God expects every believer to grow spiritually. He delights in the fact that His children are growing. Growth is a proof of life, it gladdens the hearts of parents when they see their children growing physically. There is an inner satisfaction that whatever little investment they have made in them with their earnings is yielding positive results. You cannot be said to be healthy spiritually if you are not growing spiritually.
Spiritual growth means you are making steady progress in the knowledge of Christ.
“..Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” (2 Pet. 3:18). To grow in grace is to grow in the knowledge of Christ. Paul, speaking to the elders he was about to leave behind in Ephesus,
“And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give (show) you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts. 20:32). Grace is what God has freely bestowed upon us in Christ. It is the gift of God. This is how we are saved. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). God’s grace saves and builds up! The way we grow up spiritually is to focus on that same means by which we were saved! “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Col. 2:6-7). As our knowledge of God’s grace increases, so also is our spiritual capacity.
It is also important to note that spiritual growth is not the growth of a believer’s spirit. Spirits don’t grow! Man is a tripartite being. He is a combination of spirit, soul and body. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23).
These three elements that make man who he is are so interconnected, it takes the Word of God to distinguish one from the other. “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). When a man becomes born again, his spirit is recreated after God in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24). A man becomes a new creation in his spirit. He is joined to the Lord and he is one spirit with Him (1 Cor. 6:17). However, the mind which is a major component of the soul has to come into alignment with the realities in a believer’s spirit. This process is called “renewing of the mind”.
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2). Spiritual growth takes place on the mind of a believer, this is where he is able to recognise and discern the will of God which is good, acceptable and perfect. What is within his spirit is brought to bear on his mind and then the mind in return now causes his body to express this reality.
We shall continue by examining in subsequent parts, factors that are responsible for spiritual growth in our daily walk.