When our spirit is awakened by a connection to Jesus, it changes every part of our lives!
Because our spiritual health is directly related to our relationship with God, there is no exact formula to spiritual growth. But I have found some keys on how to grow spiritually that have helped me enjoy a closer walk with God.
When I was young, I loved God and desired to do the right things and please Him. What I didn’t do was seek keys to spiritual growth. I was more focused on seeking keys to fun and escaping the wrath and disappointment of God.
I have learned that the keys to spiritual growth are not found following some real or imagined checklist; the key is following Jesus and seeking a close relationship with the creator of the world who loves us so much He died to give us new life.
Spiritual growth reminds me of the Katrina rose bush in my backyard. It is a beautiful flowering vine that many of my friends have growing in their yards. The rose’s beauty inspired me to write a story about its origin.
I planted my Katrina rose several years ago anticipating the same results as my friends’ beautiful flowering vines. But my plant isn’t growing, blooming, or thriving. I am tempted to compare my plant’s growth to others or pull it out of the ground and give up.
I have to admit my expectations are unfair because I haven’t invested the time, money, or attention to help my rose be all that it was designed for. It takes the right amount of sun, water, nutrients, and pruning for a Katrina rose to experience growth and bloom its gorgeous flowers.
Our spiritual growth requires intentional care too; a deep desire to know Jesus and emulate His life.
“Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that does not produce fruit. He also trims every branch that produces fruit to prepare it to produce even more. You have already been prepared to produce more fruit by the teaching I have given you. Stay joined to me and I will stay joined to you. No branch can produce fruit alone. It must stay connected to the vine. It is the same with you. You cannot produce fruit alone.”
John 15:1-4 ERV
Just like a newly planted rose bush requires attention, there are things we need to do in order to learn how to grow spiritually. When we find and follow keys to spiritual growth, we can blossom with the gorgeous fruits of the spirit.
A key unlocks a door and gives us access. When we obtain the keys to spiritual growth we unlock the greatest door there is…a life in the presence of God!
What does the Bible Say About Spiritual Growth?
When we take a look at what does the Bible say about Spiritual growth, we realize growth is a critical aspect of our Christian walk that draws us closer to God and the freedom He offers.
Our spiritual growth is not what saves us or earns us God’s love. Our growth is a product of spiritual transformation that comes from a decision to follow and seek Christ.
The Bible says we are saved by God’s grace and because of His grace, out of overwhelming love and gratitude, we seek to grow spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.
What does the Bible say about spiritual growth? Growing spiritually is the most important, gratifying challenge that leads to growth in every other area of our lives.
When we chose to stay spiritually stagnant, we miss the opportunity to experience a divine, close relationship with the king of kings, Jesus.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”
2 Timothy 3:16-17 NLT
What are the Elements of Spiritual Growth?
If we examine ourselves and discover signs of spiritual growth it encourages us to continue to grow closer to God and experience more change in our life.
On the other hand, if we are struggling with spiritual fatigue, we can become discouraged and give up; it helps to remember spiritual growth is not a contest and God is not standing above us judging how we do each day.
When we show signs of spiritual growth it is because of deepening love for Christ and a desire to become more like Him.
Here are 8 elements of spiritual growth I have witnessed and experienced; not perfect and not all of the time. But when we understand and practice elements of spiritual growth, it helps us move in the right direction.
What are the elements of spiritual growth?
- We become more selfless
- We adjust how we spend our time
- We become more generous with our resources
- We pursue peace instead of chaos
- We choose and are willing to forgive
- We experience a deepening connection in relationships
- We spend more time with God in prayer and worship
- We focus more on the eternal instead of the temporal
It is impossible to consistently exhibit these elements of spiritual growth on our own. But in Christ, when we practice these elements of spiritual growth we hold the keys to spiritual maturity and experience transformation every day.
What is Spiritual Maturity?
Spiritual maturity is not a destination but an ongoing journey.
