About 5 years ago today, I wrote a blog post about “Spiritual Maturity“. In it, I answered a few common questions about spiritual maturity. But I couldn’t answer one crucial question. How do we mature spiritually? The answer is we must start growing spiritually in order to mature spiritually. We cannot grow spiritually unless we are intentional about our spiritual growth. Today let’s look at a strategy we can use to boost our spiritual growth.
1. Feast Yourself in God’s Word
The human body cannot survive or grow without food and water. So are our spiritual selves. We cannot grow spiritually unless we receive God’s Word, (Deuteronomy 8:3). How do we receive God’s Word? By feasting on it. Given below are a few ways to do that.
A. Take part in weekend Services
Today technology has evolved to the point where we can listen to God’s Word without even going to Church. But if you are concerned about your personal spiritual growth you can’t permit the Televangelist, the Radio Preacher, or the Podcasting Pastor to substitute the local church Pastor because (apart from God) he is the person most likely to know the struggles affecting your spiritual growth and what you need to hear from God’s Word to overcome.
B. Take part in a midweek Service
We need to remain connected to God’s Word across the week because the stress factor often steals our spirituality which undermines our growth. Participating in a midweek service is one way we can stay connected to God’s Word constantly. The Church recognized this need many years ago and now almost every local church has a midweek service these days. Talk to your Pastor or the Small Group leader to learn more about the midweek services in your area
C. Listen to God’s Word Online
Sometimes you may not have the convenience of participating in a midweek service because of time restrictions. But there are other means such as the Radio and the Television you can use to remain connected to God’s word. You can learn more about such programming from your local Radio/TV Station or the Cable TV Operator.
YouTube is another useful source if you want to feast on God’s Word during the week. Thanks to our Smart Devices and the YouTube app we can listen to God’s Word while we are eating, commuting, or even when we are in the Rest Room without worrying about allocating extra time. Enjoying Everyday Life with Joyce Meyer, Desiring God by John Piper and Official Steven Furtick are a few channels you can start with.
D. Read 15-30 minutes every Day
The Bible shouldn’t be the only book you are reading if you want to grow spiritually. We can and should benefit from what others have learned and we do that through books, (1 Corinthians 11:1). Some of my favorite authors are the late C.S. Lewis, Joyce Meyer, and John Piper.
Some may feel reading is a challenge because of the cost factor. With the advent of electronic books and the Amazon Kindle Devices, however, the cost is no longer a problem. E-books are much cheaper because the cost of publishing is comparatively lower than traditional books. Today Amazon has an electronic counterpart for almost every printed book in its online store.
You can listen to audiobooks if time is an issue. Your Studies, Career, and Ministry can no longer prevent you from reading thanks to audiobooks. Almost every author publishes an audio version of the books they author now. With audiobooks, you don’t need to set apart time for reading. You can listen to them while working out, commuting, or working.
E. Join a Small Group in the Area
Small Groups are an essential part of our strategy because we cannot grow unless we belong to a community. In a small group, the degree of exposure to God’s Word is high because you get to benefit from the Spirit-filled insight and experience of other believers. Exposure happens in three different ways.
God uses small groups to illuminate His Word in various ways to various people multiplying insight and learning. This doesn’t mean each one in the group will see a different meaning. It means they will learn the one true multi-dimensional meaning as well as the limitless implications of that truth, (Proverbs 11:14).
What we do not know about the Bible is certainly a lot more than what we do know. There are certain things in the Bible we find to be disturbing. These things ignite doubts about God and His Word in our minds. Doubts if not cleared can affect our faith. When we face doubts we need to stop, pray and ask, (Matthew 11:1-4). Small Groups are the best place to do that.
God’s Word cannot help us unless we apply its truth, (Luke 6:46-49). Still, due to the lack of accountability, many Christians fall short of applying God’s Word to them personally regardless of how often they hear it. When we are in small groups however others in the group can hold us responsible for applying God’s word personally.
2. Form Mentoring Relationships
Healthy relationships help us grow spiritually. Motivational speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones often said, “Five years from now, you’ll be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet.” It means we need the accountability and support that come when others invest in our lives.
Mentoring relationships are nothing less biblical. Centuries ago in Proverbs 21:7, King Solomon wrote even as iron sharpens iron one person sharpens another. The Bible provides a very powerful model for mentoring relationships. That model is none other than the triangular relationship of Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy. In life, everyone needs a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy.
A Paul is a spiritual father figure who helps you to grow spiritually by pouring his life and wisdom into your life, (1 Corinthians 4:15). When choosing a Paul, see to it that he is a mature Christian and further along the journey than you are.
The name Barnabas means, “Son of Encouragement”. A Barnabas is a peer who helps you to pursue spiritual growth by encouraging you every time you fall behind, (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). When choosing a Barnabas, see to it they are of positive attitude and capable of challenging you to grow and walk in agreement with you, (Amos 3:3).
A Timothy is a spiritual son to whom you become a Paul or a Spiritual Father, (2 Timothy 1:2, Titus 1:4). As a spiritual father, you will be Pouring your life and wisdom into your spiritual son. When choosing a Timothy always look for people that are faithful, available, and possess a teachable attitude.
3. Systematic Prayer & Devotions
We cannot even imagine spiritual growth without prayer and devotions, (Joshua 1:8, Ephesians 6:18). We can pray and do our devotions anytime anywhere but it helps to have a systematic approach. In this section of the strategy, I will share with you my approach to prayer, devotions, and the tools I use.
I pray three times a day. When I get up before I go for lunch and before bedtime. At lunchtime, I don’t take more than 30 minutes for prayer. In the morning and night, I spend 45 minutes.
For devotional reading, I used Our Daily Bread (available for free in 150 countries in 26 languages) for many years. It was available only as a small booklet that arrived by mail. Now you can choose to receive via email or download their app.
A few years ago I switched to the Bible App by YouVersion. It has more than 4,000 Bible Reading Plans to choose from among the other features. Each Reading Plan has a portion of scripture and a devotional message. I always use three reading plans. One in the morning, the next at lunchtime, and the other before bed.
This is a very intensive strategy because spiritual growth is not a cakewalk. It has a price and takes effort, the grace of God, and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. It is my prayer this strategy will help you grow spiritually, attain maturity, and bear fruit for the glory of our Lord.
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