Some Christians mistakenly believe that to pursue self-improvement is to glorify the self instead of God. However, this is not true, as chasing after Jesus will cause you to adopt His characteristics, becoming more like Him as you seek after Him.
The only way to nurture a relationship with Jesus Christ is to draw closer to Him through studying the Bible, praise, worship, and prayer. The benefits of growing closer to Christ take self-improvement to a whole new level.
What is a personal relationship with Christ?
Do you have a best friend? Do you have someone closer to you than a brother? That is what a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is like, with the exception that Jesus knows you fully. He knows your heart, your dreams, and your goals. Furthermore, Jesus is part of the Holy Trinity, so He also knows what needs to happen to develop your character to glorify Him.
How your relationship with Jesus lends to self-improvement.
When Jesus is King of your heart, you seek Him and His kingdom first. You seek after His righteousness and display the fruits of the Spirit. This self-improvement is not to boost your ego but to help you confidently walk in the Spirit. When people notice you displaying Jesus’ traits, they are more likely to follow Him, furthering God’s kingdom.
How can you boost your self-improvement as a Christian? What can you learn by drawing closer to Jesus?
You learn your strengths.
Jesus knows your strengths, do you? Have you discovered your talents and gifts? You are far more capable of achievements than you give yourself. In the Bible, Moses doubted his strengths when God commanded him to speak to Pharoah.
Although God sent Aaron with Moses, it was not because Moses was incapable of the task. God would never have told him to go if the man was unable. Instead, God sent Aaron to strengthen Moses and give him confidence.
Without Jesus, we try to do everything with our strength. But with Jesus, we have an unfair supernatural advantage. He takes our strengths and perceived weaknesses, and He amplifies them. Give God your strength, and He will manage the rest.
I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. – John 15:5, NIV
You learn to serve.
The most powerful and influential people throughout history took a servanthood approach. Jesus came to serve. As God, He performed miracles, taught the people, and filled the gap between God and us. To become a servant, you must humble yourself. This is tough for people to understand, much less do, yet we have seen it.
For example, the businesswoman who puts others before herself, wanting them to succeed far above what she can do on her own. The famous athlete who decides to train a new generation in not only the sport but in life.
To think of others far beyond ourselves may not feel natural at first. After all, we have always been told it is a dog-eat-dog world. But Jesus taught us that the ultimate display of love for His people is to serve. We show compassion when we volunteer.
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Matthew 20:28, NIV
You learn to be diligent in all areas.
Diligence and discipline go hand in hand. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit; without it, we can find ourselves in trouble. Our relationships derail, we can lose our jobs, we say things we do not mean, and we react impulsively.
When we use self-discipline as a course correction instead of punishment, we become more diligent in every area of our lives. As a result, our relationships flourish, we get promoted at work, and doors open for new opportunities.
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair. – Proverbs 1:1-3, NIV
You talk to Jesus as you would a brother.
Do you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus? Do you want to feel closer to Him? Then speak to Jesus the way you would a close friend. Too often, we get stuck in rhetoric, trying to decipher the proper order of words, as if Jesus will ignore us if we do not get them right.
But Jesus came to the Earth as a human and knows our thoughts and hearts. He does not require us to be perfect. Instead, you can speak to Him about your concerns and praise Him for what He has done. As you increase your communication with Jesus, you may find it easier to communicate with others.
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. – Proverbs 18:24, NIV
You follow God’s commands.
Following God’s commands is a way to practice accountability. Knowing that we have to have an accounting for our words and behavior can make us less likely to do things that will harm others or ourselves.
When you follow God’s commands, you show the world that you are trustworthy and honest as a Christian. You watch the words you speak and your reactions. You are faithful in your relationships and your work.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. – John 3:36, NIV
Jesus prioritized time with His Father, His message, and His relationships. How often do we place other pursuits above our relationship with Jesus Christ? Do we use work as an excuse for letting our spiritual lives go? Regarding our relationships, do we prioritize family or only when nothing else is going on?
Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, said, “God first, family second, and career third.” When we set our priorities in this way, everything falls into place. The relationships with our families should take center stage before our work commitments. If we place work above family, then those relationships will fail. Every aspect of your life is a gift from God and all part of His plan.
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. – Acts 20:24, NIV
You take the Bible’s wisdom seriously.
Wisdom goes far beyond just knowing. Wisdom and insights fill the pages of the Bible, notably the Book of Proverbs. When you study Proverbs, pay close attention to the advice given by the writer. The Bible covers everything from how to treat others to finances. The book of Proverbs consists of 31 chapters, one for each day of the month if you study the book this way.
As you study the Bible, ask God for wisdom and spiritual discernment. You want to adopt the characteristics of a follower of Christ, including nurturing your relationship with Jesus, humbling yourself when you need help, and producing the fruits of the Spirit.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5, NIV
You know the importance of advisers.
The Bible states, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” (Proverbs 11:14, NIV) We can also apply this advice to our daily lives. We know that we make better decisions when informed by people we trust.
If you are trying to develop your strengths and weaknesses, build your character, and grow in self-improvement, consider seeking the help of a Christian counselor specializing in personal development. Your counselor will help you through your journey of self-improvement and a relationship with Jesus. Contact us today.
“Sitting in a Cave”, Courtesy of Scott Osborn, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Heaven’s Throne Room”, Courtesy of Ian Stauffer, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “God’s Servants at Work”, Courtesy of Katherine Conrad, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Wisdom”, Courtesy of Alex Shute, Unsplash.com, CC0 License