"There is no hope of transformation without the ability to see Christ. Considering Christ, studying Him, pursuing Him, observing Him, and following Him becomes the absolute mandate for anyone who will grow spiritually."
I remember a time when I was a child that I wanted to be taller. My friends seemed to be taller than I was and I didn’t want to be “left behind.” I kept willing to be taller, but regardless of how hard I tried, I couldn’t grow any faster. In fact, it seems that as I checked my height every day, I wasn’t growing at all! Of course, I was growing - incrementally and steadily, but nowhere near as quickly as I yearned.
My spiritual growth is like that in many ways! I so eagerly desire to be like Christ. I know that God will cause me to grow into greater conformity to Christ even as He has promised. Yet, my desire is to be more like Christ today! Like I was as a child, I yearn to be “taller!” It seems like my growth is slow, painfully slow. Even as my height is something that was “predestined” by my DNA, so my conformity to Christ is destined by God’s grace! He will bring it to pass - of this God’s Word is certain.
There are some things that I can do to contribute to the process of spiritual growth. Unlike physical development, spiritual growth can be impacted by what we are willing to contribute. There are certain things that prevent growth, retard growth, and stunt growth. There are other things that cause growth, accelerate growth, and sustain growth. Here are some things that you can do to see spiritual growth be more steady:
- Focus Your Attention: … that is, we must “center” our lives on Christ - Psalm 16:8; Hebrews 12:1-2. This is the essential element in spiritual growth. Without a focus on Jesus Christ, no sinner will ever change. There is no hope of transformation without the ability to see Christ. Considering Christ, studying Him, pursuing Him, observing Him, and following Him becomes the absolute mandate for anyone who will grow spiritually. It is this view that causes the transformation. Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 418: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
- Fuel Your Growth with Grace: … that is, we must provide what is needed for spiritual growth to happen. There are certain activities that become consistently “owned” by those who are growing spiritually. These are activities through which grace is made available for believers to grow. We must be careful that we distinguish between merely doing these things and being something that is constantly developing through the participation in these things.
- Feed your soul in personal Bible study - 2 Timothy 2:15
- Sit Under the Preaching of God’s Word - 2 Timothy 4:1-2; 1 Timothy 4:13; Hebrews 10:23-25
- Persist in Prayer - Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Peter 5:7
- Meditate on Scripture - Psalm 1:2-3
- Fellowship with Other Believers: … that is, we must engage with other believers who are able to help us be more of what God desires for us to be than we would ever be by ourselves. God has meant believers to exist in a state of fellowship or community with other believers. Spiritual growth is hindered when believers are not able to interact with and remain accountable to other believers. These opportunities exist to help and all of them are important.
- Participation in the assembly as a church
- Participation in the small group ministries of community groups
- Discipleship relationships with one or two other believers who you can help follow Jesus better.
Our spiritual growth is not something that we can expect to happen “just because!” It is necessary that we actively seek to see the grace of God active in progressively sanctifying us into the image of Christ. May you grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!