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Article of the Month of JUNE  2001
By Dr. John Williams
Why Should We Grow Spiritually?

Many Christians are like spiritual babies today, because they have not grown spiritually as much as they should have. In Galatians 4:19, Paul says, my little children I travail in birth again that Christ should be formed in you. When Paul made this statement, he was not talking to children. He was talking to adults, but they were not fully-grown spiritually. He said that the spiritual man in them should develop fully to conform to the image of Jesus Christ. Not every born again Christian is a fully-grown Christian. When his spirit grows fully, he will become Christ like. When he grows, he will bear the fruits of the Spirit. A fully-grown Christian will exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit; do the works of Christ; win souls; make disciples; bear the fruits of the spirit; operate on the supernatural power of God; and develop and use all of his spiritual faculties. Therefore, there are a number of reasons why a person should grow spiritually. 

A. To Fulfill God's Plan And Will
It is God's plan that every one of us should grow spiritually and attain the stature and the fullness of God. God has foreordained and predestinated us to be conformed to the very image of His son Jesus Christ, through the process of discipleship. In Romans 8:29, we read that whom God foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of Jesus. God did not intend man to be a physical and an intellectual being alone. His plan was that he should not live as the other living creatures. God created man even above the angels. He created man in His own order. He created man to love and fellowship with Him. Unless man grows spiritually, He cannot truly love God and have fellowship with Him. A spiritually grown Christian can literally walk and talk with God and live in that close fellowship and communion with Him. This is the plan of God. God has given him a body to live and a mind to think and to understand. But unfortunately many people just live a two-dimensional life. They have a physical and an intellectual life only. They do not have much of a spiritual life. God's plan is that we should become alive spiritually and live a three dimensional life, with the spirit dominating and ruling the body and the mind. Just like every parent, who is interested in his children becoming adults and living a productive life, our Heavenly Father is interested in every child of God growing spiritually and becoming sons of God. As the expression goes "like father like son". Every father desires that his son becomes like himself. Therefore, it is God's plan that we all should grow spiritually to the fullest extent and realize our full potential.

To fulfill God's plan and will also means and includes the following:
1. Fulfilling the purpose of creation of man
2. Having fulfillment in the life of man
3. Realizing ones full potential during his life
4. Being always in the center of God's will
5. Carrying out God's specific assignments
6. Being sensitive to the move of the Holy Spirit
7. Taking full liberty to pursue one's desires within the 
     parameters set by the Word of God
8. Testing and discerning God's will

B. To Realize One's Full Potential
After God made man out of the dust of the ground. He breathed into his nostril His spirit and then he became a living soul. God has put His spirit within man. In other words, God has imparted His nature or traits to man. The real man is the spirit within him. Man is a spiritual being. The nature or the divine qualities of God are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23). God has, therefore, imparted all of these qualities into man. The Bible says God has shed abroad in the heart of man His love (Romans 5:5). The Bible also says that God has dealt to every man a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). Because God has put a little bit of His nature within man, he has the capacity to develop those qualities and to grow in those dimensions. Man is endowed with the capacity to love, and to experience peace and joy. He has the capacity to be patient, gentle and good. He has the capacity to believe, to be meek and to exercise self control. These are all spiritual qualities and he has the capacity not only to use these qualities, but also to develop these qualities to the fullest extent. John 1:12 says, that as many as received Him to them gave He power to become the sons of God. So God has given man the power to grow spiritually to become like Him. If God has not imparted His nature to man, he can not grow spiritually. No matter how much he develops his intellectual qualities, until and unless he develops his spiritual attributes at least to a certain degree he cannot realize his full potential.

We should do the following to realize our full potential:
1. Attain the stature and the fullness of Jesus Christ
2. Be very productive and be result oriented
3. Know the will of God and pursue it
4. Use our creative ideas and abilities
5. Receive and use God's power and wisdom
6. Enjoy the blessings of divine health and healing
7. Become a part of God's economic system and enjoy the blessing of divine prosperity

