How to Develop Spiritually

Most people are busy, very busy. There is enough in life to carry you along. But if you allow the currents of your life to just bear you along, if you don’t intentionally set yourself to grow beyond yourself, you will become nothing more than a rocking chair believer. You know what a rocking chair believer is? It is one who sits in the same chair, the same place every day. If you are not growing, if you are stuck in a chair whose only activity is back and forth, all you will do for your constant going is wear out the carpet. In order to become more than that, in order to move forward with significant progress, you have to do so with intention. You have to do growth on purpose.

Matthew 28:19–20 (KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

What Making Disciples Is

  • It is pouring the life that you live into someone else.
  • It is sharing your growth with people.
  • Teaching is your growth on display.
  • It should not be your knowledge on display.
  • The power is not in what you know.
  • The power is in what you walk in.
  • This is the epitome of the Christian life, Jesus poured His life out for us and we pour our lives into others.
  • Discipling is not just teaching someone the principles you read in a book.
  • The book you have read represents the life that author should be living.
  • When you are pouring your life into someone, teach them what you have learned from the Word. Teach people the portions of the Bible that you have actually learned and have used or are using.

Old and New Treasure

Matthew 13:52 (KJV)
52 Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

  • Look at the scribe mentioned in this verse in Matthew.
  • Scribes made the study and the teaching of the law the center of their life.
  • The scribes of the New Testament were scholars trained in the application of the Torah 1.
  • But what was a scribe originally?
  • He was a writer.
  • Every writer about the things of God, the kingdom of heaven, is like a householder.
  • Every scholarly student of God’s Word is a treasure storing householder.
  • These householders bring out of their storehouses, new and old treasure.
  • Literally they brought out, old coins and newly minted coins; old money and new money.

QUESTION: When reading a book from a Christian author what kind of treasure is it? New or old?

  • If you already know it and are using it or have used it, it is old treasure.
  • If you don’t know it, that is if what you are reading is brand new to you, it is not ‘new treasure’ until it is put into use.
  • New treasure is new knowledge put into practice.
  • So then, teaching or ‘new treasure’ is your message to people “Come watch how I am growing.”
  • Or, “Come and see how I have grown” which is old treasure.
  • Teaching should never be come and see what I know.

1 Corinthians 8:1 (ESV)
1 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.

The Dangers of Unapplied or Unused Knowledge

  • The good doctor Luke gives us a ‘Jesus picture’ of the danger of unused knowledge.

Luke 6:46–49 (KJV)
46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

  • Everything hinges on the using.
  • Everything hinges on the putting into motion the Word.
  • Pastor James, in his letter, also warns us of the danger of unused knowledge.

James 3:1 (ESV)
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

  • How are you going to avoid greater judgment?
  • How is one going to keep himself on the right side of greater strictness?
  • There is only one way, by living what you preach and only preaching what you live.
  • If you do that, you don’t have to be concerned about James 3:1.
  • Ministry, discipling, teaching, is sharing your growth with people.
  • If you grow, people you know, will know.
  • For maximum impact, the man must be the message.
  • Walking the walk and talking the talk is the standard.
  • If you can’t walk what you have read in a book, no matter who wrote it, don’t talk it.

QUESTION: Is the man of the message?

  • Is the man away from the crowd, the same as the man with the crowd?
  • Do you live what you preach?
  • One well known minister used to take three years to prove out a revelation before he taught it.
  • Teaching should be an unfolding of your life’s walk.
  • It should be a sharing of your life principles in an open setting.

What the Scribes Did

  • Did you notice what the scribes did?
  • They were continually trying to minister and hold on to old things, old treasure.
  • What did Jesus bring to the table?
  • Jesus brought new things, new treasure.

Matthew 5:21–22 (ESV)
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

  • ‘You have heard’ was old treasure.
  • ‘But I say unto you’ is Jesus attempt to share new treasure.
  • The scribes, the Pharisees, the teachers of the law rejected the new treasure that Jesus brought out of His storehouse and when they did, they stopped growing.

