Spiritual growth is of necessity if Christianity means a whole lot to you. It is a process by which we come into a place of stability and maturity. Spiritual development is the essence of our Christian walk. It is not enough for someone to be a new man in Christ, he has to grow in the knowledge of Christ. “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him”(Col. 3:10).
Paul said to the Corinthian church, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Cor. 3:1-3). You will notice in this passage that Paul said he could not speak to these folks as unto spiritual, he didn’t say they were not spiritual. They were spiritual. Paul had said earlier that they had received the Spirit of God. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:11)
What makes you spiritual are not acts of spirituality but the fact that God’s Spirit dwells in you. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). He said he could not speak to them as unto spiritual but as unto carnal. Paul used a figure of speech here, an oxymoron. This is when two elements that seem contradictory are used to drive home a point. They were spiritual yet carnal because they could not receive a mode of communication that Paul expected of them. They were babes in Christ. It shows they were not growing. They had gotten stagnant in their Christian walk because they allowed envying, strife and division to take their focus off their spiritual growth. They walked like mere men. They behaved exactly like carnal or natural men which they once were before they became Christians. It is possible for you to be spiritual and yet act as though you are not one. Carnality is a behavioural pattern that is not consistent with your spiritual nature in Christ.
Let’s begin to look at ingredients or factors that are responsible for spiritual growth. What do you need to do if you intend to grow spiritually?
Desire: The journey of growing up spiritually starts with a desire. A yearning or a strong craving for spiritual development. Nothing can be achieved without a deep seated desire. We are told by Apostle Peter to “ …lay aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings” and then desire! There are things to lay aside!
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:1-2). Your desire for the Word can only be productive if you make up your mind to lay aside anything that might compete or inhibit that desire. Jesus referred to such things as “… the lusts of other things entering in, choke the Word and becometh unfruitful” (Mk. 4:19). This was a reference He made to the seed that fell on the thorny ground in His parable of the sower.
Your desire for the Word must supersede your desire for any other ephemeral thing if you truly want to grow up spiritually. Your mind has to be free of self preoccupation because you can only desire one thing at a time. Job said “…I have esteemed the words of his (God’s) mouth more than my necessary food”(Job. 23:12). If you want to know what you desire, check what you esteem more than anything else.
What you love more is an indicator of what you truly desire.
To be continued…