Our physical bodies develop, grow, and mature. Our emotions and spirit can follow the same path if we choose, but they can also stall and stop growing. Unlike physical aging, spiritual maturity must be intentional.
Not intentional in that we strive for spiritual maturity as our main focus. But intentional in our desire to become closer to Jesus and bear His beautiful fruit in our everyday, ordinary lives.
We must fight the urge to compare our spiritual maturity to others; it is defeating. We must also never feel we have arrived in spiritual maturation.
To mature or grow spiritually means we continue to press into Jesus, learn, question, change and adapt. We can’t help but become mature and wiser through this process.
Through this evolution, we grow closer to God and begin to show signs that we are more like Jesus than our unchanged selves.
“God, who gets invited to dinner at your place? How do we get on your guest list? Walk straight, act right, tell the truth. Don’t hurt your friend, don’t blame your neighbor; despise the despicable. Keep your word even when it costs you, make an honest living, never take a bribe. You’ll never get blacklisted if you live like this.”
Psalm 15:1-5 MSG
8 Keys to Spiritual Growth
There are many keys to spiritual growth, but growing spiritually starts with a desire to move away from our way of doing things to God’s way.
When these 8 keys to spiritual growth are done consistently, intentionally, and are heartfelt, they offer a powerful way to deepen our faith.
Key 1 Embrace Humility & Gratitude
A humble heart is aware that without Jesus’ sacrifice we are nothing. From that place of humility gratitude flows. It is difficult to grow if we do not begin from a place of humility.
Key 2 Read the Bible
Key 3 Prayer & Worship
Conversations with God through prayer and worship will have one of the greatest impacts on your spiritual maturity. If you are a new Christian it may seem awkward at first. But the more you communicate with Jesus through words and music your communication and connection with God begins to flow naturally.
Key 4 Spend Time with People Who are Invested in Spiritual Growth
If we don’t spend time with people invested in spiritual growth, we can get off course and miss opportunities to share the joy and struggles that refine us into Christ’s image.
Key 5 Serve and Give
When we spend our valuable resources serving others a wonderful thing happens…we are blessed and grow in gratitude and appreciation. This is how we replace our natural selfish view toward a more Christ-like selfless view.
Key 6 Participate in a Church Community
A church community is vital to spiritual growth and gives us the opportunity to practice and share the growth we experience alone with God.
Key 7 Release Things that Do Not Bring Peace or Growth
When we release people or circumstances that do not bring peace, we make room for those people and things that add to our lives. I have learned with my rose bush that it is important to prune or ‘cut off’ weak branches that are drawing too much energy away from the health of the entire plant. After pruning, the rose bush has renewed life and begins to look healthier.
In our lives, the same principle applies. Although it is painful and difficult to lose people, sometimes it is the only way to experience new life and continue to grow spiritually.
Key 8 Repeated Repentance
It is important to realize when our thoughts or actions are getting in the way of our ability to surrender and grow spiritually. The Holy Spirit reveals our mistakes to us, but we must choose to acknowledge them and change.
Repeated repentance is vital to spiritual maturity. We are all imperfect people and through repentance, humility grows as does dependence on God.
Bible Verses about Growing Spiritually
One of the greatest resources we have is the Bible. We can research any topic about our life and find wisdom and answers.
Here are 9 verses about growing spiritually that continue to guide and direct my spiritual growth and connection to God.
