Does growing spiritually seem like a mystery or something reserved for “other people”?
You know that there’s got to be something more than just living for what this life offers, but you’re not sure how to get there. Maybe you even go to church on Sunday and pray before meals… but still you feel like something’s missing or lacking.
Friend, I want to tell you that what you’re feeling is not only normal, but it’s a beautiful invitation to grow deeper with God! God loves you and wants to show you the richest, fullest version of your life, and that comes through (imperfect) movement toward spiritual maturity.
Let me share with you five simple ways to discover your beautiful path toward spiritual growth, including some helpful resources and powerful scriptures that have changed my life.
Step #1: Consider why spiritual maturity is important.
- We are called to move beyond a basic, intro-level faith (Heb 5:11-14) and to not just “exist” but to “run to win” (1 Cor 9:24-27).
- We need to consistently move toward maturity if we want God’s deepest wisdom (Prov 2:1-11; Mark 4:24-25).
- Continual spiritual growth and connection with God is essential for us to best use the spiritual gifts God has given us (John 15:1-8).
- Jesus came to show us life to the full (John 10:10). “Life to the full” is an ongoing journey—not a one time event or “arrival.”
- Plainly speaking, God’s immeasurable love for us compels us to growth. (2 Cor 5:14-15)
Step #2: Prayerfully ask God to show you where you need growth.
Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning:
- specific faith/trust issues with God that you need to work out
- deeper life concepts you want more of (joy, peace, etc)
- character traits you need in your relationships (parenting, marriage, friendships, etc)
- character traits you need for His specific calling for you in the world (everyday ministry to others, or in traditional forms of ministry)
- areas about God or the Bible you want to learn more about
The best investment I’ve ever, ever made in my own personal growth time with God has been in a Bible concordance (an alphabetical list of topics with corresponding Bible verses on those topics).
Many study Bibles like this one and this one have concordances in the back, or you can buy a free-standing concordance in several different Bible versions.
Step #3: Determine what you really need to grow spiritually.
There’s nothing like a good Bible study to inspire and educate… or to lull you into a lovely Christian coma (yes, you read that right).
Don’t get me wrong—I firmly believe in the power of teaching from God’s Word (and am immeasurably grateful to those who have and who continue to pour into me year after year).
But I also know how easy it is for so many of us Christians to lurk silently in these Bible study groups as “consumers” instead of “doers” of the truth. We get lots of great teaching in these books or studies, and then when it’s complete, we move to the next study for lots more great teaching.
The cycle repeats over and over. … and we become fat and sassy instead of muscular and lean. I’ve certainly been there.
Honestly, some of my greatest spiritual growth moments have happened when I’ve prayerfully said no to joining that latest women’s Bible study and instead independently studied and implemented something completely unique that God wants to teach me.
And at the same time, I can name several dozen people whose godly teachings (through books, Bible studies or in-person discipleship) have directly influenced my growth toward my relationship with God.
Sometimes we don’t need to join another church group, to read another book or to pledge to listen to more sermons in order to have spiritual growth. And yet, sometimes those things are exactly what we need.
Friend, can we be real enough with each other to say that?
And can we be honest with ourselves enough to let God tell us what we really need?
Step #4: Accept that spiritual growth requires sacrifice and often comes at the most inconvenient times and in the most uncomfortable forms.
It’s been said that time is a great healer. It’s also a great teacher.
I’m learning to step back and enjoy God’s journey for my life. He reveals His truths (and my never-ending growth areas) a little at a time through life’s trials.
His plans for me (and for you) are good. Isn’t that freeing? That simple truth makes me want to sacrifice where he tells me to and give up those things that are not best for me.
How can shifting our perspective on a situation release the growth we desire? Instead of bemoaning our trials (which, trust me, I’m good at), how can we accept them as sacrificial-yet-joyful avenues to amazing spiritual transformation?
Step #5: Recognize that total spiritual maturity can never be reached in this lifetime, but growth comes in the balance of continual learning, listening and doing.
I’m an all-or-nothing kind of gal, and God has had to tame that part of me over the years (and he’s still doing the taming).
But if it were up to me, I’d want changes to come all at once, and to come in completion (no more of this “lifetime of perfecting” stuff).
However, our amazing God has taught me the merit of grace: grace for my own spiritual maturity and grace for the spiritual growth of others.
And most of all, He’s teaching me the joy of allowing the changes to trickle through and build over time.
We’re called to keep seeking truth, to keep staying open to His leading and to be quick to act when He calls us. Keeping these simple three things as my guide—learning, listening and doing—allow for these beautiful incremental changes to happen.
How to Make a Spiritual Growth Plan
First, I would encourage you to think through each of these steps, especially the scriptures mentioned. Process them. Get them in your heart. Let God speak to you through them. Let Him compel you not only for the reason for growth but for His unique plans for your growth in this season.
Second, make time every day to read the Bible and study God’s Word (here’s the simple method I practice and I teach to my kids). I do it first thing in the morning when the house is quiet (and honestly before I get distracted away to other things).
Third, just get started! Start small—even if it’s taking one word like “joy” and finding verses in the Bible on that topic. Read one verse a day and dissect it using a method like the one I mentioned above. P.S. You can even start with the list of 18 “joy” Bible verses I mention in this post, if you’d like!
P.P.S. If you’ve never started a spiritual journey like this with Jesus, I would love to share with you my testimony of how it can transform your life. I’m also here anytime to answer questions or provide helpful resources to get you started.
Other Posts on Growing Spiritually as a Christian:
Ready to grow? Awesome! I’m thrilled to walk besides you as a fellow sojourner on this amazing, ongoing path toward spiritual maturity! What will be your first steps toward spiritual growth? How can I pray for you as you grow spiritually?