If you are new to the Christian faith, or perhaps you’ve been a Christian for sometime but you feel like you aren’t making any progress and you know it could be better, then this post is for you. Right here, you’ll learn what it takes to grow spiritually. If you diligently apply these principles, your progress is sure.
One of my favorite meals is yam porridge. I’m talking about a well-garnished yam porridge with a good amount of palm oil (I know too much palm oil isn’t good, so I take it once in a while). If I’m to prepare yam porridge, I’d need some raw yam, palm oil, onions, pepper, green vegetables, and seasonings.
So, it’s safe to say that I can produce yam porridge from some raw yam. It’s also safe to say that I can produce yam porridge from palm oil, or from pepper, or from green vegetables, or any other required ingredient. But where the error comes in is when I say that I can produce yam porridge from raw yam alone, or from palm oil alone.
Do you see that although each ingredient is important, it cannot act independently of the other ingredients to produce yam porridge? All the ingredients have to be combined before we can get the desired result.
In the same way, the Bible gives us different keys to spiritual growth. But these keys don’t work independently of one another. They all work together to bring about our spiritual growth.
Before I continue, what exactly does it mean to grow spiritually?
Well, just like a natural newborn baby would have to go through the process of growth before he can become a fully grown man, so also a new Christian would have to go through spiritual growth in other to become spiritually mature.
The more a Christian grows spiritually, the more like Christ he becomes. A Christian can be said to be spiritually mature when he becomes a lot like Christ.
until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, Ephesians 4:13
If you are not yet a Christian, then you can’t experience what we are talking about because being born again is the starting point- it marks the beginning of the new life. If you are willing to surrender your life to Christ and be born again, click here.
Having established that, what then are the Biblical keys to growing spiritually?
- Consistent Feeding on the Word of God
32 And now I commend you to God and to the Word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Acts 20:32
As food is to the natural man, so is the Word of God to the Christian. It is essential, not only to help you grow spiritually, but also for your survival. The word of God is indispensable in the life of a Christian. Any Christian who does not consistently feed on the Word of God will eventually fall prey to the devil.
The major source of the Word of God is the Bible. Studying the Bible by the guidance of the Holy Spirit will open you up to the raw, undiluted Word of God.
You can also feed on the word of God by reading Christian books (by trusted authors), listening to sermons (by trusted preachers), attending Bible study meetings, watching trusted Christian movies, listening to Christian music etc, but none of these should take the place of your personal Bible study. They should only complement it.
Why do I say so? Because the Bible is what you use to perform the litmus test for the genuine Christian books, sermons, music etc. Any book or sermon or movie or music which contradicts the scriptures is false and you must flee from such.
To help with your Bible Study, you can make use of good devotionals or bible reading plans. Some of the devotionals I use are Seeds of Destiny by Dr. Paul Enenche, and Open Heavens Daily Devotional by pastor E.A Adeboye. I get my Bible reading plans from the YouVersion Bible app. There are so many categories of plans you can pick from.
2. Consistent Praying (especially in the Spirit)
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Jude 1:20
4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 1 Corinthians 14:4
The Bible clearly tells us that praying in the tongues builds us up. It’s just like exercise. Have you ever observed the body a man who works out? You will agree with me that he is well built. Such a person cannot be easily defeated in a fight, right?
It’s the same way in Christianity. Praying consistently in tongues is like a spiritual exercise that builds you up. Now, the devil always tries to bring Christians down. He tries to cause us to sin. He wages war in our minds. Life in itself is war, and it takes spiritual stamina to remain standing in the midst of opposition from the devil.
Praying in tongues gives you this stamina. It is an indispensable secret that’ll enable you grow spiritually. For more information about praying in tongues, please read up the Praying in Tongues series by Joan Akob.
3. Making Deliberate Effort
No matter how much you pray to get something, if you don’t make effort to achieve that thing, you will never have it, because faith without works is dead.3.
4 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14
You can pray all you want, but if you don’t consciously decide to grow, if you don’t make the conscious effort to apply what you’ve learned from the scriptures, you will not grow. I’ve personally come across tongue-speaking Christians who are still spiritual babies. I believe one of the reasons they haven’t grown is because they haven’t made effort to.
41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation…” Matthew 26:41
Notice that in the above scripture, Jesus didn’t say ‘Pray and just sit and fold your arms. The word, ‘Watch’ is very important.
