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essay: Stages of Spiritual Growth

July 19, 2014

2 Tim 4:7-8  “I have fought a good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the doctrine.  In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not to me only, but to all [winners] who love His appearing.”

                          The Stages of Spiritual Growth

 

The Childhood Stages of Spiritual Growth:

(1) The Filling of the Holy Spirit

This is the power gate for the believer in the Church Age (Acts 1:8 1Cor. 2:4–5). We access this power by naming our sins to God, which puts us back into fellowship ( sins take us out; naming them to God puts us back in).

(2) Basic Christian Modus Operandi

Naming one’s sins to God (called rebound—1John 1:9 1Cor. 11:31), the faith rest drill, objectivity vs. subjectivity (being willing to accept revealed truth as opposed to holding onto our inner truth).

(3) Enforced and genuine humility

This is submission to legitimate authority.
Enforced humility: Begins at home. Parents use discipline to teach their children humility. Purpose: give child a chance to succeed in life after he leaves home.
Genuine humility: originates from the perception of doctrine under the three stages: reception, the gnosis stage. retention, the epignosis stage. recall, the application of doctrine to all experiences stage. absolutely essential for advance in the plan of God. provides the teachability necessary for the inculcation of doctrine.

(4) Spiritual Momentum

Perception and application of Bible doctrine. All believers in the Church Age have the ability to understand Bible doctrine; and God has made it available (although there are a limited number of doctrinal churches, there is a surfeit of accurate information on the internet). At this stage, the believer begins to apply doctrine to their life and to their day-to-day situations.
This might be seen as the adolescent stage of spiritual growth.
Adult stages of spiritual growth:

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The Adult Stages of Spiritual Growth:

(5) Spiritual Self Esteem and Motivational virtue

Personal love for God. Beginning to develop occupation with Christ and a personal sense of destiny, recognizing that we are in a plan and a conflict which is much greater than we are.

(6) Spiritual Autonomy and Functional Virtue

Impersonal love toward all mankind (that is, you do not have to work up emotional feelings about people in general).
These two stages appear to work in tandem, rather than one proceeding from the other. Doctrine is in your human soul cycling throughout, so that you interact properly with people (we are given a human soul in order to interact with people). Doctrine is in your human spirit so that you interact correctly we God (We love Him because He first loved us.). Our human spirit is given for fellowship with God; it is the repository of doctrinal information.

(7) Momentum Testing

This is illustrated in Job 1–2 with disaster testing, where Job’s life is ruined, and yet he responds to God through the doctrine of his soul. This can involve people testing, system testing, disaster testing and/or thought testing. Quite obviously, believers respond to disaster testing differently, depending upon their stage of spiritual growth. Job’s wife is facing some of the same things that Job faces, and she responds quite differently to it. Therefore, in month two, as a believer, you do not ask God for this kind of testing. Paul, of the ministry that he and his fellow travelers had: But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies (2Cor. 4:7–10). My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfecting work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing (James 1:2–4: VW).
This is exactly where we are in Job’s spiritual state. We are at momentum testing.

(8) Spiritual Maturity

The tests above not only bring out what is in the soul, but they act as reenforcement for the divine viewpoint which we have developed (the renovation of our thinking, as per Rom. 12:1–2), as well as an acceleration of spiritual growth.

2 Tim 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight.  I have finished the course.  I have kept the doctrine.  In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not to me only, but to all [winners] who love His appearing.”