The Bible begins with the story of human kind, man and woman, created "in the image and likeness of God". In other words, the man was created "developed" from the very beginning, multilaterally reflecting the divine traits. However, he was human, not god. And the commandment was benevolent to Adam and Eve: "Be fruitful". It was not about stature, nor about the number of family members, because after that comes the idea of "multiply". By this "Be fruitful", you clearly read a "develop yourself" affection! Obviously, the teacher of man was God Himself, and the potential was +infinite.
We also have a plot. The Bible speaks of a second party interested in man’s development, Lucifer that comes up with a tangible offer. He tells the people:
Eat from the forbidden fruit for a true "personal development":
- your eyes will open (blind people that you are),
- you will be like God (not wretched creatures),
- knowing the good and the evil (you have no idea on which world you live in).
Two bites later, the man plunges into a real swamp of personal incapacity: he sees himself naked, he feels ashamed, mends himself with leaves, knows fear, and hides himself. The bitter side of personal development ... Until today we repeat the pattern: God tells us that development is a process with Him; Lucifer gives us a shortcut, overnight, without Him.
What does the Bible say about personal development? What does its most important character say? In Jesus’ own words: "And this is life eternal, that they may know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent" (John 17: 3). There it is the best goal for personal development – eternal life. Behold the best teacher and the most efficient activity.
How? So, you want something more grounded, more of this world... Sorry, the Bible does not have much in common with these: leadership, speaker, success, team-building, manager, qualities, training, speech, influence, vision, potential, focus, efficiency, business, coach, mentor, CEO. Not that it despises them − even its’ heroes have been recognized for these things −, but puts in front of all these a coefficient of something else, an infusion of divine. Today, personal development is promoted without God. Instead, the biblical equation is clear: personal development = the knowing of God.
So, if you want to know what does the Bible say, then look for people who have developed themselves with God. Read Luke 2:52 and see the personal development of Jesus (come on, grab it and open it, for you may not know for sure what it says there). Read Philippians 3 and see Paul's personal development and aspirations. He changed the entire portfolio of personal development – and he even had his own personal track record − on knowing Christ. Or, if we are to speak collectively, try Ephesians 4: 13-15, where the goal for all Christians is clearly set: to be as Christ, that is, to be at the height of His stature.
Do not look surprised yet. The Bible does not despise science, talents, knowledge development, questions to ask, desire to grow in all dimensions of your life. But it doesn’t even deceive you with the temptation that personal development would be made from a questionnaire, two bites and a chew of cropped quotes. It is not acquired from a seminar and a stack of books that promise the moon. It's a lifetime thing. Yes, years. About 10-20 at least and then we’ll talk. I have not heard of biblical steroids. Sorry! The Bible does not have a "gym"!
P.S. The world’s wisest man wrote a book at the end of his life, not at the beginning of his career. (That's from where Stephen Covey was inspired for the best-seller title of 25 million copies, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People). Solomon's conclusion is still with God... I recommend you read it from the pages with the title The confession of the wise – it takes about as long as a coach event and costs as much as the taxi ride to the event.
Article written by Christian Sălcianu