This post is from my guest, Greg Longoria … My writing focuses on applying wisdom to your everyday life:  family, work, finances, and health.  You can find me over at

From Greg:

I recently interviewed Dr. Ken Baugh, the author of Unhindered Abundance, and his answer may surprise you.

Where does spiritual power come from?

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:13, NLTse)

Dr. Baugh was a pastor for 25 years, now CEO of IDT Ministries, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor in Neuroscience and Trauma. Baugh’s passion is for helping people identify and resolve the spiritual and emotional conflicts that hinder their God-given purpose and potential.

In my interview, Dr. Baugh emphasized that:

God fuels our spiritual growth and development by giving us the desire and the power to change.

I told him how I witnessed change and growth firsthand as a table host for the Alpha Course, a series of conversations for men and women exploring the claims of Christianity. As a host, my role was to create an open environment where someone could get to know God on their own terms. I wasn’t responsible for all the answers, just to keep the conversation flowing.

And this corroborated Dr. Baugh’s second key point:

God will always provide the desire and power to grow, but we need to do something about it.

We need to partner with God in our spiritual growth. God is always at the door; we just need to answer when he knocks.

Are you in command of your spiritual growth?

Grace is opposed to earning, but not to effort. (Dallas Willard)

Dr. Baugh emphasized that our spiritual formation is an active process energized by God’s grace and love. He backed up Dallas Willard’s quote (see above) with five key lessons we need to know about spiritual growth:

  1. God provides us with the desire to grow. God wants to fill the gaping hole in our hearts that we seek to fill with things far less satisfying.
  2. God gives us the ability to make active, willful choices. We can choose to advance our relationship with God or not. A God of love does not force himself on us.
  3. When we respond with little steps forward, God gives us the power and desire to take even more significant steps. God rewards faith as small as a mustard seed.
  4. Our ability to exercise agency over our relationship with God doesn’t negate God’s sovereignty. God is in control of everything, regardless of our choices.
  5. We must actively participate in our growth and change. Sanctification is a progressive process, not a passive one.

Does this put God in charge of your relationship with him? No.

Does this put you in charge? Yes.

Were you expecting that answer?

Are you a right thinker?

When we start to think with the mind of the Messiah, renewing our minds and taking thoughts captive with the help of the Holy Spirit, we change our worldview to one of love — to the worldview of heaven. (Dr. Carolyn Leaf)

As Dr. Leaf states, renewing our minds and taking thoughts captive changes our worldview to one of heaven. Dr. Baugh refers to this as right thinking and says that right thinking is second only to loving God (and others) in impacting our spiritual formation.

To think right, we must exercise our God-given human agency to become a new creation; it doesn’t happen magically.

As you read the verses below, journal your responses to the following questions:

  1. What is “right-thinking” about God?
  2. Why is right thinking important?

Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts (Proverbs 4:23, GNT)

Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think (Romans 12:2, NLTse)

Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes (Ephesians 4:23, NLTse)

Think only about the things in heaven, not the things on earth. (Colossians 3:2, NCV)

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8, NLTse)

Be renewed as you learn to know your Creator (Colossians 3:10, NLTse)

You must actively participate in your spiritual growth and change. As Dallas Willard said, grace is not opposed to effort. British philosopher James Allen in his book As a Man Thinketh, eloquently states that we must actively cultivate right thinking in the garden of our minds:

Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts.

This post first appeared here.

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