What does the Bible say about spiritual growth?
As soon as we put our trust in the blood of Christ, the spiritual growth process begins. The Holy Spirit begins to work in us and transform us. We become less like the world and more like Christ. The Spirit helps us to overcome sin and deny the flesh.
Spiritual growth glorifies God in many ways. Here are a couple. First, it glorifies God because we see how God is working in us.
He’s making beautiful diamonds out of us. Second, it glories God because as we grow and the love of God works in us we want to glorify God more. We want to honor Him with our life.
Spiritual growth is centered around Christ. You must trust in Christ, focus on Christ, pray that God conforms you into the image of Christ, and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to yourself daily.
Christian quotes about spiritual growth
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
“God didn’t bring you this far to leave you.”
“Conviction should actually grow throughout our Christian lives. In fact, one sign of spiritual growth is an increased awareness of our sinfulness.” Jerry Bridges
“Pray hardest when it’s hardest to pray.”
“As Christians grow in holy living, they sense their own inherent moral weakness and rejoice that whatever virtue they possess flourishes as the fruit of the Spirit.”
“Each stage of the believer’s walk possesses its particular hazard. The new life within us wages a constant war against all which opposes its growth. During the physical stage, it is a war against sins; in the soulish phase, it is a battle against the natural life; and lastly, on the spiritual level, it is an onslaught against the supernatural enemy.” Watchman Nee
“Becoming like Christ is a long, slow process of growth.”
“No true believer is completely satisfied with his spiritual progress. Under the illuminating, sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit, all of us are aware of the areas in our lives that still need to be refined and disciplined for the sake of godliness. In fact, the more we mature, the more capable we are of spotting the sin that still remains in our hearts.”John MacArthur
“The stiff and wooden quality about our religious lives is a result of our lack of holy desire. Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.” A. W. Tozer
“Adversity is not simply a tool. It is God’s most effective tool for the advancement of our spiritual lives. The circumstances and events that we see as setbacks are oftentimes the very things that launch us into periods of intense spiritual growth. Once we begin to understand this, and accept it as a spiritual fact of life, adversity becomes easier to bear.” Charles Stanley
“Spiritual maturity is neither instant nor automatic; it is gradual, progressive development that will take the rest of your life.” – Rick Warren
“And so all growth that is not towards God Is growing towards decay.” George MacDonald
“Spiritual maturity is not reached by the passing of the years, but by obedience to the will of God.” Oswald Chambers
I am tired of people judging people’s spirituality by knowledge.
That is how we think. This is a great man of God he knows so much about the Word. Knowledge can be evidence of spiritual growth, but there are times when it has nothing to do with growth. There are many people who know and never grow.
I’ve run across many people who are a walking Bible, but they can’t do simple basic things such as forgive. They know so much about the Bible, but they don’t love, they are prideful, they are mean, the things that they do know, they don’t put it to use. This is a heart of a Pharisee. You can know all about God and still not know God. Many people love theology more than God Himself and this is idolatry.
1. Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
2. Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.”
We can think of spiritual growth just like growing up.
There are things you used to do as a child that you can’t and won’t do anymore. On your Christian walk of faith, there were habits that you used to do that you don’t do. I will share a few things. When I first got saved, I still listened to ungodly worldly music and watched Rated R movies that had sex in it, a lot of cursing, etc. As time went on, these things started to affect me more and more.
My heart became burdened. It took a while, but God started to remove these things from my life. I grew up. These things were part of my old life and I was trying to bring it to my new life, but it wouldn’t fit. God is realer to me than things of the world.
I will share something else. I used to purposely buy clothes that would show off my body more. God spoke to me and even as a Christian man, we need to show modesty and not try to cause others to stumble. It took me a while to understand that, but as time went on I knew I wasn’t giving God glory because I had wrong motives. Now I buy better fitting clothes. I believe modesty is a huge part of Christian maturity especially for women because it reveals a godly heart vs a worldly heart.
3. 1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
4. 1 Peter 2:1-3 “So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
5. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 “Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly–mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?”
Many people think that when you become saved you enter into a state of perfection.
If that’s the case then how does God work in us for the next 40+ years? He would have nothing to work on. I watched some mean open air preachers preach this message. They are hindering people. I wake up in the morning and I don’t give God the glory He deserves, I don’t love how I should love, my eyes focus on things that they shouldn’t focus on. These are all sins.
Scripture says to love God with all your heart and none of us have been able to accomplish this. Jesus is all we have. Where would I be without Christ? I desire to, but I can’t do these things. My only hope is in Jesus Christ. I struggled with sin so much that I prayed for the Lord to give me full assurance of my salvation and after a while of praying for that He gave it to me.
I believe obtaining full assurance of salvation is evidence of spiritual growth. I believe having a greater sense of your sinfulness before a Holy God is evidence of spiritual growth. When we have a greater sense of our sinfulness we don’t depend on ourselves. When you get closer to the light of God the light starts to shine on more sin.
We are wretched and we know that all we have is Christ and if Christ didn’t die for us then we have no hope. When you truly rely upon the blood of Christ you receive strength in your struggles that you never had before.
6. Romans 7:22-25 “For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.”
7. 1 John 1:7-9 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Many true Christians ask, “why am I not growing? Why is God not working in my life?”
Who says that you are not growing? Who says that God is not working in your life? I believe the fact that you ask this question shows that you are growing. You might not see it, but you are growing.
Don’t you see, the simple fact that you think that you are not growing because you struggle with sin shows that you are growing. The fact that you care about this matter and it burdens you means something. In the beginning did it matter to you? Don’t judge your spiritual condition by the zeal you once had and the extreme closeness you had with God when you were first saved.
