The 3 Key Elements of Spiritual Growth

There is much mysticism behind the term “spiritual growth,” but true spiritual growth begins with faith in Jesus Christ. God longs to have a deeper and deeper relationship with us and He provided His son Jesus as an access point so that we could freely enter into this beautiful union.

So why is it that we aren’t immediately changed the minute we become a born again as a Christian? Much like the first time you were born, you were given life but it took time to learn how to walk, talk, ride a bike, respect others, share, etc.

The same is true for your spiritual growth. During your salvation your spirit became one with His but your soul needs to catch up. Your soul consists of your mind, your will and your emotions. All of these need to be renewed (Romans 12:2, Eph 4:23).

And just like any other relationship, it takes work and time to draw closer to our Heavenly Father.

Whether you are newly born again or have been walking this spiritual walk for decades, there are three key elements that every believer needs in order to grow spiritually. They are:

Understanding

To grow spiritually you need to grow in your understanding of God’s Word as well as His character. As you begin to develop your understanding you should be learning more about these key areas:

  • God’s love:

    We understand love most often from a phileo or eros sense, because we are so sense oriented. These kinds of love are conditional. But God’s love is unlimited and unconditional. It’s agape love, the most wondrous, sacrificial, highest form of love.

  • God’s timing and ways:

    “God’s ways are far above our ways, His thoughts far above our thoughts” (Isaiah 55:80. When you begin to understand that God’s ways and timing are far superior to ours, you begin to trust the sovereignty of His power.

  • Your purpose:

    God has given us all a purpose that is two fold—to spread His Word, and to understand the unique gifts He has bestowed upon you and use them for His glory.

  • Your strongholds:

    These are the areas where you easily get tripped up. You must understand where you have a propensity to sin, otherwise you will likely get snared.

  • Discipline:

    You need discipline to grow regardless of your natural or spiritual age. When you allow yourself to be corrected, instructed, warned and chastened, it is a sign of true spiritual growth.

Development

Having an understanding of God and His ways is wonderful, but it doesn’t end there. God also calls us to develop, particularly in these areas:

  • Habits:

    What needs to be cultivated (sown) and what needs to be excavated (pulled) from your life? Habits to be developed may be repentance, forgiveness, giving and compassion. Bad habits that need to be pulled include dishonesty, pride and striving.

  • Fruit of the spirit:

    Galatians 5:22-23 tells us “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” These are the only things we as Christians should be striving for.

  • Skills:

    Just as we need to improve our skills in the natural world, spiritual growth comes from developing spiritual skills, such as listening to God, discernment and wisdom.

  • Relationship:

    Other people are another source of the grace of God. The Christian who is not deeply connected to others as well as to God is not a complete Christian.

  • Discipline:

    You need discipline to grow regardless of your natural or spiritual age. When you allow yourself to be corrected, instructed, warned and chastened, it is a sign of true spiritual growth.

Design

You need a plan for how you are going to discover and develop in your spiritual growth. The following are daily habits that will draw you closer to God and further along in your spiritual growth:

  • Reading His Word:

    Above all else, this is the main way God speaks to you. I used to pray a lot and learn about Him from others, but when I began to dig into His word for myself true spiritual growth took place.

  • Prayer Time:

    Prayer isn’t a fancy set of words, it’s a conversation with God. He longs to hear from you and to speak to you too.

  • Spreading the gospel:

    As Matthew 5:14-16 tells us, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

  • Baptism:

    Baptism by water is an outward sign of an inward act. It signifies that your old life is dead and a new life has risen in its place. Baptism is not a requirement for salvation, but we are called to be baptized and to baptize others. When you accepted Christ, the Holy Spirit came to dwell in you. Baptism by fire is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This baptism enables you to release His power in your life. Both are essential for spiritual growth.