What Are the Main Ways We Grow Spiritually?

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:13

How do we grow spiritually? What are the main ingredients of a flourishing Christian life? I hear these types of questions quite a bit and so I wanted to share with you a few helpful ideas. This list is not exhaustive, but I am praying that it inspires you to seek after God and to discover the joy of growing in Christlikeness.

ONE: Are you born again?

“A troubling reality in much of evangelical life is that convincing someone they are saved seems to take precedence over making sure someone actually is saved. This must change. Somehow questioning another person’s salvation became taboo in evangelical culture, when it could possibly be one of the most loving things you can do for another; it could mean the difference between seeds that sprout and bloom and seeds that are snatched away.” -Dean Inserra, The Unsaved Christian: Reaching Cultural Christianity with the Gospel

It really must start by asking and answering this question; do you know Jesus? Cultural Christianity is such a huge problem which means that many people who are merely religious are assuming that they know Jesus. Not long ago I met with a lady who had been in the church on a regular basis for over 50 years and yet she was not sure if she had a personal relationship with Jesus. If you want to learn more about the problems of Cultural Christianity go HERE.

A person who is saved at some point in time in their life has been faced with a tremendous crisis. Here is the crisis each person who is ultimately saved must face. There is a point in time when you realize that you are a sinner and separated from God (Ephesians 2:1). If you truly get this it will cause you to become deeply concerned about the security of your soul. The second thing that will happen is you will begin to understand that the only way out of your distress is through the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. 2 Corinthians 5:21 does a great job summarizing the heart of the gospel. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Once you begin to understand who Jesus is and what he has done you are utterly amazed that he came to this earth to die on a cross in your place so that you might have eternal life. You respond by doing what Jesus says in Mark 1:15, you believe in Jesus and repent of your sins. This belief is not mere mental assent about who Jesus is. It is trusting in Jesus and believing that he alone is the way to a eternal relationship with God. Have you had this saving encounter with Jesus?

TWO: Read, study, and meditate on the Bible

I might just tell you that it is really important to read your Bible on a daily basis. Let me be direct, you will never grow spiritually if you are not reading God’s Word. But I also want to give you a few tools to help you with this.

HERE are some study guides from Crossway that will do a great job of helping you to dig into different books of the Bible. You can use these guides for personal use or in a group study.

HERE is a link to a number of different Bible reading plans.

I would definitely encourage you to read through books of the Bible. The Holy Spirit is the one who put the books together and there are themes and truths that you will not discover if you are merely jumping from one random text to another.

THREE: Pray

“Prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.” – E.M Bounds

I don’t think there is just one right way of praying.

Pray while driving to work.

Pray while doing chores around the house.

Pray throughout the day (a quiet ongoing conversation).

We can (and should) pray throughout the day but I would strongly encourage you to find a daily time that you get alone to spend time with God. I know with a busy life and kids this is not easy, but it is vitally when it comes to your spiritual growth.

FOUR: Critical question, are there areas of your life where you are stuck? Areas you have not dealt with or surrendered to God?

“The Christian who has stopped repenting has stopped growing.” – John Blanchard

I think this is an area that often times gets overlooked. It happens on a fairly regular basis that I am talking to someone and they begin to tell me that they don’t feel like they are growing spiritually. Many times as we are talking I find that the person has an area of their life that is not fully surrendered to the Lord. Maybe it’s not sin, maybe it is a poor understanding of the Word of God.

Maybe by asking questions I can help you understand the many ways that we can get stuck spiritually.

Is there unresolved anger in your life? Instead of dealing with it you find that it is keeping you from God and relationships with other people?

Are you stuck in a habitual sin that is robbing you of your joy? Are there areas of your life that you are making spiritual compromises? This leads to us quenching and grieving the Holy Spirit. “Do not quench the Spirit.” -1 Thessalonians 5:19

Have you made the mistake of distancing yourself from the church?

Have you begin to accept the lie that lukewarm Christianity is kinda normal and just not that big of a deal?

Do you look at your family, friends, and other people in the church and come to the conclusion that you are not that much different from them so maybe you are OK?

Have you been abused (spiritually, physically, physically) and have never truly dealt with it? I know from 20 years of pastoral ministry that if we don’t name these areas of hurt and pain and walk through it with the hope of the gospel that we run the risk of staying stuck spiritually. Often times this means that we fail to see all the negative ways we have been trying to cope with our trauma.

Is there ongoing sexual sin in your life? (porn, lust, sexual immorality, etc?)

If all of these questions feel overwhelming then boil it down to this, is there an area of your life that you simply have not dealt with and the result is that you have become spiritually plateaued?

FIVE: Get involved in deep relationships with other brothers and sisters in Christ

This is the one that so many Christians think they can do without. From Genesis to Revelation it is clear that God designed his sons and daughters to be in deep relationships with other believers in the church. HERE you will find me responding to the unbiblical idea that we don’t need the church to be a Christian.

We need to be in relationships with other people where they know who we really are, our strengths and weaknesses, and they have the green light to speak truth into our life. At New Life Church we encourage relationships by getting involved in Life Groups and D Groups. We definitely need other Christians in our life if we want to become more like Jesus.

SIX: Attend church on a regular basis

“Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” -Hebrews 10:25

So number five was about getting into deep, messy relationships with others in the church. This one is about gathering together for worship and the proclamation of the Word of God as the collective body of Christ. We really have to fight against the individualism that is so rampant in our culture. Allow me to borrow a story about Charles Spurgeon that helps explain the importance of gathering with the church on a regular basis.

“Pastor Charles Spurgeon once visited a man who had not attended his church for some time. The man said he was still a Christian but didn’t think he needed to go to church. Without saying a word, Pastor Spurgeon took the tongs from the fireplace and removed one coal, setting it in the corner of the fireplace away from the others. It soon went out. The man got the message: The coals in a fire need each other to stay hot, and Christians need the fellowship of other Christians and the ministry of the Word to keep them spiritually hot!”

SEVEN: Listen to worship music during the week

I used to grumble about the state of Christian music. I complained that there is so little quality Christian music. Truth be told it can be hard to find excellent Christian music that you enjoy, but it does exist. I will share this with you, I know that I am going through a dry spiritual season when I am not listening to worship music throughout the week.

Rivers and Robots-Burn For You

My musical taste may not be yours but I do think incorporating worship/Christian music into your daily life will sweeten your walk with Christ.

What will your response be to this blog post?

“22 Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. 23 For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror, 24 and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the one who looks intently into the perfect law of freedom, and continues to do so—not being a forgetful hearer, but an effective doer—he will be blessed in what he does.” -James 1:22-25

Merely reading this article without take steps of obedience is pointless. Take a moment right now and reflect on what you need to do to deepen your spiritual life.

I would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment!

1 Comment

  1. Diane Peterson says:

    ❤️ this!!

    Liked by 1 person

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