The Christian life is a relationship with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This relationship is marked by talking, listening, trusting, and obeying. These are the core activities of a life of spiritual growth and maturity.
Dallas Willard was a 50-year professor of Philosophy at the University of Southern California. He devoted his life to personally studying and applying the spiritual growth disciplines of the Christian faith to himself, and then teaching them to others.
About a year before his death, Willard was being interviewed at a spiritual leadership conference when he was asked this question: “If a person wants to grow spiritually, what would your advice be? Where should they start?”
There was a long silence as Willard thoughtfully considered his answer. You could hear a pin drop. He broke the silence with these simple words: “Do the next right thing you know you ought to do.”
That was it! That was Dallas Willard’s great advice for spiritual growth. Here was a man who had spent his entire life in learning and teaching others how to pray, meditate on Scripture, fast, seek silence and solitude, serve, give, and so on. And his end-all statement on spiritual growth was simply, “Do the next right thing you know you ought to do.”
- What is God calling to do, or to stop doing, right now?
- What is He calling you to pick up, or to set down?
- Whom is He leading you to meet with, or call, or write to?
- What blessing is He inspiring you to give to, or do, for someone else?
- What impression or instruction is on your heart or mind from the Lord?
It may not make sense to you. It may not even sound like a very “spiritual” task or assignment. But you know in your heart that obedience looks like doing this thing God has impressed upon you. In your heart, you know that to not do it is to disobey.
What is the next right thing you know you ought to do? Go for it, in obedient faith! And watch your relationship with God grow deeper.