How do you best connect with God?
Experts in spiritual growth have found 7 major “pathways” to God – i.e., means by which believers connect with God and refresh themselves spiritually.* Furthermore, most believers will gravitate toward 1 or 2 of the 7, depending on how God has “wired” them.
In this article, I will list the 7 pathways and describe 3 of them. Next week, I’ll describe the other 4. As you go through them, try to identify your own preferred spiritual pathway(s). If you’re married, you might want to do the same for your spouse.
The point, of course, is that we should regularly engage in our preferred spiritual pathway. We should also stretch ourselves from time-to-time by trying one of the other pathways.
List of 7 Spiritual Pathways
Pathway #1: Intellectual
§ You draw close to God as you’re able to learn more about Him.
§ The study of Scripture & theology comes naturally.
§ You have little patience for emotional approaches to faith.
§ You are a thinker.
§ Biblical example: Paul
§ To strengthen: Read great books that challenge you. Expose yourself to lots of teaching.
§ Caution: Guard against becoming all head and no heart.
Pathway #2: Relational
§ Spiritual growth comes most naturally when you’re involved in significant relationships.
§ Small groups and other community life experiences are key.
§ Being alone can drive you crazy.
§ In key times of growth, God will often speak to you through people.
§ Biblical example: Peter
§ To strengthen: Be part of a vibrant small group. Pray with others in community.
§ Caution: Be careful that you don’t become dependent on others and take on the character of a spiritual chameleon.
Pathway #3: Serving
§ God’s presence seems most tangible when you’re involved in helping others.
§ You’re often uncomfortable in a setting where you don’t have a role.
§ You constantly look for acts of service you can engage in.
§ Biblical example: Dorcas
§ To strengthen: Get plugged into a community so you have opportunities for meaningful service to offer God.
§ Caution: Be careful not to resent other people who don’t serve as much as you do. Don’t confuse serving with earning God’s love.
*Source: An Ordinary Day with Jesus by John Ortberg & Ruth Haley Barton