Good - Better - Best

Good… Better… Best!

Good… Better… Best!

If you’ve ever had to pick out an appliance, some carpet or other flooring, or perhaps even some light fixtures or cabinets for your home, you’ve probably seen some products at the store labeled “Good,” some others labeled “better”, and finally others labeled “best.”   Typically, the products marked “good” are entry level type.  Those marked “better” are mid-grade, and those marked “best” are premium.  This has a way of helping us to understand the products that we’re buying so that our expectations are set appropriately. 

Good – Better – Best is also a useful analogy when it comes to how we view the practices that build a healthy spiritual life.  There are some practices that are good, others that are better, and still others that are best.  With this understanding, we can recognize what is good, but at the same time identify what are the spiritual “best practices” and strive for them.

So let’s start with what’s good.  When compared to not coming to church at all, not praying, and not reading a Bible, coming to worship once or twice a month, or 25-50% of the time, can be considered “Good.”  Those one or two times a month provide some level of spiritual nourishment, encouragement in faith, and opportunity to be a blessing to others.  But is there room for more? Certainly there is.

So what’s better?  Rather than participating in worship 1-2 times a month, “Better” would be participating about 3 times a month, or 75% of the time.   Naturally, this provides more food for the soul than only once or twice a month, and it keeps the connection to Jesus stronger.  But is there room to improve here too?  Certainly.

So then, what are best practices for spiritual health?  Let’s refer to a study done by the Center for Bible Engagement and Back to the Bible.  Their study indicates that if a person is engaging with the Bible less than four times a week, their actions and choices are statistically the same as non-believers.  However, those same studies show that a person who engages with their Bible four or more times in a week are 228% more likely to share their faith with others, 407% more likely to memorize scripture, 59% less likely to view pornography, and 30% less likely to struggle with loneliness. They term the results of their research “The Power of Four.”[1]

Based on this research, the best practices for spiritual health, then, would include weekly worship as often as possible, plus at least three other interactions with the Bible during the week.  These other interactions can take many forms, such as 1) participating in a Bible Study or a sermon discussion group, 2) Reading and thinking through a devotional, such as the “Meditations” booklets that are put out by our church body, and 3) Plain, old-fashioned Bible reading and prayer.   Probably a mix of these would serve most people very well. 

Now, while most Christians are aware of this truth at some level, many still struggle to consistently engage with Scripture outside of worship.  The reason that is most often given?  “Too busy.” This is why “busy” is the subject of next week’s 10 for 10 reading.

Finally, why do we want to engage in spiritual “Best Practices”?  Because there we’ll find our God who wants to be known by us, and who is also eager to be known by us, so eager that he sent Jesus his Son to lay down his life for us. 

 

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[1] https://www.backtothebible.org/research