C. To Have Fulfillment In Life
Man cannot have satisfaction and fulfillment in life, until and unless he grows spiritually, becomes Christ like and begins to do the works that He did. It does not really matter how handsome, strong and healthy. he may be. It does not matter how much of material goods he possesses and how much of comforts he has in life. He may have the best clothes to put on and the most delicious food to eat. On the other hand, he may have all the education that one could have. He may be famous, rich, talented etc. But yet unless he grows spiritually and becomes Christ like, and begins to do His works, he will not have fulfillment in life. The life will be still incomplete. He will be craving for something without knowing what it is. But when a person has grown spiritually and is doing the works of Christ, he will have the satisfaction and fulfillment in life. He will not be seeking anything else in his life. He will only like to continue what he is doing for the rest of his life. Even if the best job in the world is offered, he will not accept it. Only in doing the will of the Father or doing the works of Christ one can have fulfillment in life. There is great joy in serving the Lord. This is the highest calling. When a person begins to serve God, all of his needs shall be well taken care of by God Himself. Their name will be included in the heaven's pay roll and all of their needs shall be met supernaturally. There is excitement and thrill in serving the Lord. A spiritually grown person will also have many rich spiritual experiences. He will be able to operate on the supernatural power and the wisdom of God. He will also be able to love God and man in the biblical way. He will be able to live a three dimensional life. His life will be total and complete. The reason why famous people and wealthy people sometimes commit suicide is that, they do not find fulfillment in their life. They are a little bit frustrated in life with all their wealth and fame. They just do not know what they are missing. There is a God shaped vacuum in them and no one can fill that void in them except God Himself. If God is absent in their life, their life will be a failure no matter what they achieve in their life. 

To have fulfillment in life means and includes the following:
1. Having success in life
2. Having fullness of joy
3. Having satisfaction and contentment in life
4. Having all sufficiency in all things to abound in every good work
5. Enjoying good health
6. Living a long and full life
7. Accomplishing God's will in life

D. To Do The Works Of Christ
Unless and until we grow and mature spiritually, we will not be able to do the works that Jesus did. Doing the works of Christ is the purpose and the sign of spiritual maturity and growth. It is God's plan that every believer should do the works that Jesus did (John 14:12). As pointed out in the earlier section, no one can have fulfillment in life, until and unless he grows spiritually and eventually begins to do the works of Christ. Doing the works of Christ literally includes everything that Jesus did such as preaching the gospel; teaching the Word of God, giving counsel to those with problems, healing the sick, casting the demons, cleansing the lepers, making the lame walk, opening the blind eyes, unstopping the deaf ears, making the dumb speak, raising the dead, performing miracles, ministering to the needs of the people, going about doing good to people all the time, doing the will of the Father, destroying the works of the devil and establishing His kingdom of peace and joy on this earth.

When Jesus Christ was on this earth He did all these things. But now that we are the body of Christ, we have to do the works of Christ. The head does not do the work. The body has to do the works. Jesus is depending upon us one hundred per cent to continue the works that He began two thousand years ago. Unless we do His works, His works cannot be done today, because that is the way God has planned. Unless we give, Jesus cannot give to the poor and the needy. Unless we preach the gospel, no one can hear the gospel. Therefore, we have to be the mouth, ears, eyes, feet and legs of Jesus. We have to literally function as the body of Christ. Unless we grow spiritually to the fullest extent, we cannot do the works of Christ. No one can see Jesus today, unless he sees Jesus in and through us.

In Mark's gospel chapter sixteen we read that these signs shall follow them that believe. In His name they shall cast out demons and they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. While Jesus Christ was still ministering He called another seventy also and sent them out two by two into the villages to do His works. When they came back they said that even the power of enemy was subject unto them. The disciples were able to do literally everything that Jesus was doing, during His ministry.

In order to continue to do the works of Jesus Christ we must do the following:

1. Preach the gospel to the people
2. Minister to the needs of the people
3. Proclaim that Jesus is alive and He has not changed
4. Heal the sick
5. Cast-out the demons and destroy the works of the devil
6. Teach the Word of God
7. Go about doing good to the poor and the needy
8. Give godly counsel to the people who are in trouble
9. Win souls and make disciples for Christ

E. To Obey The Commandments Of God
Without growing spiritually, we cannot obey or fulfill the commandments of God. It is God's purpose, plan, will and commandment that we should do His works, bear the fruits of the spirit, love God and others, live by faith, win souls and disciple others, but we cannot do this without growing spiritually and attaining full maturity. Spiritual growth is not an option, but we are expected to grow spiritually through the process of discipleship. Unless we are discipled first, there is no way we can disciple others. It takes submission, commitment and a lot of discipline to grow spiritually. We have to grow in the love of God to love others. We have to grow in the knowledge of the Word of God to know and obey God's commandments. We have to grow in the wisdom and the power of God to do the works of Christ. We have to grow in the nature and character of Jesus to be a good witness for Him. God has made a plan for us to grow spiritually. He has ordained the method of discipleship for us to grow spiritually. The Holy Spirit also plays a very special role in the process of our spiritual growth. It is the Holy Spirit that enlightens our understanding and gives us wisdom from above; it is the Holy Spirit that engraves upon us the image of Jesus Christ and baptizes us with the love of Christ; and it is the Holy Spirit that enables us to do the very works that Jesus did. While God has commanded us to grow to be like Him, He has made all the provisions for us to grow spiritually. Therefore, we have to take advantage of all the provisions that God has made to enable us to grow spiritually. If someone has not grown spiritually it is only the fault of that individual. We have to realize the importance of spiritual growth and do what we have to do on our part. What we need to do to grow spiritually is discussed in the last section of this book.

