5 Steps Toward Real Spiritual Growth


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).
  • 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.


VIDEO: 3 Secrets to Ongoing Spiritual Growth


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 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 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. I do it first thing in the morning when the house is quiet (and honestly before I get distracted away to other things).

If you’re having trouble finding the time, understand first that this is normal!

Can I suggest a resource that makes it possible for even the busiest women to grow spiritually… in only a few minutes a day?

I told you previously about the Christ-Centered Easter Womens Resources–a wonderful 12-day Bible study, devotional and mini-journal that brings true spiritual refreshment in only five to ten minutes a day.

I really believe they’re a great place to start if your time is limited!



These resources really are about “rebirth” and Christ-centered “replenishment,” so honestly, you could go through this any time of the year.

They also include the most beautiful home decor pieces–just for inspiration! I used clothespins to hang my five 5 x 5 inspirational prints as a banner.


I created these resources because so many of us yearn for true spiritual growth, but don’t have time to do a long study.

If you want a great kickstart to your spiritual growth, these women’s resources really are perfect (especially if you’re a busy mom)!



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:

18 Bible Verses About Joy

The Life Truth That Changes Everything (and I Do Mean Everything)

5 Step Method for Kids Personal Bible Study Time (with Free Bookmark Craft Printable)

About Alicia Michelle

As a wife and mom to four passionate kids, Alicia Michelle loves encouraging other moms with practical tips for joy-filled living in everyday life, especially in parenting, marriage, faith and health.Alicia is the owner/editor of Your Vibrant Family; the author of Plan to Be Flexible, The Back to School Survival Manual; and the creator/producer of the "7 Days to a Less Angry Mom Online Video Course,", Christ-Centered Christmas Resources and My Memory Box Organizing System. In addition, she is a monthly contributor for several popular family blogs, including Crosswalk.com.Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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Leave a Reply 8 comments

Susan Evans - January 8, 2016 Reply

Beautiful post! Yes, often we learn more one-on-one with God, living out the Truth, rather than continually consuming more Bible studies.

    Alicia Michelle - January 9, 2016 Reply

    Hi Susan! Thank you for sharing! I’d agree–spiritual learning can take many forms and doesn’t have to be just about getting “more” Bible studies. I think spiritual growth can come when we honestly ask ourselves, “What do I REALLY need to change?” God is so good to teach us in one-on-one ways–whether through an “official” study or independently.

Dawnita - January 12, 2016 Reply

Excellent post. This is so important. That “Hunger & thirst for righteousness…” is a special place to be, but it’s not easy.

    Alicia Michelle - January 13, 2016 Reply

    Hi Dawnita! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Hungering and thirsting for righteousness comes at a cost, doesn’t it? It means that we must say no to something else in order to have that great fire for God. It also means that we’re longing and searching for more, which of course is not an easy place to live (as you noted). But God tells us that this type of hunger is what brings us to the full and happy life! Praying for you today as you seek that path as well!

Holly Brown - January 14, 2016 Reply

This is an excellent post! I REALLY want to feature it tomorrow for our next round of the Grace & Truth link-up but the rules state there needs to be a link-back to one of us hostesses. I don’t see a link-back anywhere, unless I’m totally missing it. I’ll check back later. I adore this post, that’s for sure, good words of gospel truth here!

    Alicia Michelle - January 14, 2016 Reply

    Hi Holly! Thank you so much!!! I’m so glad you found it encouraging! I just added the link-back to the post, so yes, I’d love to be featured at Grace & Truth this week. Thank you again! Look forward to seeing it!

jehava - July 26, 2016 Reply

Really great post! Everyone who loves Jesus should read this! Thanks for sharing!

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