Are you dissatisfied with your spiritual life? Do you feel stuck or stagnant? Are you tired of going through the motions of faith? Do you want to make real progress in your life, but don’t know where to start?
Bible Gateway interviewed Darryl Dash (@DashHouse) about his book, How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Your Life (Moody Publishers, 2018).
How do you define growth? Is all growth spiritual?
Darryl Dash: Growth is about becoming more human. It’s God transforming every part of our lives so that we’re less affected by sin, more renewed, and more like the people we were made to be. The theological word for this is sanctification.
It’s not just spiritual. It affects everything: our bodies, relationships, emotions, and thinking. It affects every part of life. “Our inner self is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16).
What are common misunderstandings of spiritual maturity? What effects do they have on a person’s desire to grow?
Darryl Dash: Sometimes we think spiritual maturity is about becoming less human. It’s actually about becoming more human. We also think it’s about becoming more serious, or that we have to deny our desires. As a result, spiritual maturity looks unattractive.
True spirituality is about recovering our humanity, becoming more joyful, and changing our desires so that we’re ultimately satisfied in God. It’s what Jesus talks about in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
What does it mean to be “a person who is fully alive”?
Darryl Dash: Sin destroys everything that it touches. Because we’ve all been touched by sin, we suffer from the effects of sin in every part of our lives.
Jesus came to undo the effects of sin. One day we’ll be fully free from sin and all of its effects. We’re not there yet, but it’s started. Jesus gives new hearts and new life to those who follow him. He’s undoing the effects of sin in our lives. Even now, we’re new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).
What is the relationship between holiness and joy?
Darryl Dash: I never used to be able to figure out what holiness had to do with happiness. The two seemed contradictory. I began to notice how many times the Bible talks about joy. For instance, Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” This is repeated all throughout Scripture. In the book of Acts, the growth of the church is described as at the spread of joy (Acts 8:8).
I also began to look at people I know who are most spiritually mature. They’re joyful even when life is hard. I began to understand that what Charles Spurgeon said is true: “The happiest state of a Christian is the holiest state.”
What are the stages on the path to maturity? How does a person determine their current stage?
Darryl Dash: There are six stages:
They aren’t neat categories. People aren’t like that! But they’re helpful in terms of understanding where we are now and what we need to do next. You can take an assessment online at gospelforlife.com/stages to discover your current stage.
Why does growth tend to be an area of frustration and tension?
Darryl Dash: We often don’t have a plan for growth. We also tend to get discouraged and beat ourselves up when we fail. We try to grow alone. We also tend to attempt too much at once.
We need a realistic plan to be able to grow that’s appropriate to our stage. For instance, 1 John 2:12-14 addresses Christians who are at different stages in their walk with God.
How do we build daily habits that shape healthy spiritual growth?
Darryl Dash: Start small! Don’t try to do everything at once. Focus on what’s most important right now, and when you fail, pick yourself up again and start over. I spend a whole chapter in How to Grow describing how to build habits, but that’s where to start.
What are the “core gospel habits”?
Darryl Dash: Three habits make the biggest difference. We never grow beyond them:
- Reading or listening to Scripture — Hiding God’s Word in our hearts, and knowing God better through his revealed Word (Psalm 119:9-16)
- Praying — Continually speaking to God about all that’s on our minds (Philippians 4:6-7)
- Participating in worship and fellowship in a church — Pursuing God together in community with others (Hebrews 10:23-25).
I’ve never known anyone who is spiritually mature who doesn’t regularly practice these three core habits.
What are the supporting habits?
Darryl Dash: I cover a number of supporting habits in the book:
- taking a Sabbath
- sharing the gospel
- looking after our bodies
- building a Rule of Life.
But it’s best to focus on the core habits until we’re consistent so we don’t get overwhelmed. Then add one habit at a time and avoid overwhelm.
How do you personally stay motivated and encouraged when you fail in your growth journey?
Darryl Dash: It really helps to live in community. When I get discouraged, others are able to remind me of what I’m quick to forget: that God is faithful even when we’re faithless (2 Timothy 2:13).
Why is it important to pursue growth in community?
Darryl Dash: We’re made in God’s image. God himself lives in eternal community as the Trinity. We too were made in God’s image to be part of his family. Most commands in the New Testament are written to groups of believers, not individuals. We need others to grow!
What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?
Darryl Dash: I love 2 Timothy 2:1-13. It covers everything: the gospel as the power for growth, our call to invest in others, and the cost. It’ll be hard! But there’s nothing better to do with our lives. I keep returning to this passage over and over.
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App and Bible Audio App?
Darryl Dash: Since one of the key habits is to read or listen to Scripture, I have to love Bible Gateway’s website and apps. It’s so helpful to be able to access so many resources at no cost. I especially love that you provide options for both reading and listening to the Bible.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Darryl Dash: Your life matters! We tend to think that God uses the extraordinarily gifted. The truth: God loves to use ordinary people like us who are faithful. You’re already impacting more lives than you know.
I finish the last chapter by saying, “We don’t need you to be perfect. We just need you to allow us to follow you as you follow Jesus. It’s a strategy that’s simple and effective. The results will ripple through generations. Do this for a long period of time and you’ll probably never be famous, but your life will matter for eternity.” I really believe that. God can use your life to make a difference that will last forever.
Bio: Darryl Dash is author of How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to All of Your Life. He serves as pastor of Liberty Grace Church in Toronto. He is also cofounder of Gospel for Life, and director of Advance Church Planting Institute. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and has over 25 years of ministry experience. Darryl is married to Charlene, and has two adult children, Christy and Josiah. You can find Darryl online at DashHouse.com.
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