So, you wake up in the morning, and study your Bible and pray, and then you delve into the day’s activities. On your way out, someone mistakenly steps on your brand new shoes, and instead of apologizing, the person begins to insult you and ask you questions like ‘Are you blind?’ You clench your fist because it’s taking everything in you not to slap this person so hard that he’d end up in a hospital.
But you remember that the Bible says ‘In your anger, do not sin’. You’re still agitated. The desire to retaliate is still there, but you make the conscious effort not to. You take a deep breath and then the Holy Spirit reminds you that the Bible says we should strive to be at peace with all men.
The Holy Spirit then tells you to apologize. That’s extremely difficult, but you make the conscious effort to swallow your pride. You apologize and walk away, leaving the person staring in surprise.
This is what it means to make a conscious effort to grow. Making conscious effort also means intentionally applying what we learn from the Bible to our daily lives. Do this, and watch yourself grow spiritually. There are many other examples, but you get the point, right?
4. Fellowship With Other Christians
No Christian can exist as an island. God has designed Christianity in such a way that we’ll be interdependent on one another. Every born-again Christian is automatically part of the body of Christ and can’t survive independent of the other parts. The eye cannot survive outside the body, neither can the nose, or mouth, or any other part of the body.
As Christians, we are obligated to fellowship with other Christians. This was an obvious characteristic of the early Church.
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
The Bible tells us not to forsake the assembly of believers.
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25
No part of the body will grow if cut off from the rest of the body. In the same vein, no Christian can grow spiritually if he cuts himself off from other Christians. Find a good Church where you can fellowship with other Christians, and be dedicated. To know a good Church, observe and see if their teachings and activities are consistent with the things you read in your Bible. If they are contradictory, please run away and never return!
5. Being Under Spiritual Authority
The Bible tells us that God has given certain people the ministerial gifts required for the building up of the church.
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Ephesians 4:11-14
This means that if we are to grow spiritually, we need to be under the ministry of these people. To be under the ministry of these people, we need to go to Church for fellowship, right? This further buttresses the fact that a Christian must fellowship with other Christians.
6. Choosing Your Friends Wisely
Believe it or not, there is an extremely high tendency for you to be influenced by your friends. You’ll either be influenced negatively or positively, depending on the kinds of friends you keep. If you want to grow spiritually, you must move with people with like minds. People who encourage and motivate you to press on, not people who will quench your fire.
Examine your friends and see if they are people who are unserious about the things of God, and take the bold, yet hard decision to cut them off. Let’s examine what the Bible tells us about the kind of friends to keep.
20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20
33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
4 I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. 5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. Psalms 26:4-5
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. Psalms 1:1
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14
The above scriptures emphasize the importance of the friends we keep. Proverbs 27:17 particularly speaks about the kinds of friends that can help you grow spiritually.
17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17
Iron must be friends with Iron, not wood, plastic, or any low-class material. If Iron keeps sharpening wood, it’ll eventually get blunt. So also, believers must be friends with believers. Not just people who bear the name ‘Christian’ but whose actions betray the name. No, I’m talking about genuine Christians. Ask God to give you good friends and help you do away with friends. If He helped me, He will surely help you.
7. Receiving Help From God
No matter how strong and determined you are, the truth remains that you can’t achieve anything without God’s help.
5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
1 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. 2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalms 127:1-2
9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. 1 Samuel 2:9
You’re probably excited about what you’ve read, and you’re already telling yourself that you’re going to start implementing these things, but the truth is you can’t do it by yourself. If the help of God is absent, you will fail.
I’ll never forget what it took me to build the discipline of praying consistently. I’d go to church and hear a beautiful sermon and feel so determined and excited to develop the habit of praying. I’d go back home and probably pray for the next one or two days. One week later, I’m back to where I was before the service. Now I realise that all of that happened because my strength couldn’t sustain.
So, I began to ask God for help, I prayed for grace to build the habit of praying consistently. God heard and answered me, and now, I can proudly say, that my prayer life is much better than how it was then. Asking God for help wasn’t the only thing I did. It was asking God for help and at the same time playing my part that brought about the result.
God says that if we ask, we will receive.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
Why don’t you just close your eyes and ask God for the grace to implement all that you’ve learned? And ask Him to help you grow spiritually.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29
7 But the Lord GOD helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame. Isaiah 50:7
I pray for you today, that God will grant you grace to practice all that you’ve heard.