believer
No matter how long we’ve been on a spiritual journey, we can know one thing to be true. We will never just naturally keep growing deeper spiritual roots. Our very nature and propensity towards selfishness and sin will always strive to take us the other direction.

It takes clear focus and commitment to our God who works miracles within us to grow in a way that reflects His character more and more. Some of the most spiritually mature Christians I know share some powerful things in common: they’ve learned the value of prayer, the importance of time in God’s word, and most of all, have faced some very dark times in their journeys.

Their faith has been strengthened through the church, in fellowship with other believers and through giving, sharing, and serving. They are worshippers of God and they love Jesus with all of their hearts and lives. They walk securely with the armor of God, they deal quickly with sin issues, and stand strong in Truth to combat the lies. They understand they need God’s power through His Holy Spirit to walk wisely in this life.

I’m freshly challenged to follow that same path. There’s no more powerful way to live than to live completely sold out, committed to Christ—and that doesn’t mean more “religious.” It’s means more changed into the image of Christ. It’s there we’re able to truly love a hurting world. It’s there we’re able to be light in dark times.

Here are 10 Things to Grow Deeper Spiritually:

1. Choose to Receive Christ as Savior and Lord of Our Lives

Without first acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Savior and Lord of our lives and making the choice to follow Him and put Him first, we will never be able to grow spiritually. We must receive His forgiveness and love and recognize the authority that He is in our lives. Learning to “abide in Him,” and dwell in His Presence every day will lead us towards deeper spiritual growth as we seek to know Him more. Without these first steps in place, the rest would seem impossible.

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5

2. Pray

God reminds us in His word the incredible importance it is to pray, to talk to Him and spend time in His Presence. Jesus, Himself, spent hours praying and coming before His Father. He reminds us to pray continually, to develop an attitude of constant communication with God. And if it was important for Jesus, it is crucial for our own spiritual journey. God desires our fellowship. He longs for us to talk to Him and listen for His voice. Sometimes, we don’t even know how to pray.

Maybe we’re at a loss for words, or our hearts are broken, but we can find strength in knowing that Christ, Himself, intercedes for us when we don’t know what to pray. Just opening God’s word and praying His truths back to Him is so powerful and effective. We’re speaking out living words straight into the darkness we might find ourselves in. It renews our minds, it comforts our hearts, it brings peace to our spirits.

“Pray without ceasing,” 2 Thessalonians 5:17

3. Read God’s Word

Read it, meditate on it, study it, learn from it, write it out, speak it out loud, teach it to your children, pray God’s words back Him… this is an absolute necessity for spiritual growth. We need His Word every day, living and breathing through us. It’s our guide in this life, it’s alive and active, it’s powerful and true, it’s our only offensive weapon against the enemy. Jesus is the Word. And withoutknowing what is within these beautiful, amazing pages, we will never fully know our Lord.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

4. Worship and Praise Him

Worshipping and praising our King are a powerful force in pushing back the forces of darkness and building faith within our own hearts. As we make the choice to give Him the honor due His name, even when it feels more like a sacrifice to offer praise, it will strengthen our spirits and open up the door for God to do amazing things. Scripture reminds of that over and over. Maybe we’re hurting or carrying huge burdens, but God hears, He knows, and He understands our pain. He reminds us that He encircles our praises, His Presence is close to us as He as He comforts the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He will never turn away. We can make the choice every day, to lift our hands and voices to our Mighty Savior and Lord.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16

5. Fellowship with Other Believers

People are so important in this journey of life, friends and family who will stick with us no matter what we face, who will cover us in prayers and offer wise counsel and help. Find a church that teaches the word where you can grow and serve. Show up and keep showing up. Often, it’s a choice to keep seeking community when busyness or life struggles will seek to draw us away. We were never meant to journey alone. Never feel ashamed that you’re reaching out for help, that you have questions–we’re all in a continual state of growth.

And no matter what we’ve walked through, God will use our stories to help others in the years still to come. It’s often through our own pain, grief, or hardship that we can have a fuller understanding of what others walk through as well. There’s great comfort in knowing that God will use what we have experienced, no matter how difficult, to help someone else. Christ, Himself, suffered and was tempted in “all things,” reminding us that He truly understands “all” that we walk through in this life.

“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, …” Acts 2:42-47

6. Serve Others

Serving and giving to God and others around us helps us to take our eyes off ourselves and see the bigness of God in this world around us. We’re never meant to do life all on our own. He desires we use the gifts, abilities, and blessings that He’s given to us to help those around us and bring glory to Him through our lives. God reminds us in His word that it’s truly “more blessed to give than to receive…” and the life and servanthood of Jesus is our ultimate example to follow.

“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace…” 1 Peter 4:10

7. Be Ruthless with Sin

Sin will always take us farther than we ever intended to go. It’s been proven over and over again. Don’t be fooled. Don’t mess around with thinking you’re strong enough to withstand it all on your own or that you can play with fire and not get burned. God calls us to strive to live holy as He is holy, He reminds us to set our minds on the things above, not on the things in this world. He invites us to ask forgiveness when we get off course and assures us of His faithfulness to forgive and wash us clean.

Unconfessed sin will lead to greater difficulties down the road, increased pressure, anxiety, and even despair. But God calls us to live differently. He promises He will make all things new and bring restoration, freedom, and grace.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

8. Walk in the Spirit

Learning to walk in the Spirit is learning to say no to the flesh and yes to God. It’s the willingness to put God in the driver’s seat of our lives and to choose to deny our own fleshly nature. And, it’s not always easy. In fact, it can be really, really hard, every single day. The enemy will bring temptation and fear. He will do everything He can to lead us away from choosing to live fully for God. But once we determine in our hearts that we will walk in God’s ways and pray for the filling of His Spirit in our lives, He is faithful to fill us afresh with His power. He is mighty within us. We never walk alone, God equips us to learn to walk in the fruits of His Spirit and will turn our lives around for great purpose and blessing.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

9. Believe that the Hard Times Will Bring Greater Good

Though this can be one of the most difficult truths of deep spiritual growth, those of us who have experienced difficult trials know the power that can come from these times. God will often use, not the easiest times of life, but the hardest seasons to bring the greatest depths of growth in our lives. It’s in those times that we learn perseverance, deeper faith, and the awareness that God is with us no matter what we face. We come to understand, through humility and pain, that it’s in our weakest moments that God becomes strong. We may not ever wish for struggles and storms in this life, but we can trust God to use them all for good, somehow, in us and through us. He is faithful and we truly can “count it all joy” when we experience hard things, because we know He’s at work on our behalf.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

10. Put on the Armor of God

We will face battles in this life. Hard, spiritual battles. Enemy attacks. Difficulties and temptations. Without the armor of God protecting us day by day, we cannot stand. God has given us everything we need in this life to stand strong against the devil’s schemes and the struggles we’ll face. He desires that we live aware and follow the truths in His Word. Put on His armor, every day, be fully prepared to face whatever is up ahead, and know that you are held secure by a Mighty God.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Ephesians 6:10-17

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