As a church pastor, my role is to help contribute to the spiritual growth of the people I lead. It’s also actually the role of every believer to do that and it’s how the Body of Christ can grow and strengthen together. We expand the Kingdom of God as we ‘make disciples’ whilst we are also being formed as disciples ourselves in the same process. There’s no greater joy than seeing people progress in their faith journey. When a person’s priorities are focused on the right things, when they abide in Christ, and live with strong Christian disciplines, we see spiritual formation take shape in a healthy way.
Spiritual maturity is not simply developed by being a Christian for a long period of time but rather by consistently abiding in Christ and allowing Him to form us into His image. The time frame in which you have been a Christian doesn’t always indicate spiritual maturity because spiritual maturity is active and not passive. Believing in Jesus and being a disciplined disciple of Jesus are two different things. If you want to grow spiritually you must understand it’s a choice you make to do that, it’s your connection to Jesus you are growing and it’s a call to consistency that will keep you progressing. Spiritual growth is not a formula, it’s a formation that takes place as we abide in Jesus and allow the work of the Holy Spirit to bring transformation to every area of our lives.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS A CHOICE
Jesus invited His twelve disciples to follow Him but ultimately the choice to do so was theirs. I think we can all acknowledge the choice those disciples made was life changing. We still read today about the stories of their journey and are inspired by the lives they lived as they wholeheartedly stepped out in faith and followed Jesus wherever He led them. The invitation to follow Jesus as His disciples is still given to us today, will we choose to accept?
We can choose to grow spiritually as Jesus’ disciples, or we can choose to live on spiritual autopilot, en route to our heavenly destination. It’s always disheartening when you see people pause or decline in their spiritual growth. I think it’s most painful because you ultimately can’t control another person’s spiritual growth, it’s a personal choice. You can do your best to create a healthy environment for others to have growth but the decision to grow is always personal.
As with any living thing, if you are not growing and replenishing then you are dying and decaying. Our spiritual lives are the same in this way.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS A CONNECTION
You can’t grow as a disciple of Jesus without a connection to Jesus. You can grow in intellect, understanding and knowledge about Christianity without knowing Jesus personally but it’s certainly impossible to grow as a disciple without a relationship with Jesus. In the same way that a branch detached from a tree is compromised and will die if it’s not connected to the tree, our spiritual lives are the same if we are not connected to Jesus.
For this very reason, Christianity at its very core is relational. You can’t fully experience Christianity or discipleship without a living, connected relationship with Jesus. When we move away from the vitality of personal relationship, we find our lives stuck in dead religion. If you want to progress, then you must stay connected to Jesus and the Bible is clear when it states that you will ‘bear much fruit’ if you stay connected.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH IS CONSISTENCY
I think it’s really easy to think that big things change the health of our lives the most but it’s simply not true. It’s the small things that we do consistently that keep us healthy. Just as brushing our teeth for two minutes twice a day is a habit that we don’t think much about but is vitally important to keeping our teeth healthy, spiritual disciplines bring health to our souls in much the same way. A ‘disciple’ means to be a disciplined one.
Our consistency to pray, read the Bible, serve within community, love our neighbour, reach the lost and follow the call of God is forming us spiritually more than an event or a conference ever could. It’s the little daily decisions and priorities that change us and move us towards God. There’s something powerful about being planted in relationship with God and a church community that helps strengthen and grow us spiritually as God intended.
Let’s move towards spiritual maturity so we fulfill God’s unfolding purpose for our lives. When we are spiritually mature, we bring strength to other people, lift others towards their destiny and build the church. Spiritual maturity is a choice we make, it’s a connection we grow in and it’s a life of consistency we live.
Hebrews 5:11-14 - A Call to Spiritual Growth
11 There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. 13 For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. 14 Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognise the difference between right and wrong.