Growing In God

ILLUSTRATION: The Talking Parrot
Professor and preacher Ernest Campbell tells a story about a lonely woman who purchased a parrot from a pet store. After only one day of having it, she returned to the store and told the storekeeper how disappointed she was with it. “That parrot hasn’t said a word yet!” she lamented. “Does it have a mirror?” asked the storekeeper. “Parrots like to be able to look at themselves in the mirror.” So the lady bought a mirror and returned home. The next day she was back again, reporting that the bird still wasn’t speaking. “What about a ladder?” the storekeeper asked. “Parrots enjoy walking up and down a ladder.” So the parrot owner bought a ladder and returned home. On the third day, she was back again with the same complaint. “Does the parrot have a swing?” was the shopkeeper’s solution. “Birds enjoy relaxing on a swing.” She bought the swing and went home. The next day she returned to the store and announced that the bird had died. “I’m terribly sorry to hear that,” said the storekeeper. “Did the bird ever say anything before it died?” “Yes,” said the lady. “It said, ‘Don’t they sell any food down there?’ ” 2.

  • Talking parrots need food.
  • Talking disciples of Jesus need food also.
  • Do you have a plan to grow?
  • Having a place to teach is the easy part. Having something worth saying is an entirely different matter.
  • Everything in life totally and completely depends on growing.
  • Are you growing daily?
  • What are you doing to grow daily?
  • We should never give days away.
  • Money can be recouped.
  • You can make a successful investment and make up misspent money.
  • But, you can never make up misspent time.
  • Time is more valuable than money.

Ephesians 5:15–16 (ESV)
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

  • Don’t give days away.
  • Redeem the time because the days are evil.
  • No one ever grows by waiting around and saying I don’t have time, you only grow by heading out in that direction.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, used to ask each other a question whenever they met. The question was, “What have your learned since we last met?”

  • Or we could ask the same question in Jesus words, “What new treasure have you added to your storehouse since we last met?”

Practical Growing Principles: Discipline

  • Discipline provides the foundation for growth.
  • When most people here the word ‘discipline’ they think of a life that is constricted, a life that is confining. Basically, a life with no fun.
  • But, this is a misnomer about discipline.
  • Discipline is the sprint part of the race of life.
  • You only need discipline for short bursts.
  • You need discipline to overcome the inertia of flat lined or plateaued development.
  • You need to maintain a disciplined approach to growing long enough to establish the habit of growing.
  • Once you establish the habit of growing, the habit will take you the rest of the way.
  • Habits require little energy to maintain.
  • Habits can become ritualistic to such a degree that you just do them automatically.
  • You don’t have to discipline yourself, make yourself do a habit.
  • So, “Do I have to live a continually disciplined life?” No, you just have to have enough discipline to create a habit.
  • Having a growth mindset, must become a habit.
  • Habits, once established become part of the core and routine of your life.
  • Research shows that it takes sixty-six days to establish a habit 3 not 21 days.
  • Consider some of the routines that you have in your life.
  • What things do you do every single day?
  • Do you brush your teeth every day?
  • Is that a routine or habit in your life?
  • Do you think about brushing your teeth or do you just do it?
  • Do you do it every day at the same time every day?
  • Think about your everyday routines.
  • When you get up, do you make coffee?
  • Is that your routine?
  • You do that every day without thinking.
  • Ask yourself, “How did these routines that are so apart of the fabric of my life get to become a part of the fabric of my life?”
  • How were they established?
  • By doing it every single day, most of the time at the same time every day.
  • Growth needs to become a habit like brushing teeth or making your morning coffee.
  • So, it’s not learning how to teach or knowing the mechanics of putting Bible lessons together.
  • It’s learning how to grow that is important.

1 Timothy 4:12 (KJV)
12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Practical Growing Principles: Walking with the Wise

Prov. 13:20 (KJV)
20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: But a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

  • In order to grow, find someone ahead of you and hook up with them.
  • Most wise people are not physically available to you but their books are.
  • If you can read some, you can grow some.
  • But, you have to do it every day.
  • You have to establish the habit for sixty-six days.
  • So, now let’s go back to the question. ‘What have you learned since we last met?’
  • This question can now be stated as “What have you read since the last time we met?”

Call to Action:

What is your personal reading plan? If time is a factor, you can use Audible to read books. You can read books in the car. Take a piece of paper and sit down and map out all of the available time gaps that you have during the day. Map out for yourself, your breaks, your lunches at work, your morning AM time, your PM time when you came home from work. Map it out and find those pockets of time and fill them with growth related activity. Why should you read? If you can read some, you can grow some. But, you have to have a plan. You have to have an intentional plan. You have to redeem the time. This is how you do it. Map out the time and fill it with the right activity.

QUESTION: What is your personal growth plan for developing spiritually in Christ? Please share that in the comments section below.



  1. D. A. Hagner, “Scribes,” ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 361
  2. Maxwell, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth 87
  3. One Thing, Gary Keller