Whether you’ve been following Jesus for a day or several decades, and even if you’re not yet sure you can call yourself a believer, one thing is true: all of life is about growth. Our physical, emotional, and mental growth are all important, but our spiritual growth is most important of all.

What is spiritual growth?

One way to understand spiritual growth is to consider what Luke says about Jesus. He writes, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52, NIV). All of life is lived before God, and spiritual growth is about growing deeper in your awareness of who God is and living a life that pleases Him.

This includes how you relate to the people around you. Jesus grew in favor both with the Lord and with people. He was living out the commands to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40).

Ways to nurture it.

The spiritual embraces all of life, not just what happens in spaces that relate to prayer and certain religious practices. The Holy Spirit leads you in all of life, not just in how you pray and fast. Everything that comprises our lives is fodder for the Holy Spirit to mold us and have us look and act more and more like Jesus.

No area of life is either off-limits to the Holy Spirit or irrelevant to His guidance. This is one reason why Paul writes that we are to “live by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16, NIV). Life happens during the week and outside the sanctuary walls.

Some of the ways you can go about nurturing spiritual growth include the following:

Watch what you feed your mind.

Your body and mind are not divorced from your spirituality. The Bible says a lot about what you think and keeping a close eye on what goes on in your mind. Your thoughts have a profound impact on your well-being, and you ought to guard them and train them on the things that please the Lord (Philippians 4:6-8; Proverbs 4:23, 23:7).

Nurture your physical and mental well-being.

Your physical well-being matters, too. Disciplines such as prayer and fasting teach us to keep our bodies under control and help us to not be ruled by them. Paul puts it this way: “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27, ESV).

Taking care of your body is a spiritual practice because God made the body, and the body belongs to Him (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). What you do with it matters, including whether you subject it to harmful substances and practices.

Also, have you ever noticed how much harder it is to keep your temper in check when you’re hungry or running on little sleep? The deep connections between mind, body, and spirit mean that taking care of one helps in your pursuit of the other.

Have role models.

Practices such as reading Scripture, fellowship with others, prayer, fasting, and service toward others all help to develop new ways of thinking, feeling, and being in the world. What becomes apparent after a while is that there’s great benefit in having role models or mentors in the faith. This is a person whose life before the Lord is appealing because of their love of the Lord and others. They haven’t arrived (after all, who has?) but their journey of faith is one you admire.

The letter to the Philippians is replete with the idea of having role models in the life of faith. Chief among these is Jesus Himself, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 2:1-11). Other role models such as Timothy and Epaphroditus are put forward.

Paul says of Timothy that he is genuinely concerned for the welfare of others, and he is preoccupied with the interests of Jesus Christ, not his own (Philippians 2: 19-24). Role models and mentors help us to see what’s possible.

The life of faith is not meant to be a solitary one. Reach out and talk to a Christian life coach or a counselor if you desire a richer life of spiritual growth. They can help you set priorities for your growth, explore areas with setbacks, and develop tools to overcome challenges.

“Lamp”, Courtesy of Vladimir Fedotov, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Man with Lamp”, Courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash.com, Unsplash+ License