WHAT ARE SOME TIPS FOR FASTER SPIRITUAL GROWTH?
by Shawn Brasseaux
In this Bible study, we will provide five critical (!), invaluable (!) tips that this author has discovered over the course of his Christian life these last nearly 25 years. This advice enabled him to escape the shackles of religious tradition (denominationalism) and exit the spiritual nursery. Doubtless, he is thoroughly honored and delighted to share that guidance with you now! (If he had the time to rewrite these statements 50,000 times, he would do so to drive these points home with you. They cannot be emphasized enough. They cannot be stressed enough. They cannot be underscored enough.) Dear saint, prayerfully consider these suggestions. They are well (!) worth (!) your attention!
1. DAILY (!), PERSONAL (!) EXPOSURE TO SCRIPTURE IS CHIEF!
Acts 17:10-11 reports, “And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Our spiritual body should be growing as it consumes the Word of God daily (daily!): “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).
Daily (!) repetition (!) of (!) Scripture (!) is essential to proper spiritual growth. It is not enough to read the Bible once or twice a week. The only time many people read Scripture is when they attend church services—and, frankly, their ignorance shows. All they are able to do is quote their preacher, priest, or church/denomination. They cannot think about the Scriptures themselves, or teach it to others. It is an unfamiliar Book to them, far too mysterious and intimidating for them to handle. Hence, they are trapped in spiritual childishness. This is most unfortunate… and Almighty God is not to blame!
Christian friend, as an English-speaking person, you should read (!) the Authorized Version King James Bible every (!) day (!). It contains every verse that belongs in the Bible, every verse is based on the correct Hebrew and Greek texts, and every verse has been translated using the proper techniques. Older English, while more difficult to learn, is actually purer and more descriptive than modern English. Never forget that, regardless of who may tell you otherwise, the King James Bible is theologically and linguistically superior to modern English translations! It is your connection to your Protestant forefathers, going straight back to the Apostle Paul. Never forget that it is the text that the Roman Catholic Church so vehemently opposed during the Reformation, and resists still!
Moreover, you should also study (!) the King James Bible every (!) day (!). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). If you are to gain the profit God the Holy Spirit put into His Word, you must compare verses with verses, and remember their dispensational settings as you go. Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), the Lord Jesus Christ’s spokesman to us today in this “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:1-2). Romans through Philemon, the Holy Spirit writing through the Apostle Paul, describes God’s purpose and plan for us today as members of the Church the Body of Christ. The most basic Book for Christian living today is Romans. Never forget that!
Remember, we are not in a competition with others. We do not aim to see if we can read or learn more Scripture than anyone else and everyone else. Some souls strive to read through the Bible two or three or four times a year—and this is often nothing but grounds for vain boasting. This author knows of people who have read through the Bible four times a year, for many years, and they are still beginners in the Scriptures and Christian living. He even knows a brother who read through the Bible nearly 200 times—and that man holds to some extremely bizarre doctrines. If you want to read the Bible through several times a year, fine, but that does not necessarily equal spirituality. Unless you are willing to first cast off your denominational biases and continue purifying your mind with Scripture verses, continual Bible reading will profit you nothing.
It is not enough to own a Bible; you need a King James Bible.
It is not enough to read a King James Bible; you need to study it.
It is not enough to study a King James Bible; you need to rightly divide it.
It is not enough to rightly divide a King James Bible; you need to believe it.
It is not enough to believe a King James Bible; you need to teach it.
It is not enough to teach a King James Bible; you need to guard it.
It is not enough to hold a King James Bible; you need to never (!) surrender it!
Never, ever forget that, dear saint! Never!
2. BE WILLING TO BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT!
Do not hesitate to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) and “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). Let us pause for a moment here and clarify these terms that denominationalism has wholly abused. This is not (!) some fuzzy feeling, an emotional high, an occasion for jumping pews, an utterance or prayer of gibberish, a dancing episode, an inner impression, or a time for raising hands. Being filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit are: (1) our submission to God the Holy Spirit as He teaches us when we read the Bible for ourselves, and (2) our yielding to Him so He takes those verses and makes them a reality in our lives. In short, it is our reckoning of our old identity or sin (Adamic) nature as having no control over us, and our recognizing our complete victory over sin as we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of the principles of God’s grace.
