6 Secrets to Real Spiritual Growth

Wondering how to create a spiritual growth plan that leads to a closer relationship with God and more meaning, peace and purpose in your life?

I’ve been a Christian for over twenty three years, and God has taught me so much about spiritual growth. More than anything else, I’ve learned that Jesus wants you and me to grow spiritually at all times and in every season.

But how can we discern the areas where we need spiritual growth the most? What are the secrets to developing a personal spiritual growth plan that will allow us to experience God’s love, peace and joy on even deeper levels?

Let’s look at these spiritual growth plan secrets together–step by step.

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How to Make a Spiritual Growth Plan (6 Steps)

How can we find the true path to spiritual growth? First, I would encourage you to think through each of these spiritual growth plan steps below. Let God speak to you about the areas where He may want to help you find deeper spiritual growth. Ask Him to show you His unique plans for your spiritual growth in this season.

Step #1: Consider why spiritual maturity is important.

Growing closer to God is an important part of any Christian’s life. Let these reasons why spiritual maturity is so important compel you to make spiritual growth a priority in your life:

  • 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.

Ask yourself, “How may God be trying to grow me in my current life circumstances?” Here are some ideas to get your wheels turning:

  • Are there specific faith/trust issues with God that you need to work out?
  • Are you seeking more of certain spiritual principles (joy, peace, etc) in your life?
  • Are there specific character traits you need in your relationships (such as in parenting, marriage or friendships)?
  • Are there specific character traits you need for His specific calling for you in the world (either in your everyday ministry to others or in traditional forms of ministry)?
  • Are there areas about God or about the Bible that 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 study Bible with a Bible concordance (a concordance is an alphabetical list of topics with corresponding Bible verses on those topics).

I highly recommend a study Bible like this one (I use the New Living Translation, but feel free to use your preferred Bible translation):

Life Application Study Bible: New Living TranslationLife Application Study Bible: New Living Translation

Step #3: Determine what you really need to grow spiritually.

There’s nothing like a good women’s 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 spiritually 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.

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.

Before you decide to just join that next Bible study your church is offering, I challenge you to be still and listen to God speak to you about what you may really need during this season to grow spiritually.

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 how I need to grow) a little at a time through life’s trials.

His plans for me (and for you) are good. Isn’t that freeing? We can know that he loves us fully and completely, and because of that life-changing truth, we can be confident that every moment of our lives–even the most difficult moments–is an invitation to grow closer to Him.

Believing–beyond a shadow of doubt–that He works all things for good in my life brings lasting peace through the trials. Knowing that He’s orchestrating my life into His masterpiece makes me want to sacrifice where he tells me to and to let go of those things that are not best for me.

How can shifting our perspective on a difficult 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?

Recently, God has taught me so much about growing stronger spiritually through trials. Here are a few posts where I’ve shared some of what I’m learning:

Step #5: Recognize that growth comes a little at a time as we continue to seek God each day.

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 spiritual change 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 spiritual growth to trickle and build over time… kind of like a spiritual crock pot. (Yes, I just compared God’s work in our hearts to a slow cooker. But it makes sense, right?)

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.

My #1 Tip for Real Spiritual Growth

If you really want to know God and to grow deeper in a relationship with Him, the best way is to spend time with God every day through Bible reading and prayer. Many people call this a “quiet time,” and I’ve outlined how to have a daily quiet time with God in this post. 

I know it’s not new to say that spending time with God is the key to spiritual growth. However I’ve found  this sentiment to be absolutely, 100-percent true. And it’s been true for every Christian mentor I’ve ever admired or learned from.

If you’d like to learn more about how to have a daily quiet time (and discover my favorite Bible study method that makes it simple to understand and apply God’s word to your daily life), I highly recommend this post.

Other Posts to Help Your Spiritual Growth

How to Get Closer to God & to Know God Personally

How to Study the Bible for Yourself (Easy 5 Step Method)

23 Tips for a More Powerful Prayer Life

20 Encouraging Bible Verses About Joy

How to Have a Daily Quiet Time with God

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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