One area where we often fail to utilize our reason and creativity is our own growth in holiness.
Doctors are always reading up on the latest medical research. Athletes are constantly striving to maximize their performance. Professors never tire of refining their expertise. Can we say the same about Christians striving to be more like Christ?
Too many of us, unfortunately, are satisfied with what we have already achieved in the area of holiness.
But Christ has so much more for us to discover and become! He needs us to do our part, and that includes using our intelligence and creativity to identify the habits of mind, heart, and body that inhibit our spiritual growth, and to work on replacing them with habits that will spur our spiritual growth.
One tool for this purpose that spiritual writers and directors have developed over the centuries is called the “program of life“.
A program of life is like having a customized game plan for spiritual growth. It has three parts:
- First, we identify the root of most of our sins and failings. Usually this is one of the seven capital sins.
- Second, we identify the most common manifestations of that root sin in our daily lives.
- Third, we choose particular habits to form that will reverse those manifestations and gradually loosen our root sin’s grip.
The program of life is a powerful tool for spiritual growth, but not the only one. The point is that the Lord doesn’t want to do all the work for us. He wants us to do our part too, by applying our intelligence and creativity to being a better Christian.
All he needs is for us to do our sincere best; he’ll take care of all the rest.