Checklist for Spiritual Growth

Dear Brethren,

One of the most common mistakes being made today by the brethren in this Laodicean generation is the notion that "we've got it made."  It is plain to see that all too many of our brothers and sisters have an attitude that is reflected this way:  "After all, God called me to be a member of His Church - "I have arrived," and I am simply waiting for the Kingdom to come."  It seems as though many people act as though God just went, “Poof!” and instilled all wisdom and righteousness within them necessary for salvation, with nothing left to be achieved on their part.  Scripture tells us that we must learn how to expand and develop within ourselves, the fruits of God's Holy Spirit.

When we read in Revelation that His end-time church is rich and increased with goods, God is not speaking so much about the physical blessings that we are enjoying, as He is speaking about a spiritual state of mind. God is saying that we are far from being prepared and ready for the Kingdom of God!  We lack spiritual growth.

"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."  (Revelation 3:17-18)

Out of love, God has sent us a direct warning, saying, "Growth is necessary – stagnation is deadly."  Too many brethren have learned, incorrectly, that God simply bestows conversion and righteousness on an elect people, instantly and without qualification.  They were taught that God, somehow, acts capriciously and confers, by command or decree, positions of rank and high office on men, in order to create an elite leadership over His people.  God does not work that way.  Let's look at some Biblical examples of how spiritual growth is gradual - but sure.

We see that John the Baptist grew and matured in God’s Spirit.  God does not give anyone instant knowledge, understanding, wisdom, and Godly character – those attributes must be learned, earnestly developed, and insistently cultivated, lest we develop a “welfare mentality” of thinking everything is owed to us.  "The child [John the Baptist] grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel."  (Luke 1:80)  And, almost the same language is used to describe Jesus as He developed into a young man.  "The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon Him... And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man."  (Luke 2:40, 52)  This also describes how our spiritual growth is to take place - continuously.

Since John the Baptist, the greatest prophet that ever lived, and Jesus Christ, had to grow and mature in the grace and knowledge of God – who are we to neglect our opportunity to develop the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit?  We did not have these gifts bestowed on us all at once when we were baptized.  Much time and effort is required on our part before we are able to acquire the gifts that come with spiritual growth.

Speaking to converted brethren, Paul said,   "I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power."    (Ephesians 1:16-19)

Here is a simple and straightforward list of requirements for spiritual growth.

  • Regular Prayer

  • Frequent Fasting

  • Daily Bible study

  • Keep the Laws of God

  • Apply the Lessons of in-depth Sermons

  • Moderation and Balance (Simplify Our Lives)

  • Brotherly Interaction (Reconcile and Provoke to Good Works)

  • Come Out of the World

  • Godly Meditation

  • Prepare to Teach
    (Now, and in the Millennial Kingdom of God)

  • Observe the Weekly and Annual Sabbaths
    (Picturing the Plan of God)

Remember this: Spiritual Gifts Come Only from God

Brethren, please do not take the wonderful spiritual attributes of God for granted.  We can study and learn all of our lives without hardly scratching the surface of the inestimable ways of God.  "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!"  (Romans 11:33)  That does not mean that we should not try to find out as much about God's ways as we can - we must - if we are to be like Him.

We are instructed and encouraged, not to remain as we are, but to continuously grow in the Spirit, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.  "That you may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."             (Ephesians 3:18-19) 

Peter also wrote of his desire that the brethren expand their spiritual horizons.  "Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord."  (2Peter 1:2)  When we were called out of the world, we did not possess the knowledge of God that makes salvation possible for us.  "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and Godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue."  (2Peter 1:3)  We must leave the status quo behind and reach out to obtain the much greater things of God.  "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."  (2Peter 1:4)

In order to distance ourselves from the world, we must be growing in these areas:  "Beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience Godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."  (2Peter 1:5-8)

The point is this, unless we are continuously growing and changing in spiritual characteristics, we are mired-down, hopelessly stuck, in complacency.  As Christians, unless we are adding these Godly traits to our character, we retain the Laodicean weakness of a lack of reality perception.  "He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (2Peter 1:9)  Peter then gives us the requisite action step for us to insure our entrance into the Kingdom of God.  "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."  (2Peter 1:10-11)


Sermon:  "Checklist for Spiritual Growth"