In the beginning you were fresh out the womb, God revealed to you in so many ways that He was there. Now that you are getting older in Christ, He’s still by your side, but now you have to walk by faith. You’re not a baby anymore. Now you have to walk on His Word. When I was first saved I didn’t think I was that bad of a sinner. Now daily I’m seeing my sin and it burdens me and it drives me to prayer.
Sometimes I feel backsliden. The devil tries to condemn you. We are saved by faith. This is not for the person who has no care in their bones and wants to live in sin. This is for those who struggle with sin and want to be more. Just because you don’t pray like you used to and you don’t see victory in that particular sin that doesn’t mean that God is not working in you.
Sometimes you never realize it. Sometimes you are going to be in a situation and God is going to bring out fruit in you that shows He was working. Sometimes the continuous thirst for righteousness and a passion for Christ shows that He is working.
8. Philippians 1:6 “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
9. Philippians 2:13 “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”
There is no denying that many people are just not growing because they are not saved.
First, we must understand that there is a worldly sorrow and a godly sorrow. A worldly sorrow never leads to change. The Bible makes it clear that you can’t lose your salvation, but many were never saved to begin with. There is no such thing as a Christian who lives a life of sin. There is a difference between struggling and taking advantage of God’s grace and rebelling.
There are many professing Christians who say, “it’s my life.” No! It’s never been your life. Jesus is the Lord of your life whether you like it or not. There is a difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. It doesn’t matter how much someone claims to be a Christian if they are bearing bad fruit that shows that they are not born again. Christians have a new relationship with sin. Sin affects us now. We have new desires for Christ and His Word.
If you are living a lifestyle of sin. If the blood of Christ hasn’t changed the center of your life that is evidence that you are deceiving yourself. I believe most church goers believe they are Christian when they are not. They have never repented of their wickedness.
Many people think they are growing spiritually because of their godly activities. They go to church, they are in the choir, they go to Bible study, they preach, they evangelize, etc. The Pharisees did the same thing, but they weren’t saved. I know preachers who died, but they didn’t know the Lord. Have you repented?
10. Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”
11. 1 John 3:9-10 “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”
12. 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
13. Galatians 5:22-24 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
Some people grow slower than others.
Never look at someone else’s growth and become discouraged. Some believers grow faster than others and some grow slower than others. It’s not about how fast you grow. The question is are you going to get up and keep moving?
Are you going to let discouragement and your failures keep you down? Evidence of true faith is that you keep on fighting. Sometimes a believer goes three steps forward and one step back. Sometimes a believer goes two steps back and one step forward.
There are ups and downs, but a believer will grow. A believer will press on. Sometimes we can become dull and be overwhelmed. Sometimes a true believer backslides, but if they are truly for the Lord out of love God will bring them to repentance.
14. Job 17:9 “The righteous keep moving forward, and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.”
15. Proverbs 24:16 “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again, but the wicked stumble into calamity.”
16. Psalm 37:24 “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.”
17. Hebrews 12:5-7 “And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly or faint when you are reproved by Him, for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?”
Everything that you go through God uses to conform you into the image of Christ.
Do you have an unsubmissive wife? Glory to God. Do you have an inconsiderate husband? Glory to God. Do you have a bad boss? Glory to God. These are all opportunities that God has blessed you with to grow. God’s great goal is to conform you into the image of Christ and nothing will thwart His plans.
How can we expect to grow in the fruits of the Spirit such as patience, kindness, and joy when we are not put in a situation that requires these things? There is something about trials and pain that makes us change. Even in weightlifting more weights equals more pain and more pain from more weights results in more muscles. God uses trials for His glory.
When you’re growing spiritually you want to give God more glory. You want to give Him glory in the trials. You become more patient when you are waiting on an answered prayer. You become more merciful when you have to give mercy to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Through these things you become just like the God you worship.
18. Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
19. James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
20. Romans 5:3-5 “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
If you mean business, God means business.
God is going to do some pruning in your life. Sometimes God takes away things because it served its purpose and He has something better in mind. When God takes away know that He is building you. Whenever you lose a relationship, job, etc. know that God works through that to conform us into the image of Christ.
21. John 15:2 “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
22. John 13:7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
Do you want more boldness in your life? Do you want to grow?
You have to get closer to the Lord. You have to remove things that are distracting you and align your heart back to Christ. You have to take your Bible and shut yourself away with the Lord. You have to be alone with Him in prayer. You’re as spiritual as you want to be. Do you hunger for Christ? Find a lonely place and pray for more of His presence. Seek His face. Focus on Him.
Sometimes we have to say, “God I want to know you.” You must build an intimate relationship with Christ. This relationship is built on special alone time. There are some people who have killed themselves praying 10 hours a day. They know God in ways that we will never know Him. How do you think John The Baptist was able to raise a dead nation? He was alone with God for years.
When you’re alone with God for years the presence of God will be on your life. You will be more bold. If you’re not reading the Bible and praying daily you will die spiritually and you will have no power against sin. I remember when I first got saved I had no boldness in my life.
I was afraid to pray together in groups and I was afraid to witness. After a long time with God alone, leading prayer was easy for me. I had more of a burden for the lost to witness and I wasn’t afraid. Sometimes I can still be a little nervous, but the Holy Spirit drives me.
23. Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
24. Mark 1:35 “Early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up and slipped out to a solitary place to pray.”
25. Romans 15:4-5 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus.”
God’s not done with you yet.
For those who have repented and put their trust in Jesus Christ alone, their salvation is sealed by the Holy Spirit. God will continue to work in your life until the end. Don’t look back, move on, and don’t give up because God hasn’t given up on you. You will see His glory and you will see how God used different situations for good.
John 15:4-5 “Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.”