Spiritual growth is the process of maturity in the things of God (Christ). Just as a newborn baby is not expected to remain a baby forever but to grow bigger and stronger, so are the children of God not expected to remain “babies” in their spirits forever, but to grow in knowledge, wisdom and understanding concerning the things of The Father.
There are some indications or characteristics of physical growth and so are there indications of spiritual growth. Some of the latter are discussed below:
Studying the Word of God
In 1 Peter 2:2, we are admonished to desire the pure milk of the word that we may grow. As food enables us to grow well physically, so does the word of God make us grow up spiritually. The Lord confirmed it when He said that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes out of the mouth of God. As a person grows spiritually it becomes obvious that the person spends much time studying and meditating on the word of God.
As a person grows spiritually, he/she becomes alert (awakened) and spends much time in prayer (talking to God and listening to Him). Jesus confronted His disciples about their prayerlessness and commanded them to watch and pray so that they would not fall into temptation for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. By praying, they would be able to build themselves up spiritually (build their spirit-man), so that they could subdue their flesh (Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46). Prayer strengthens us and enables us to mature spiritually.
Fasting is a spiritual exercise that helps us to grow in spirit and every maturing Christian fasts often. 1 Tim. 4:8 says that physical training (bodily exercise) profits a little but “godliness is profitable for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” It is worthy to note that fasting is done onto the Lord (Zech. 7:4-6). As we mature, our flesh and desires must be subdued. We must learn to deny our flesh and allow our spirit-man to take control so that the Holy Spirit can do His perfect work in us. When we fast and deny ourselves of pleasures we make the devil aware that there is nothing he can try to use to hold us down (Luke 4: l-13), and as in Prov.4:12, a cord of three is not easily broken. As we fast, pray and meditate on the word we have victory over the devil and his schemes.
As we grow spiritually, we tend to share our faith and experiences more, so that the body of Christ may be built up. When one becomes saved and begins to mature, the person overflowing with love for God and the love of God, desires to present Jesus Christ to others around him/her. In 1 Tim.4:11-15, Paul urged Timothy to diligently commit himself to the things he had instructed him to, so that his growth/progress would be evident to all to save both himself and his hearers.
Not only do we fellowship with the Holy Spirit, but with our Christian brethren as well. A person who is growing in the Lord tends to spend time with other true worshippers. Prov.27:17 says, as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. As we fellowship together, we grow in the Lord. As we live out what the word of God says in Eph. 15:21 and Col.3:15-16, we are built up onto maturity. Through fellowshipping, we get good counsel and wise instruction; we learn more about God and generally become better people.
Freedom to live right
From Col.2:20-23 and 3:1-10, it is evident that as we come to Christ and begin to mature
as His children we become heavenly minded and naturally begin to resist carnality or
worldliness. As in Col.3:12-14, we become people who God Himself would be pleased
with and to smile upon. We become free to live for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.