We measure our progress in our workout, in healthy eating, in life goals. Some of us love checklists. We strive to reach new levels. And that’s all good.
Let us be just as concerned with our spiritual progress. Some people remain spiritual infants. They don’t mature. It’s because they resist the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives by neglecting their Bible and being full of their own wisdom. And that’s not pretty to see, nor beneficial to them. It’s like seeing and adult that acts like a baby.
We talk about spiritual growth in Christian circles. But how does it actually happen? And how do we know that we reached new levels of spiritual growth?
Psalm 19 has five verses which demonstrate the levels of spiritual development we have to achieve by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The veres also show the essential ingredient that produces that growth. Scripture.
The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The original Hebrew meaning for “refreshing” is converting (שׁוּב shub). The word “law” refers to the abiding Word of God, Scripture. The Mosaic Law was not meant to convert people, so it’s obvious the meaning is the doctrine of God. God’s Word transforms and saves us.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
After we are saved and we continue reading Scripture, we learn the foundational elements of Christianity. We learn more about God, His attributes, His Sovereignty, the plan of salvation, the origin of life. We gain wisdom/knowledge of God through the working of the Holy Spirit. And Scripture is trustworthy in all things. Did you know that science confirms Creation? See ICR.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
After we learn the foundations of Christianity, we reach the next level of spiritual growth. God starts giving us specific Bible verses as promises and encouragement for our unique situation or circumstance. He reveals His will for our life if we read the Word daily. He comforts us in trials, directs us and sustains us with verses. He speaks to us through His Word, and that gives “joy to the heart”.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.
After we learn to trust Him in the daily challenges of life, we reach a level of spiritual maturity where we can discern between true and false teaching. He gives “light to our eyes”, meaning are saturated with the truth of Scripture so much that we can spot the counterfeit, the heresies, the false prophets, mystics and cults like Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, charismatics, Mormons etc. We are not led blindly astray.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
As we faithfully read Scripture, we grow in our reverence for God and live sanctified lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. We start letting go of worldly things (movies, books, music, videogames, bad influences etc.) that seemed fine in the beginning, but may actually hinder our spiritual progress.
The decrees of the Lord are firm,
and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the honeycomb.
As we grow spiritually, God’s Word becomes sweeter (honey), and more precious (gold).
Notice the repeating theme for spiritual growth is always, God’s Word. You don’t depend on your pastor or on a stack of books by theologians to grow spiritually. It’s your direct interaction with God’s Word that causes the growth.
May God help us all to progress daily for His glory!