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“Continue applying yourself to public reading, to exhortation, to teaching.”Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.—1 TIM. 4:13.
Discover how Christians can make spiritual progress through biblical pastoral advice. Learn about the importance of prayer, Bible reading, fellowship, and spiritual disciplines in growing in faith and avoiding sin.
What Does It Mean to Make Spiritual Progress?
According to the Bible, making spiritual progress means growing in our relationship with God, becoming more like Christ, and producing fruit in our lives that glorifies God. This involves a continual process of transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit as we learn to obey God’s Word, resist temptation, and seek to live a life that reflects the character of Christ.
In 2 Peter 1:5-8, the apostle Peter gives a list of qualities that believers should add to their faith in order to make spiritual progress: “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Therefore, making spiritual progress involves actively seeking to develop these qualities in our lives through prayer, Bible study, fellowship with other believers, and obedience to God’s commands. It is a lifelong journey that requires diligence, perseverance, and dependence on the grace and power of God.
What Can A Christian Do to Make Spiritual Progress?
There are several things that a Christian can do to make spiritual progress:
Regularly read and study the Bible – The Bible is God’s word and is the primary way that He communicates with us. Christians can make spiritual progress by studying the Bible regularly and applying its teachings to their lives. As the Psalmist wrote, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).
Pray regularly – Prayer is a way for Christians to communicate with God and seek His guidance. Regular prayer helps Christians to develop a deeper relationship with God and grow in their faith. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Attend church and participate in worship – Worshiping with other believers is an essential part of the Christian life. It provides opportunities for fellowship, encouragement, and spiritual growth. As the writer of Hebrews exhorts, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Serve others – Jesus taught that we should love our neighbors as ourselves, and one of the best ways to do this is by serving others. Christians can make spiritual progress by serving others, whether through volunteering in their community or helping those in need. As Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).
Avoid sinful behavior – Sin can hinder our spiritual growth and damage our relationship with God. Christians should strive to avoid sinful behavior and seek forgiveness when they do sin. As the Apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Seek accountability and mentorship – It can be helpful to have a trusted Christian friend or mentor who can provide accountability and guidance on our spiritual journey. As the writer of Proverbs says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).
By doing these things and seeking to follow God’s will, Christians can make spiritual progress and grow in their faith.
How Can a Christian Progress Spiritually Without Growing Weary?
Focus on Jesus – When we focus on Jesus, we find the strength to endure and persevere in our spiritual journey. The author of Hebrews writes, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Stay connected to God through prayer and Bible reading – Prayer and Bible reading are essential for spiritual growth and staying connected to God. As Jesus said, “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” (John 15:4).
Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance – The Holy Spirit is our helper and guide in our spiritual journey. We can ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and strength to help us progress spiritually without growing weary. As the Apostle Paul writes, “And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ…that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:6-11).
Surround yourself with supportive believers – Fellowship with other believers provides encouragement, accountability, and support in our spiritual journey. As the writer of Hebrews says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Practice spiritual disciplines – Regularly practicing spiritual disciplines such as fasting, giving, and serving can help us grow in our faith and avoid growing weary. As Jesus said, “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:16-18).
By focusing on Jesus, staying connected to God through prayer and Bible reading, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance, surrounding ourselves with supportive believers, and practicing spiritual disciplines, we can progress spiritually without growing weary.
What Biblical Counsel Can Wake A Christian Up to Seeing the Need to Make Spiritual Progress?
Examine yourself – Christians are called to examine themselves regularly to see if they are truly in the faith and making progress spiritually. The Apostle Paul writes, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5). This counsel can help a Christian realize their need to make spiritual progress if they find that they are lacking in certain areas.
Repent and turn to God – When we realize that we have sinned and fallen short of God’s standard, we need to repent and turn to God. This involves a change of heart and a willingness to turn away from sin and toward God. As the Apostle Peter preaches, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19-20).
Consider the brevity of life – Life is short, and we do not know how much time we have left on this earth. This should motivate us to make the most of the time we have and to prioritize our spiritual growth. The Psalmist writes, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
Remember the judgment seat of Christ – Christians will one day stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of their lives. This should motivate us to live our lives in a way that pleases God and produces fruit that will last. As the Apostle Paul writes, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Focus on the eternal – When we focus on the eternal rather than the temporal, we are more likely to prioritize our spiritual growth. Jesus says, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).
By considering these biblical counsels, Christians can be awakened to their need to make spiritual progress and prioritize their spiritual growth.
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