To grow spiritually – What is it?
Growing spiritually is detailed in 2 Peter 1:3-8, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
So, growing spiritually includes: (1) increasing in your knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, (2) decreasing in your frequency and severity of sin, (3) increasing in your practice of Christ-like qualities, and (4) increasing in your faith and trust in God. Perhaps the best summary of spiritual growth is becoming more like Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul says, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of what it truly means to be spiritual.
To grow spiritually – How is it done?
In order to grow spiritually, you first need to make sure you possess a true spiritual life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12). When you believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit lives inside of you (John 14:16-17) and you are a new creation in Christ! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Your old nature, which is dominated by sin, is replaced with a new nature that is under the influence of God’s Spirit (Romans 6-7). Spiritual growth can only occur in a person who knows the Lord Jesus Christ as his or her Savior.
Learning how to grow spiritually is a life-long journey which occurs as you read and apply God’s Word to your life. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches us, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” In order for spiritual growth to occur, we must be taught, rebuked, corrected, and trained by God’s Word. Then we will be thoroughly equipped for every good work. This is the essence of spiritual growth.
To grow spiritually – What are the results?
Growing spiritually is a life-long process of manifesting the acts of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) less and less and producing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) more and more. Notice that it is the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit in us. Yes, we must submit ourselves to the Spirit’s leading, but it is the Spirit who produces the fruit of spiritual growth in our lives. What does spiritual growth look like? Galatians 5:22-23 has the answer, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” If you are becoming more loving, more joyful, more kind, more self-controlled, etc., then, you can rest assured that spiritual growth is genuinely occurring in your life.