Spiritual growth is something every believer must undergo. We are spiritual living things and as such growth should be observed.
In this article you will discover what spiritual growth is about, how we can grow spiritually and a few marks of spiritual growth.
What Is Spiritual Growth?
Spiritual growth is summed up in the book of Ephesians 4:13 which says:
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:"
In a few words, spiritual growth is about becoming like Jesus. The growth is so that we can mature into the image of Christ who is the standard for our Christian Faith.
All of the steps we take in order to conform to the image of Jesus, to become like Him, act like Him, talk like Him and so on are all part of the requirements for spiritual growth.
Jesus is our patterned man. Like the writer of Hebrews says:
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:2
What this means is that everything we want to do as believers He has done, every height we would want to attain, He has attained. He began and completed the faith and it is just wise to look on Him as we journey.
It is very important to note that there is nothing you can do as a believer that will give you a status above the stature of Christ.
So, the concept of spiritual growth is the process of increasing in size until we come into the stature of Christ. It is gaining heights, building muscles so to speak, gaining knowledge of the person of Jesus until we conform to His image.
Growth is a characteristic of a living thing. Biology teaches us that living things are characterized by movement, reproduction, nutrition, sensitivity, growth, excretion, respiration and death which is largely believed not to be a part anymore.
You will agree with me that before the subject of growth can come up something must be born that is reproduction must take place.
There would be no talk of spiritual growth except spiritual reproduction or birth has taken place. Let's look at the concept of spiritual birth.
In Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus recorded in John 3, Our Lord spoke about being born again (John 3:3). Nicodemus wondered at the words of Jesus asking if he should go back into his mother's womb to be born again? (John 3:4)
From all indications, Nicodemus thought that the birth was referring to was physical birth but Jesus' response in verse 5 shows that it was not something physical but a spiritual event Jesus was talking about.
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." - John 3:5
Jesus further explained in John 3:6 that the birth was by the Spirit of God. And by that it is not physical but spiritual and divine.
Being born again is possible by the Holy spirit. The Holy spirit gives life to our spirits, birthing us anew. This birth makes us become spiritual living things. We are made alive in our spirit man.
With birth comes the need to grow. There would be so much dissatisfaction from a parent whose child refuses to grow as expected. Since we have become spiritual living things, we ought to take spiritual growth very important.
So the question before we advance into the discourse of growing spiritually is are you born again? Have you become born of the Spirit? This article will be unfruitful to you except spiritual birth has taken place.
Back to the subject of spiritual growth.
Marks of Spiritual Growth
There are signs that prove you are growing spiritually. I would list only a few of some of these marks before I show you the recipe and requirement for growing spiritually.
- Increase in the knowledge and understanding of the Word of God.
- The expression of Christ-like qualities.
- Decrease in your ability to sin.
These three (3) are not all the marks of spiritual growth. They cover the basic marks to show you are growing spiritually.
Spiritual growth can not be hidden. If you are truly growing you will know. You do not need any one to tell you that you are.
As you grow, you will begin to have profound insight and understanding of God's word. Your faith in God will go over-the-roof when your spirit man begins to grow.
You recall that the summary of spiritual growth is becoming like Jesus our Lord. By this when you start to grow spiritually, you begin to express Christ-like qualities.
These qualities are listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and they are:
Spiritual growth will see a believer begin to express these qualities as listed above.
Also, the tendency to sin becomes greatly reduced as you grow. To explain this, I would use the analogy of a child learning to walk.
Such a child would always fall because his feet bones and muscles have not been well-developed. As the child grows, he or she begins to get stronger, develops feet muscles and bones.
These muscles and bones helps the child stand firmer on the ground and reduces his or her tendencies to fall when walking. In the same manner, as we grow in God, we begin to lose the ability to sin.
Now to the major question this article seeks to answer.
How To Grow Spiritually?
Basically, there are two (2) ways to grow spiritually. They are:
- The Word of God
Prayer and the Word of God are two basic tools for spiritual growth. I call them basic because there are more advanced, unique tools for growing spiritually.
One thing you should never forget, the Christian Faith is real and practical. It is not just a set of written ordinances or theory. As you advance with God, He would introduce some food supplements to help you grow.
We can not fully gather words together to correctly and completely tell how we should go about our walk with God or how we can grow spiritually.
Nevertheless, on a basic level, prayers, study and meditating on God's word will definitely cause growth to take place.
See Peter's counsel in 1 Peter 2:2,
"Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up into your salvation," (Christian Standard Bible)
Being born again makes us spiritual new born. The same way a new born baby needs milk to grow, we need spiritual milk to grow. The spiritual milk for our growth is not breast milk but the Word of God.
Furthermore in Acts 20:32, Apostle Paul commended the church in Ephesus to the Word of God because it has the power to "build up" our spiritual man.
The study, meditation and obedience of God's word is an integral requirement for growing spiritually. Like Paul told his son Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:15.
Apart from the word of God, prayer is another tool for growing spiritually. Prayer comes with so much benefits and blessedness one of which is spiritual building.
Every believer who wants to grow, gain stature and live in the will of God must give him or herself to prayer.
Jude says to "build up ourselves" we must pray in the Holy spirit. Prayers, heart-felt prayers, intense prayers - builds up the believer.
Prayer is a tool for communicating with the Father. A channel with which God can relate to our spirit - Spirit to spirit.
There can be no spiritual growth without prayers and the word of God. At a basic and foundational level, these two are required for growth.
Final Thoughts On Spiritual Growth
The joy of every parent is to see their child grow up into maturity. In the same vein, God expects us to grow and mature as spiritual living beings.
He has made provisions for us to help us facilitate the growth process. His word contains the essential nutrients for growth and we have the protocol of prayers for building.
Thus, we must take deliberate and conscious steps to grow by studying His word and giving ourselves to prayer.
The benefits which trail the path of spiritual growth are immense as we begin to walk in it. God grant us grace. AMEN.