and taking the necessary steps to develop yourself, one or two concepts at a time, into someone who gives more value to other people than you are currently giving”.
In my estimate, THAT is personal development! It is not procedure-based and it is not outcome-based, it is simply a journey based on the concept of being better than you currently are and becoming a source of value to others, in whatever form that value may take. This also takes away all feelings for the need to compete with others because you realize that your only real competition is yourself!
Okay, now that we’ve gotten all the important preliminaries out of the way about the concept of personal development, as I see it anyway, let’s move on to some reasons why Christians should even care about this!
Because God Cares About Personal Development
As we see in the two verses above, God cares about the newness that personal development brings. In Jeremiah 33:3 He says He will show us great mighty things we don’t even know about yet if we’d just look to Him, and in 2nd Corinthians 5:17 we are told that if we’re in Christ, we are a new creation with the old things being passed away and all things becoming new. Many times we take the second verse and apply it only to when someone gets saved and are made into a new creation in Christ. While it certainly does apply to that, I do not believe it is limited just to that by God nor should it be limited just to that by us!
The Lack of Christian-Focused Teaching on Personal Development
There is a severe lack of personal development taking place in the Christian realm and, other than some of it just being the fact that some Christians choose not to be developed, some of it may also be contributed to the fact that there is a severe lack of teaching geared specifically toward Christians. This leads to Christians not knowing very much about the topic and thus being left believing misconceptions about it, and thus they fulfill the scripture that says in Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…The main reason I bring this part up is because there are certain goals and convictions that we as Christians have that a lot of people just may not have and we need personal development teachings that include those Christ-centered goals and convictions.
That is part of the reason I started this blog. Not because I’m trying to be some great personal development guru, though I do want to add value to people based on my own life experience, but because I believe many Christians look at this topic as being for those who have no hope beyond this life anyway and who will therefore put all their focus into things like personal development and climbing up the professional ladder. I believe many Christians think personal development is only for those who are trying to obtain some high level position at work or some other goal that many Christians just aren’t interested in, when in reality the housewife… the mother at home…the local church member…or the local Pastor can benefit from these teachings in their own ways as much as the high-dollar CEO!
As Christians, it is true that our hope is in God and I believe many Christians feel we have no need to worry about things like personal development because “this life is temporary anyway”, or “only what’s done for Christ will last”, all of which is true and all of which can also incredibly limit the positive effect that we can have in this world for Christ if we would just let Him develop us into a more mature witness for Him!
Personal Development Will Cause People to Take Christians More Seriously
Let’s face it! Christians are already looked at with a skeptical eye by
those who do not personally know the Lord! We are looked at as hypocritical or
somehow unserious about our beliefs and convictions because, to be quite
honest, there are many people who profess to be Christians who
are purposely and knowingly participating in things that are completely against
what the Bible declares and what Christians profess to believe, and yet will claim the grace of God covers it all so that it doesn’t matter how they live their lives. This makes unbelievers incredibly skeptical, and it should. It also goes against the teachings of Christ in Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Another reason is that sadly many Christians do not act seriously
about their convictions. For instance, when it’s brought out that some ungodly
teaching is taking place in public schools, rather than taking any kind of
stand against it, many Christians will just shake their heads in disapproval,
say a little prayer, and move on with their day and it’s this lack of
boundaries that keeps people from taking Christians seriously. These are only a
few reasons, of many that could be given, as to why Christians are really not
taken that seriously, but I think you get the picture.
When a Christian begins to both learn and implement personal development,
they’ll start to find themselves suddenly dealing with issues on a deeper level
and not taking so many things for granted. They’ll also find themselves taking
more of a stand because their boundaries are being developed due to their
increase in personal confidence that stems from their learning and applying the
things they learn.
Now that I’ve talked a little about why Christians should care about this, in my next article I will bring out the positive results of learning and implementing personal development and how simple yet effective it really is!
We will see you in the next post that will come out in a few days!
God bless you,