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Growing in Your Walk with Christ
How in the world do I grow spiritually?
Have you ever wondered about the answer to that question? I know I have! Spiritual growth is one of our greatest needs as believers, yet it can also be one of the most elusive and hard to define aspects of our Christian walk. Questions like these can overwhelm us:
- What does spiritual growth look like?
- How much have I grown?
- Will I "feel" any different?
- I am trying so hard but I don't seem to be going anywhere. What's wrong?
Spiritual growth, or discipleship, can sometimes feel like running on a treadmill. You know you are moving, but you aren't sure you are actually getting somewhere.
If you find yourself battling these issues and questions, then keep reading! You see, spiritual growth is a journey. God intends for us to take steps as we grow toward Him. Let's take a closer look at five of these steps:
1. Surrender through Spiritual Disciplines
1 Timothy 4:7 says, "...Train yourself to be godly." For me to step toward growth with Christ, I must discipline myself. When I commit time to prayer, Bible study, Scripture memory, or giving, I am practicing spiritual disciplines. These spiritual "exercises" benefit us much like physical exercise. You will not see overnight results, but faithful, consistent practice will yield tremendous long-term benefits. In 2008, we are studying different Spiritual Disciplines on Sunday nights. Take a few moments and look at our calendar here on the website to see the specific dates and disciplines we will be discussing.
2. Testing through Life Circumstances
A Christian should never overlook the "growth-value" of life's twists and turns. David's years running from Saul, Joseph's unjust prison sentence, and Peter's denial and restoration to Jesus are just a few of the thousands of Biblical examples of the direct effect of life's circumstances on spiritual growth.
Twists and turns provide amazing opportunities for growth precisely because so many things happen in our lives that force us to respond and react. These opportunities become "faith tests" where we can deepen our confidence in God.
In Exodus 17, Moses built an altar to God after He granted Israel a great victory. I would bet you have a few "altars" in your life when God drew closer to you through a difficult situation or trial.
3. Encouragement through Vital Relationships
I am so glad God did not ask us to walk through life alone! Other believers are often the channel of encouragement or instruction God uses to help us grow. Paul had Silas in the Philippian Jail. Nathan confronted David about his sin. Elizabeth took care of Mary during her early months of pregnancy with Jesus.
Who led you to the Lord? Who encouraged you right when you needed it? Who seeks your counsel? Who do you pray for? To step toward growth, we need each other!
4. Practice through Preaching and Teaching Application
Paul quoted Isaiah in Romans 10:15 when he announced, "How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!" Here at Mud Creek, we are blessed to hear one of God's best preachers share with us the life-changing truths of God's Word. Each Sunday, faithful teachers expound those same truths to various small groups. All during the week, support group leaders and counselors through the Clear Word Counseling Center point people to that same life-changing Word.
Every time you take notes, fill in an outline, underline in your Bible, or listen to a CD, you can take a step toward spiritual growth through the preaching and teaching ministries here at Mud Creek.
5. Success through Ministry Involvement
One common misconception about spiritual growth is that it is all about "taking in" truth. While that is somewhat true, no effective Christian has ever truly grown without "giving out" in ministry. In fact, each disciple who faithfully grows will long to live out his or her faith.
You may step forward in growth by singing in the choir, leading a support group, sharing your faith, being involved with C.A.R.E., serving as an usher or greeter, or visiting a nursing home. If you aren't sure how or where to get involved, the Spiritual Gifts Inventory in our Resource Center should point you in the right direction.
So how do we grow spiritually? We Take S.T.E.P.S.! These five steps are by no means exhaustive, but they do provide an objective lens for us to evaluate our growth with Christ.
Thanks for taking the time to seek a little more clarity about your own spiritual growth. And now, I want to encourage you to take a step. Maybe you are not in God's Word consistently, perhaps you need to join a small group, or you might just need to put that gift you have been neglecting into practice. Join us in the journey! Just take a step!
The above used from Mud Creek Baptist Church web site