What is the Meaning of Spiritual Growth

spiritual growth meaning

Many a theologian has offered a definition of spiritual development over the course of two millennia. Spiritual development can mean many things to many people in the secular and pluralistic environment we inhabit in our terrestrial world. Spiritual development, in essence, is to believe in something beyond the material universe and to develop an awareness of realities beyond the confines of time and space.

What does spiritual development mean for the Christ follower? 

A man sitting on a table

Acts 17:28 answers the question well: “For in him we live and move and have our being.” Our essence, belonging, search for meaning, and purpose originate from the Lord as transformed through the person of Jesus Christ and God’s infallible and unchanging Word.

The purpose of spiritual development is summed up well in Romans 12:2 that exhorts us with these powerful words: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” God’s truth and purpose transform the soul, spirit, mind, and strength in all of our activities. Everything we have, including our knowledge, skills, talents, and abilities, are to be stewarded to God. Spiritual development is increasingly aligning God’s purposes for the world with our story.

Spiritual Development Definition as Process

A little girl posing for a picture

Spiritual development is certainly a process of growth in Christ. God will give you strength and grace to grow during the process of refinement. The Bible portrays spiritual refinement as a journey, as illustrated by the following verses in Scripture:

Jesus says to the children of God, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Growth in Christ is not just an individual task, but involves working out our sanctification within the body of Christ. “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12).

Spiritual Development as Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual guidance from other Christians does not have to be authoritarian. In fact, the primary role of a spiritual guide is to help the one seeking guidance to attend and be in tune with the Spirit. The supportive role of spiritual guidance is very much in line with counseling and coaching. Spiritual guidance does involve, as well, correcting a skewed view of the character of God. Untruths and lies have to be identified, understood, and dismissed for soul care to occur. It is when we see His truth and perfection that restoration and healing occurs through spiritual direction and guidance. It is His love that heals us to live more fully for Him. Spiritual guidance does then also take the shape of not only reshaping our inward reality, but also mirroring truth onto the world we live in. Our God is as much a God of social justice and peace as He is our personal Lord and Savior.

God’s immanence becomes more real each day as the Lord guides our lives. He is with you as you seek to carry out His will in practical terms. God’s manifest presence is something to cherish in the everyday daily routines. As Christians, it is vital that we embrace the paradox of God’s transcendent sovereignty over human issues and yet His immanence and caring for the affairs of individuals, families, societies, and nations. The Lord speaks to us through His Word, the Holy Spirit, life circumstances, fellow Christians, prayers from God’s people, and the church to guide us each and every step of the way in our faith journey.

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