The following are some of the great commandments of God that we should obey, and unless we grow and mature spiritually we may not be able to obey them:
1. To love God and our neighbors
2. To fulfill the great commission of going into all the world and preaching the gospel
3. To live a holy and righteous life
4. To forgive those who trespass against us
5. To give liberally and cheerfully
6. To be humble and meek
7. To be gentle and patient
8. To be good
9. To live by faith
10. To exercise self control

F. To Live A Supernatural Life
Another reason why we should grow spiritually is to have some wonderful spiritual experiences. We do not have to limit ourselves only to the physical and intellectual experiences. Because we have a spirit we can grow spiritually and have many real experiences in the spiritual realm. Physically we experience taste, light, sound, smell, etc. Intellectually we experience knowledge, learning, memory, etc. Spiritually also, God has intended us to have many rich and meaningful experiences. This is possible only after we have a spiritual rebirth and spiritual growth. A baby cannot fully experience and enjoy life on this earth. So also, a spiritual baby cannot fully appreciate and enjoy all that is there in the spiritual realm. In the spiritual realm, there is God, his spiritual kingdom, the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Holy Spirit etc. One can experience God and the things of God. Spiritual things can be discerned only spiritually, as the Bible says. Love is a spiritual experience. One cannot love God or others in a true sense, unless they have grown spiritually. So also, peace is a spiritual experience. It is possible to be free from worries and to have the perfect peace of God even now on this earth. The world cannot give peace, but we can experience it as we grow spiritually. Having full joy now on this earth is also a spiritual experience. Believing the Word of God and living by faith is also a spiritual experience. Spiritual experiences are as real as physical experiences.

Giving is also a spiritual act in a true sense. People with a big hand may not give much and on the other hand, people with a small hand may give much. It takes a big heart to give much. Giving sacrificially, cheerfully and generously, and giving the first, the last, and all are spiritual experiences. Some may not have experienced the real joy of giving. Many are interested only in the joy of receiving. The Bible says that it is more blessed to give than to receive. Giving is also an act of worship, an act of honor, an act of faith and an act of love.

Being born again is a spiritual experience. To repent for our sins and to receive the forgiveness of God is a spiritual experience. To take water baptism is a spiritual experience. To have the assurance of eternal life is a spiritual experience. To bury the old and the carnal man and to rise as a new man created in the true holiness and righteousness of God is a spiritual experience. To speak in an unknown tongue as the spirit gives the utterance is a spiritual experience. To exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit is a spiritual experience. To do the works of Christ such as healing the sick, casting the demons and performing miracles are spiritual experiences. To operate on the supernatural power and the wisdom of God is a spiritual experience. To enjoy the supernatural safety, provisions and supply of God is a spiritual experience. To hear the voice of God and the sound of the angelic choir is a spiritual experience. To pray in tongues, to prophesy, to interpret the prophecy are all spiritual experiences. To experience heaven on earth and to literally live in the kingdom of God now reigning and ruling with Christ is a spiritual experience. Enjoying divine prosperity and divine health is a spiritual experience. In order to have all of these experiences and more, one has to grow spiritually. A young and immature Christian cannot have all of these spiritual experiences. When once a person tastes God and the spiritual things, his priorities in life will change. He will be more and more spiritually minded, and less and less carnally minded. He will seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. When he does that, all the other things will be added unto him. Therefore, he will not miss the other things also. The Bible says that what we try to gain that we will lose and what we are willing to lose for the sake of the gospel we will gain. Binding on earth and loosing on earth are also spiritual experiences. Until a person begins to experience all of these spiritual things, he has not really started living. They do not even know what they are missing in life.

The Bible says that life does not consist of the abundance of things that he possesses. The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but it is peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Ghost. The Bible also says, set not your affection on the things of this earth but on the things above, which are spiritual things. The spiritual things are more real and lasting than the physical things. In order to have all of these rich and real spiritual experiences, one should first grow spiritually. Every spiritual experience leads to a higher level of spiritual life.

Living a supernatural life means and includes the following:
1. To operate on God's power
2. To operate on God's wisdom
3. To live in God's kingdom
4. To enjoy divine prosperity
5. To enjoy divine health and healing
6. To enjoy divine protection and safety
7. To overcome all the power of the enemy 

G. To Live An Overcoming And A Victorious Life
Because the spiritual power can transcend the physical and the intellectual realms, the problems that cannot be otherwise handled can be effectively dealt with spiritually. There is not a problem that we cannot solve spiritually. There is not a need that cannot be met with the spiritual power. That is the reason why that a person who has grown spiritually and has become spiritually strong can live a victorious and overcoming life. He can overcome any temptation or trial of the enemy. He can overcome sins, sicknesses, bad habits, weaknesses, worries, fears, doubts and sorrows. Every good gift and blessing comes from God. So also, every evil work is of the devil. Satan is the author of sickness, worry, fear, etc. Therefore, a person who has grown spiritually can effectively battle and overcome the power of the real enemy which is Satan, the evil spirit. A spiritually strong person can overcome the power of the enemy.

