How exciting it is to observe spiritual growth in a person’s walk with God! “We can be so pleased about him,” said a brother who had just said a wholehearted “amen” at the end of the public prayer of a young brother. This young brother had become a Christian six months earlier. In a testimony, he had expressed that he wanted to serve God with all of his heart and be faithful to Him. Then he asked for prayers for himself.
He demonstrated that he meant this sincerely by making things right where he was in the wrong. Now he came to the worship services regularly with a Bible in his hand. He not only listened attentively to the sermons but also took notes so that he could think more about it afterward. He enjoyed participating in the Sunday School lessons, and it was noticeable that he was studying the Word of God. His aim was to increase in the knowledge of the will of God. He was baptized at the first opportunity. Three weeks ago, he brought a friend from school with him to the worship service. Last Sunday, this friend came on his own. Prompted by the conversations with his believing friend about the privileges of serving God, he had sought God on that Sunday evening.
What believing parents wouldn’t wish for a son like him! The heavenly Father looks with pleasure on a life such as his! How happy a pastor is about a person who shows such visible growth in his walk with God. Such a child of God is a blessing to the congregation and to those around him. He himself has joy in his walk with God, for his spiritual life grows continually and moves forward.
Spiritual growth is not only desirable but absolutely essential. In God’s Word, we are repeatedly encouraged to grow spiritually. Paul exhorts us to “grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). “Increas[e] in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10). “…[G]row in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ“ (2 Peter 3:18).
The fundamental requirement for spiritual growth, of course, is spiritual life itself. If there is no life, then there can be no growth. You cannot grow into a life from God if you are spiritually dead. You cannot better yourself by imitating the example of Jesus so that you gradually become a child of God. That is impossible! Becoming a Christian requires being born again, and growth is part of being a Christian. Therefore, I ask you: Have you received life from God? Is there something there that can develop and grow? If yes, then I would like to give you a few suggestions in the following three areas:
Keep your spiritual life healthy!
Only a healthy spiritual life can produce normal spiritual growth. If a little child is healthy, then normal development of the limbs, organs, and intellect can be expected. “… strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men” (Acts 24:16). Guard yourself from becoming infected by an ounce of worldliness due to carelessness. Do not allow bitterness to gnaw on your heart! Nothing should hinder your good spiritual development.
Nourish yourself regularly!
God’s Word says about the young congregation of Christians in Jerusalem: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:42). God does not have a diet for His children that will work wonders within 24 hours. Changes will be visible after a certain amount of time has passed. The secret to success is persistence. As growth is not visible overnight in a child, likewise spiritual growth goes hand in hand with consistently good spiritual nutrition. Be persistent in consuming good spiritual food!
Read your Bible regularly! It is the best food for your soul that I can recommend to you. Take your Bible in the morning and draw strength for the day! Read it in the evening as well to discover insight about God’s will. Find counsel and guidance for the many circumstances you face in life. Read it prayerfully! Plead with the Psalmist to the Lord: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law” (Psalm 119:18). Allow the Holy Spirit to shine light on the mirror of God’s Word so it isn’t a dark mirror for you but so that you can always recognize yourself. Ask yourself what the Word tells you about your situation and about your everyday life. Read it with faith, reverence, and eagerness, and read it studiously!
Attend worship services regularly and experience the preaching of God’s Word! If even a worshiper in the Old Testament expressed his desire to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4), how much more should we desire this in the New Testament time! It is not without reason that the writer of the letter to the Hebrews admonishes us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25). Thomas was not present when the Lord revealed Himself as the Resurrected One, and later, he lacked in faith. Do not allow yourself to become deficient in your spiritual nutrition and care because you attend worship services irregularly! It will negatively affect your spiritual development.
Allow continual fellowship with God to nourish your soul! Studying the Word of God and praying belong together, and both contribute to good spiritual growth. Peter did not continue to pray and remain watchful, and this was his downfall. “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
A little child needs to use his limbs, or they will not develop properly. Even older people are strongly advised to be physically active. If bodily exercise profits a little, according to the words of the apostle Paul, then “godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8). Therefore, be diligent to place great worth on this.
Use your voice and speak a word for Jesus! Profess Him there where the Lord has placed you! Look for opportunities to say a word of comfort or encouragement. Use your hands to welcome someone with a firm handshake and friendly words! Use your feet to go where the Lord sends you! Restrain your feet from every evil way. You can be certain that exercising godliness will further your spiritual growth. With God’s help, it is possible to grow inwardly and to be a blessing. You will never regret it!
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