Spiritual growth is the process of becoming more and more like Jesus. When we place our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit begins the process of making us more like Him, conforming us to His image.
John 17:16-17 says, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”
The word sanctification is related to the word saint; both words have to do with holiness. To “sanctify” something is to set it apart for special use; to “sanctify” a person is to make him holy. Sanctification is also a part of our spiritual growth. Sanctification is ongoing with the Lord as our relationship grows with God.
While we are positionally holy (“set free from every sin” by the blood of Christ), we know that we still sin. We are not sinners but saints. We still sin, resulting in a sin habit.
It’s important to be about to know the difference so you don’t keep calling yourself a sinner when in fact you are a saint.
“Progressive” sanctification, as it is sometimes called, is the effect of obedience to the Word of God in one’s life. It is the same as growing in the Lord or spiritual maturity (spiritual growth).
Why You Should Prioritize Spiritual Growth
Spiritual growth is important for how we serve God, interact with other people, and take care of our families. Walking out spiritual growth means not holding offense, having forgiveness in our hearts, and loving those who can not offer us anything.
Hebrews 6:1 says, “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”
Through this scripture, we see we should be spiritually growing and become mature in Christ. We are to move beyond the elementary teachings and grow more like Christ every day.
Here are some of the reasons why spiritual growth is important:
- We want to be able to lead our families like Jesus
- We will need to know how to disciple other believers
- Knowing how to lead the lost to Christ
- Being equipped for every good work
- To see and experience the kingdom of God
- To discern what is good, right, pure, and true
What Are Signs of Spiritual Growth?
Here are signs to know you are spiritually growing:
- We are quick to find peace in a storm
- We live in hope
- We live from victory, not as victims
- We look for the good in people and not their faults
- We are the first to apologize and mean it
- We lead with love toward ourselves and others, not with shame
- We forgive versus holding grudges
- We are quick to wipe off offenses
- We are not afraid to give
- We find joy everyday and laugh more
A few other signs of spiritual growth are you are slow to speak, you recognize your opinion isn’t needed everywhere, and you don’t have to prove your point.
Spiritual growth is about taking up His cross daily. In this process, we emotionally heal and become mature in Christ.
Creating a Spiritual Growth Plan
- Set a time every day to be in the Word. Make it an appointment with the Lord like anything else you had to your schedule.
- Don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed. Reading something new is going to feel hard at first. However, don’t allow the enemy to keep you out of your Bible because you don’t understand it. We read to learn and understand.
- Ask for help and counsel regarding things you do not understand. It’s okay to ask for help when you need it.
- Follow a plan to read through the Bible but don’t allow it to be something you check off your list. Sometimes we need structure, but don’t let a plan be an end all be all situation. If you feel yourself getting bored with your reading plan, change it up.
- Journal through what you are learning to help retain what you are learning. After reading for the day, take a few moments to process with the Lord on paper.
Bible Verses on Spiritual Growth
The reason spiritual growth is important is that we are not called to remain the same. Paul says we are being renewed in the inner man day by day.
1 Corinthians 3:1-3
“But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now, you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
The analogy Paul is giving here refers to how infants can’t handle meat but have to feed on milk, so carnal Christians can’t abide by the strong meat of righteousness by faith. To live carnally is to live by our five senses.
When we don’t take our feelings to God, they become unchecked by the love and truth of God. This can block the power of God in our lives for spiritual growth.
2 Peter 3:18
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18
The Lord has already given us His grace (Titus 2:11 and John 1:16), but we can grow in our knowledge of it. Remember, all things that pertain unto life and godliness are given unto us through the knowledge of God, increasing our spiritual growth.
“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1-2
This is a list of what the writer called “the principles of the doctrine of Christ.” He was saying these are elementary things, and we need to go past these things to maturity.
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Colossians 2:6-7
Paul was likening growth in the Lord to a tree. The seed planted is just the first step for spiritual growth. Much growth has to take place before the tree is firmly established and able to withstand the elements. Likewise, Christians who just believe and don’t grow are in a vulnerable position.
2 Peter 1-5-8
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8
As we mature in the word of God, so do we, continue to grow in these areas listed by Peter. They continue to build upon each other for our spiritual growth.
“That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24
There is a constant tendency for Christians to display to the world that we really aren’t so different after all. This is usually a misguided effort to gain the world’s “respect” or approval. Our goal is not to look like the world or to be approved by the world. The Gentile walk is characterized by the futility of their mind. In the end, their thinking is futile because their understanding is darkened – because they are alienated from the life of God.
Want to go deeper, beyond these spiritual growth scriptures?
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