In order to live a victorious life we must overcome the following:
1. Sins of this world
2. Satan and his works
3. All kinds of sicknesses
4. Different kinds of fears
5. Temptations
6. Problems
7. Weaknesses

H. To Live A Better Physical And Intellectual Life
The fact that a person gets very spiritual, does not mean that his physical and intellectual life is going to be affected. As a matter of fact, when a person grows spiritually, his physical, social, economic and intellectual lives get better, and a perfect balance is maintained between all of them. One compliments the other rather than one conflicting with the other. In III John 2 we read that I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth. When a person is well spiritually, he will enjoy perfect health and financial prosperity. The spiritual puts the other components of life in their right places. There will be perfect coordination, harmony and balance. People who have grown much spiritually can enjoy their family life better, appreciate and enjoy all aspects of life better and will even have a better mind. The Bible says that we can have the same mind that was in Christ Jesus. When we fill our mind with the Word of God, which is life and spirit, our mind will be renewed and reprogrammed consistent with the Word of God which is truth. Then we can think His thoughts, get His ideas and walk in His ways. Only a person who has grown and developed fully, particularly on the spiritual side, can have a beautiful three dimensional life which will be complete, total and fulfilling.

Having a good physical and intellectual life means and includes the following:
1. Enjoying good health and long life
2. Having all comforts and luxuries in life
3. Having all physical, material and financial needs met
4. Having adequate physical safety and protection
5. Having success in ones profession and career
6. Being able to think creatively
7. Having a sound mind
8. Having the ability to understand and comprehend

I. To Fully Utilize All The Creative Abilities
God is governing and upholding the whole world by His words. His spiritual laws control all the laws of this world. Man is endowed with some extraordinary abilities that only God has and no one else has, such as to think, to speak and to do creative things. Only a person who has grown spiritually, who has grown in the knowledge of the spiritual laws of God and who follows them will be able to live a successful and productive life in terms of planning, setting goals, desiring, dreaming, seeing visions, thinking creatively, speaking creative words of faith, confessing positively and attempting and doing great things for the glory of God and for the blessings of mankind.

The Bible says that for as a man thinketh in his heart so is he (Proverb 23:7). Through creative thinking, man can create things in his life. God has given man extraordinary mind which can be fully developed and used only through spiritual growth by the work of the Holy Spirit. We are not talking about para psychology, mystical power, psychic power or meta physics. The Bible also talks about the tremendous spiritual creative power that is released through the spoken word proceeding out of the mouth as a result of faith in the heart which comes through the hearing of the Word of God. The Bible says in Mark 11:23, he shall have whatever he says. Only a spiritually grown person will have an enlightenment or revelation of these spiritual laws of God which when followed will simply revolutionize his life and do wonders in his life. A spiritually grown man will be the most successful man in this world, because he will be able to do whatever he wants to do. Jesus was the most successful man that ever lived on the face of this earth. He was full of works. He successfully accomplished His mission. He did the impossible things. Ultimately man's success can be measured only in terms of the creative things that he does in his life; developing his ideas and making them a reality; having his desires fulfilled; achieving his goals; carrying out his plans successfully; having his needs met; and realizing his full potential.

Using ones creative abilities fully means and includes the following:
1. To have dreams and visions come true
2. To have all desires fulfilled
3. To make plans and carry them out
4. To set goals and achieve them
5. To pioneer and develop ministries according  to God's will and have fulfillment in life
6. To be sensitive to the needs of the people and meet them through some programs
7. To do what one can imagine or visualize

J. To Reign And Rule With Christ
John 1:12 says that as many as received Him to them gave He the power to become the sons of God. Ultimately this is the test of full spiritual growth. If a person grows spiritually to the fullest extent, he will become a son of God in its fullest sense. He will literally begin to rule and reign with Christ even now in the Kingdom of God, and during the millennium he will be a ruler over a city or some political subdivision. Becoming the son of God means being a heir of God and a joint heir with Jesus Christ, and having his authority and power. It is being seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. It is the highest status any one can have in this world, next to the position of Jesus. It is to be the son of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, the creator of the whole universe, and to have a close relationship with Him, walking and talking with him daily and enjoying all the privileges and the rights of the son of God.

Reigning and ruling with Christ means and includes the following things:
1. Exercising authority over Satan
2. Creating by speaking the Word of God
3. Extending the kingdom of God
4. Destroying the works of the devil
5. Maintaining peace and order
6. Establishing righteousness and justice
7. Serving as an ambassador for Christ

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