Romans chapters 6–8 go into great detail about how we are “in Christ”—dead to sin and alive unto God. In your own time, read them carefully and prayerfully. As the Holy Spirit uses the Holy Scriptures to renew our mind (see 1 Corinthians 2:1-16), He will cause Christ’s life to be lived in and through us. That existence is described in chapters 12–16, among other places (Ephesians 5:19–6:9, Galatians 5:13–6:10, Ephesians 4:17-32, et cetera). Consult also the Book of Titus, which can be summarized in chapter 2, verses 11-15: “ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”
3. LOCATE PREACHERS AND TEACHERS WHO ARE GROWING AT A STEADY, REASONABLE RATE!
One of the most ignored keys to increased maturation in the Word of God is the avoidance of preachers and teachers who themselves are not making steady, reasonable progress in their own understanding of the Scriptures. It is common sense to conclude that a preacher or teacher who is immature in the Word cannot mature anyone else in the Word. If he is maturing in the Word, but moving at a “snail’s pace,” you cannot expect him to help you grow any faster either. This author came to terms with that reality long ago.
For years, both in denominational groups and grace circles, this author sat under men who were growing far too slow for him or who had stopped growing entirely in the Bible. He hungered to learn more so he could then teach others more, so he had to break away from these ministries. These men brought him as far as they could in the Scriptures, and he will always be grateful to the Lord for them. However, they had (have) blind spots and he was (is) willing to see light they had (have) overlooked. He was (is) willing to study Bible passages they never seemed (seem) to touch. Moreover, he was (is) desiring to go deeper into the verses than they went (go). Once he separated from them, his spiritual growth skyrocketed. Even now, he yearns to grow more in the Scriptures, better understanding His Father’s purpose and plan for him, that he may tell as many people as he possibly can about how it is God’s purpose and plan for them too.
Furthermore, we must be careful associating with ministries led by people who “cannot see the forest from the trees.” In other words, they become so bogged down or involved in details that they lose sight of the whole matter. How unfortunate it is that we have church leaders going into so much detail that they spend five or more years teaching a single Bible Book (a task that should have taken less). At that rate, their congregation will not finish the entire canon of Scripture within their lifetime! In fact, a brother in Christ just shared with this author the fact that a pastor he knew spent 10 hours (10 Sundays) introducing his latest sermon project. By the time the pastor finished the introduction, the brother could not even remember the point of the project!
To any church leaders who are reading this, let us provide a word of caution. Over the years, through personal preaching and teaching (audible and written), this author has learned to deliver sermons and pen Bible studies that stay on-topic and get to the point. Clarity and conciseness are absolutely critical when it comes to the Bible, for enough people are frustrated and confused in the Scriptures. Indeed, it can be quite tempting to detour into all kinds of tangential or unrelated matters. While a joke or illustration will indeed lighten and brighten the mood, they can get out of hand rather easily, so greatly limit jokes or illustrations unless they are absolutely necessary. Some men in the pulpit gain a reputation for telling numerous jokes and/or relating countless stories, and precious time is wasted on foolishness when the eternal words of God could have gone forth and strengthened weak souls and enlightened darkened minds!
We turn to Ephesians chapter 4 to learn the purpose of the local assembly: “ And he [the ascended Lord Jesus Christ] gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
Precious Christian friend, if you sit under the ministries of teachers and preachers who are growing slowly in the Word, do not expect to fare any better in your understanding. Should you choose to remain in that assembly and abide in that atmosphere, you will have to do your own personal Bible study if you expect to reach spiritual maturity. Attending such assemblies will eventually become counterproductive, so be advised if you prefer to stay there.
4. AVOID AS MANY STUMBLINGBLOCKS AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN!
Get as far away as possible from people who will hinder your spiritual growth—and that would include denominational Christians and even some so-called “grace” people. Their carnality or fleshliness will serve as a stumblingblock to you, an occasion to sin in doctrine and/or deed. Mark these words, dear friend, and never forget them: you will eventually be ensnared (1 Corinthians 15:33-34). Do not take this lightly, or you will live to regret it. Continue uniting with these groups or individuals at your own spiritual peril!