- “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7 NLT
- “How well God must like you; you don’t walk in the ruts of those blind-as-bats, you don’t stand with the good-for-nothings, you don’t take your seat among the know-it-alls. Instead, you thrill to God’s Word, you chew on Scripture day and night. You’re a tree replanted in Eden, bearing fresh fruit every month, Never dropping a leaf, always in blossom.” Psalms 11:1-6 MSG
- “And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.” Philippians 1:6 TLB
- “So, we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” Colossians 1:9-10 NLT
- “So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy, and hurtful talk. You’ve had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God’s pure kindness. Then you’ll grow up mature and whole in God.” 1 Peter 2:2 MSG
- “I am warning you ahead of time, dear brothers, so that you can watch out and not be carried away by the mistakes of these wicked men, lest you yourselves become mixed up too.But grow in spiritual strength and become better acquainted with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be all glory and splendid honor, both now and forevermore.” 2 Peter 3:17-18 TLB
- “So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.” Hebrews 6:1-2 NLT
- “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Hebrews 12:1 NLT
- “God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.” Titus 2:11-14 NLT
Spiritual Growth in the Bible
As part of the discussion on keys to spiritual growth, it is helpful to read and study stories about spiritual growth in the Bible. These stories took place in a time and place very different from today, but with many of the same personal issues.
It is amazing to me that most bible characters faced struggles and obstacles to spiritual growth, but were still used to make an impact on the world.
Judah the son of Jacob, brother of Joseph, and leader of one of the 12 tribes of Israel is also in the genealogical line of Jesus. But he struggled with spiritual growth just as we do.
After losing his wife and son he promises his daughter-in-law Tamar that she will marry his youngest son, but he breaks that promise.
Judah and Tamar cross paths again as broken widowers and deceivers in Genesis 38. Tamar approaches Judah as a prostitute out of desperation and becomes pregnant.
“When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. Not realizing that she was his daughter-in-law, he went over to her by the roadside and said, “Come now, let me sleep with you.” Genesis 38:15-16 NLT
“About three months later Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar is guilty of prostitution, and as a result she is now pregnant.” Judah said, “Bring her out and have her burned to death!” Genesis 38:24 NLT
When Judah discovers Tamar’s deception, he is quick to judge her. But his mistake and spiritual growth are revealed when he is caught and accepts his part in the scandal.
“She is more righteous than I…” Genesis 38:26
Although Judah did not always practice keys to spiritual growth and made many mistakes, he is eventually humbled, acknowledges his wrongdoing, repents, and changes.
John the Baptist Doubts
John the Baptist was born around the same time as his relative Jesus. The Bible says he paved the way for the ministry of Christ. That is quite an impressive purpose and plan for his life.
“There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” John 1:6-8 NLT
In John 1:34 John boldly declares Jesus’ divinity,
“I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
John the Baptist persevered in his mission and hit the pinnacle of spiritual growth when he baptized Jesus and bowed in humility to announce Jesus as the Messiah.
“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized there by John. John didn’t want to do it.” “This isn’t proper,” he said. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you.” But Jesus said, “Please do it, for I must do all that is right.” So then John baptized him.” Matthew 3:13-15 TLB
But at some point, John is thrown into prison and facing his own mortality begins to doubt and question his purpose and Jesus’ identity.
“After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee preaching the Message of God: “Time’s up! God’s kingdom is here. Change your life and believe the Message.” Mark 1:14-15 MSG
“John the Baptist, who was now in prison, heard about all the miracles the Messiah was doing, so he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you really the one we are waiting for, or shall we keep on looking?” Matthew 11:2-3 TLB
Even though John knew Jesus, witnessed miracles, and declared His majesty, he doubted; John’s spiritual growth stalled. But the beautiful ending to John’s tale, although he was unjustly killed, is how Jesus described him.
“Truly, of all men ever born, none shines more brightly than John the Baptist. And yet, even the lesser lights in the Kingdom of Heaven will be greater than he is!” Matthew 11:11 TLB
Judah and John the Baptist experienced fear, doubt and had to overcome obstacles to grow in their faith just as we do. But no matter what we face in life, walking beside Jesus and finding true contentment and wholeness in Him is the best life!
I hope these Biblical stories encourage you to continue to find keys to spiritual growth and cling to the love God offers.
Before you go…What have been your keys to spiritual growth? Would love to hear about your journey of learning how to grow spiritually!