The Salvation Army’s USA Southern Territory Spiritual Life Development department aims to provide resources and encouragement to foster the development of the spiritual lives of soldiers, officers, employees, and volunteers.
What do we mean by ‘Spiritual Life Development’? The phrase includes discipleship, Christian maturity, and/or growth. It is following Jesus and becoming more like Him as the Holy Spirit produces fruit and righteous living. I have taken the text of Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus as a foundation for developing spiritual life, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” (Ephesians 3:16-17 NLT) It is deepening roots in the soil of God so that the Holy Spirit produces fruit in our lives as we stay connected to the Vine – Jesus Christ.
How is this accomplished in our lives? We deepen roots and produce fruit through obedience, prayer, Bible study, fellowship, and service – all centered around Christ and connected in balance. All must be developed in our lives to grow as God intended. These five aspects are individual relating to our lives and situations, but they are also developed in our communities and Corps. Prayer and Bible Study are the two vertical aspects looking to and receiving from God while fellowship and service relate to the world around us – horizontally. Fellowship deals with our relationships with the Church/Corps and Service (or ‘Others’) connect to culture and the world around us. All fall within the command in both the Old and New Testaments to Obedience.