First Corinthians chapter 5 cautions us to avoid unruly, sinful Christian brethren, lest they inspire us to join them in their ungodly activities. Local churches should especially deal with sin in their midst; otherwise, it spread to infect the whole group. “ It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
“ Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:  Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:  Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.  But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”
Not only must we watch out for people who will negatively impact us with their wicked behavior, we have to exercise caution not to fellowship with people who will negatively influence us with their false teaching (denominationalism, church tradition). If it is not the Bible rightly divided, it is bad doctrine, and we have no (!) business (!) whatsoever (!) getting involved with it or its supporters!! Mark these words well, dear Christian friend, mark them well.
Galatians chapter 5 contains God the Holy Spirit’s rebuke of grace believers following false teachers (legalists, people who use the Bible [Moses] but do not rightly divide it): “ Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.  I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.” Bad doctrine is like leaven or yeast; it spreads to contaminate the whole group! If we are not vigilant, non-dispensational Bible study will not only destroy our local assembly, it will obliterate our spiritual edification and Christian life. Never underestimate the great lengths Satan will go to thwart God’s work!
5. LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE TO WORLDLY WISDOM!
King Solomon expressed his frustration in Ecclesiastes 12:12: “And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” The entire Book of Ecclesiastes is a record of how Solomon dabbled in a variety of philosophical observations and speculations. He had investigated the world through human (fleshly) eyes. Solomon sought happiness and fulfillment in all kinds of places. Upon the conclusion of his experiment, he wound up throughly disoriented and utterly disappointed. He witnessed events he wished he had not. Solomon got involved with all sorts of temporary pleasures—only to end up completely confused and immensely disturbed. Wholly exhausted and immeasurably burdened, Solomon is now an old man. Having wasted his life with nonsense, he is frail and dying, attempting to reason with his son not to repeat his mistakes. Many Christians, had they learned this lesson, would not be in the spiritual mess they are currently in.
Friend, “weariness” will afflict you too if you spend too much time thinking like a lost person when you should be concentrating on the Scriptures. In today’s world, so many authorities and sources of information competing with the Bible for our loyalty. There are myriads of distractions at every turn and around every corner, all vying for our attention. Here again is Satan’s evil world system, attempting to seduce us as it did Solomon 3,000 years ago. We must be on guard, or our edification will be ruined. Be careful!
When this life is over, the average Christian will have squandered years upon years—yea, decades upon decades—watching television, surfing the internet, gossiping on the telephone, reading theology books, and so on, when they could have been studying their Bible. Their inner man will be so polluted with spiritual garbage. Ignorant of the things of God, they will be experts in conspiracy theories, rumors, opinions, speculations, amusement, hunches, and so on. Hopefully, dear Christian friend, you will not be one of these miserable souls! You may not realize it now, but it will greatly help you if you heed these warnings. One day, you will look back on this and be so thankful that you paid attention here.
As we started off this article, so we draw it to a close. Reading and studying the Bible itself are vital. This cannot be emphasized enough. Familiarize yourself with your Heavenly Father’s words, especially the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon. Start in the Book of Romans. Read—and most importantly, believe in your heart—what you read! It will make a positive difference in your thoughts and life if you let it!
SUPPLEMENTAL: SOME PARTING COUNSEL
Philippians chapter 3 tells us to press onward in spiritual growth: “ Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;  If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
“ Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.  Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
“ Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
Philippians describes the Christian life as a race being run. We Christians see the finish line—the prize or goal (Jesus Christ living His life in and through us)—and we want to reach it. That is, we are athletes in the spiritual world and we must therefore cast off whatever weighs us down or holds us back from attaining that goal—“heavy clothing,” “junk food,” “obesity,” et cetera. The circumcision saints, Israel’s believing remnant, are encouraged to do the same in Hebrews chapter 12: “ Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”
First Timothy chapter 4 is the Apostle Paul writing to and about us members of the Church the Body of Christ: “ If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.  But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.  For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.  These things command and teach.”
It is absolutely imperative (!), Christian friend, that you train yourself in the right doctrine (what produces “godliness”), or your inner man will be malnourished and unable to run the race of Philippians chapter 3! If you do not divorce yourself as much as possible from the aforementioned encumbrances—spiritual junk food (denominational teaching, false doctrine) and bad spiritual influences (immature or carnal believers, as well as lost people)—you will regret it. Your Christian life will die, unable to function. God’s best to you, friend! 🙂
» What are “evil communications” in 1 Corinthians 15:33?
» Can you explain Philippians 3:14?
» What is the Lord’s will for my Christian life?
» How do I know if I am maturing in the Word of God?