It's been a while!
After being bugged by some of my friends to write something new, I finally had the serenity to sit and write about something that's really important and dear to my heart. It is the desire of every serious minded Christian to grow up spiritually. God wants us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:2). So that's what we'll be looking at today.
Growing up spiritually is not like the experience of the calf in a stall, or the corn in the field.
The experience of salvation is dramatic, something happens within your spirit in an instant. You become born again, a child of God. But growing up into maturity takes ample time, learning, and patience. You know, there are sometimes you look at your Pastor and you begin to think "Oh my God, I want to be like him today, before 12 noon," but it doesn't work that way.
1) Have a picture in your heart of the kind of Christian you want to be.
There must be a target. There are Christians who are big time financiers of the work of God. There are Christians who model godly marriages excellently. There are Christians who are blessed with a special grace to heal the sick, and to cast out devils. There are Christians who are able to stir a revival in the hearts of men. There are also Christians who are fervent intercessors, and are able to go on a long fast interceding for other people, the Church, or the nation.
The list could be endless. Of course it is God's will for us to prosper financially, have godly marriages, heal the sick, bring the hearts of many to salvation, but you'll agree with me that in your Church there are believers who stand out for a particular grace. So, as one growing up spiritually, there must be an area of Christianity that you are passionate about. Make a decision to grow in that area. As you grow in that area, your relationship with Jesus Christ and His Word will become richer.
I can remember as a teenager, I was passionate about being that Christian who prays for the sick and they get healed. I wanted to be that person whom God uses to release the presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of other people.
This drive made me study more of God's Word, spend more time in prayer, and seek ways to help people live for God. In the process, I was growing spiritually. So, there must be a drive.
2) Have a Mentor.
Having a mentor is not an overrated idea. I believe it is juvenile and careless to say that you don't need a mentor. Having a mentor is very important. It will help you in many ways than one. Your mentor does not necessarily need to be your Pastor, he/she needs to be someone whose spiritual walk you admire. Someone who would serve as your confidant. Someone whom you can call or text at any time of the day and they would respond.
Mentorship is key. You grow faster when you have someone whom you can watch closely and emulate.
Paul said, "Be followers of me even as I am a follower of Christ." It is important you follow a person who follows Jesus Christ. Be willing to share your thoughts and experiences with this person, and be open to counsel and correction.
3) Receive the infilling of The Holy Spirit.
This is very important. I have mentored a lot of persons, and from my experience Christians who receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit have an extraordinary propensity to study and understand God's Word, to hear from God, to pray, and to have good relations with people.
This spiritual experience is characterized by speaking in tongues. The more you speak in tongues, the more you condition your spirit to be influenced by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 14:2-4). If you've not had this experience, you must develop a hunger for it. Go to one of the Pastors in your church who is evidently anointed with the presence of the Holy Spirit, and ask him/her to teach you more about the subject and pray for you to receive the Holy Spirit.
4) Learn More about God through the Bible.
Develop a fascination for God.
God loves to be 'discovered'. He wants you to seek Him, it's His nature (Jeremiah 29:11-13). You can see that this is reflective in His creation. For example, we had to go to school to study Biology to understand the process of life. The same with Geology which helps us to discover the structure of the earth's crust. We study astronomy to understand the Galaxies and outer space. God has a deep, rich, beautiful personality. He wants you to experience Him, and that is possible through His Word.
5) Separate Yourself from Negative Influences.
Sometimes someone at your office, a neighbor, a friend, or even a virtual friend on social media could be an obstacle to your spiritual growth. When you should be in Church for Bible Study, they invite you to a new bar that had just opened in town. Or they tell you raunchy stories of how they spent their night at the club, or how they spent time with a 'hot chick'.
You know, such stories can be colorful, very attractive, and the same time very distracting. You find yourself trying to regurgitate your past, and developing an appetite to have those crazy experiences that would distance you from the will of God for your life.
Don't give such persons access to your mind and heart. Let them know you are very uncomfortable with that kind of lifestyle, and let them be very much aware of your new life in Jesus Christ. At first they might think your life is going to be a boring Mary-go-round, but soon when they begin to hear stories of your spiritual experiences with God, they too will develop an appetite to have what you now have.
6) Bask in God's Presence Daily through Worship.
How can you grow in God when you have no mutual experience with Him?
God wants to feel your heart, and want you to feel His heart too.
That is made possible through worship. Spend time in God's presence, lifting up holy hands to Him in worship. It is a celebration, and an appreciation of His divine presence in your life. So do this often.
7) Spend Time with Other Believers.
Spending time with other believers as you all talk about God's Word and your spiritual experiences that in itself is truly refreshing. The Bible says, "Iron sharpens iron." As believers we strengthen each other, so mingle with godly friends, even on social media. It's amazing what this would do to your faith.
Learn to fellowship with other believers. I treasure my relationship with my covenant friends (by that I mean friends who have been handpicked by the Spirit of God to be in my life). They have been of tremendous blessing to me, just as I have been to them. It doesn't matter which part of the world they travel to, we get to find time to talk (thanks to WhatsApp, calls and Skype). Sometimes we spend over an hour talking about our spiritual experiences with the Spirit of God, and what He has instructed us to do.
We also share our burdens and challenges.
Such moments are usually precious. We become invigorated, inspired to do more for God.
I encourage you to find time with godly friends. The benefits are enormous.
8) Help Other People Grow Spiritually.
As you help others grow spiritually, so will you.
I see some people who go about condemning others, screaming "You will go to hell and burn and roast, and die and resurrect...and burn..." all sort of stupid tactics to instill fear in people instead of a reverential love and honor for God.
Let me tell you something, many people are going to hell. Some of them know it, and still chose to live in their sin. These people need an encounter with the blessed presence of the Holy Spirit, and that experience can be made possible through you. A sarcastic criticism of their lifestyle will do no good. That's carnal.
Let me share this story with you.
Sometime ago, I met this young man who is a growing Christian, but was ignorant about a lot of things. He loves God, very diligent, he's a nice guy, but still sleeps around. I heard about it. I wanted to confront him head on, but the Holy Spirit told me that strategy will not work. Of what benefit would it be if you confront a person aggressively shouting and screaming about how he/she will burn in hell, when you have not made a decision to help build that individual's spiritual capacity to serve God?
Of course maybe out of fear of your message, he/she would be somewhat remorseful, and out of the respect he/she has for you, they would want to give you that impression that they have repented. But after a few days they are back to the old habits. What you've just succeeded in doing is to raise a pretentious church goer who would try as much as possible to conceal his sins from you, not a Child of God who is influenced by the Holy Spirit.
So I decided to be his friend. Spend time with him, talk about his spiritual life. Share God's Word with him and in the process talk to him about the sin and dangers of premarital sex. I did not by any means mention his personal life. Let the Holy Spirit do that for me. Not that I was afraid to do so, but because the Holy Spirit has instructed me to allow Him do the job of conviction.
Interestingly he was growing in the things of God. Not too long afterwards, I prayed for him to receive the Holy Spirit. That marked a turning point in his life. He discarded every porn material and sexual item.
He is so on fire for God and an inspiration to many.
That is just one of the many cases I have witnessed. So be patient with people. Respect people. But tell them the truth with love. It is your responsibility to help others get saved, so do it with passion. By so doing, you in turn will get blessed and upgraded in the things of the Spirit.
I love you for reading. Please share with others.