Genesis 8: 22
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Life operates on the principles of sowing and reaping. This principle implies that:
Whatever we give concerted attention to ultimately produces results, while anything we neglect slowly fades away.
We determine the magnitude of our result by how much effort we put in.
2 Corinthians 9: 6 ERV
Remember this: The one who plants a few seeds will have a small harvest. But the one who plants a lot will have a big harvest.
These facts are even more true as it concerns our spiritual growth. We grow spiritually (and by extension, in all areas of life) only if/when we make concerted effort to do so. Also, if we do not commit to our spiritual growth, we do not just stagnate, we begin to regress.
Luke 8: 18 AMPC
Be careful therefore how you listen. For to him who has [spiritual knowledge] will more be given; and from him who does not have [spiritual knowledge], even what he thinks and guesses and supposes that he has will be taken away.
Ever met individuals who were once on fire for God but now act/think less than the most ignorant Christian? They stopped putting in the effort to grow and slowly began to regress.
Our Father never intended for life to be a struggle. He never intended for His people to break down at the face of every/any adversity. Jesus' life on earth is the example to emulate and outperform. However, despite God's best intentions for His people, we cannot live His planned level of life for us unless we grow daily.
Ephesians 4: 13 & 14
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
We must understand this. The devil is not a formidable foe; neither are the challenges/adversities of life insurmountable. Defeated, hopeless, bitter and confused Christians exist because they refused/failed to put in the required effort to grow spiritually.
Listen to me! Your spiritual growth is not just your sole responsibility (not your pastor's, family's, friends', mentors'). You also determine how much (or how quickly) you grow. The more effort you put in, the higher your spiritual growth.
Now we have established the importance of putting in the effort to grow spiritually, let us answer the question of what is this effort required to grow spiritually?
We see from scriptures that there are only two things that lead to our spiritual growth:
1. The Word of God
1 Peter 2: 2 AMP
like newborn babies [you should] long for the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may be nurtured and grow in respect to salvation [its ultimate fulfilment]
2. Speaking in Tongues.
Jude 1: 20 & 21 MSG
But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the centre of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!
Now the scriptures state that while speaking in tongues, one of the things that happen is that we are speaking the hidden truths of God. These truths (mysteries) when interpreted, whether within our spirit or through our vocal cords, leads to our growth (edification).
1 Corinthians 14: 2 & 5 AMP
For one who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to people but to God; for no one understands him or catches his meaning, but by the Spirit he speaks mysteries [secret truths, hidden things]... unless he translates or explains [what he says], so that the church may be edified [instructed, improved, strengthened].
Thus, we can see that the only path to spiritual growth is through the revelation of the Word of God.
2 Corinthians 3: 18 AMPC
And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.
We spiritually grow when we interact with the Words of life, and we progress to the degree of our interaction. Now, because we exist in time, we can say the more time we spend in the Word, the more we grow. However, it is not about the length of time spent studying. What counts is how much of it is believed and accepted within that time.
Hebrews 4: 2
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.
In the parable of the sower, we see something noteworthy about the seeds that fell on the good grounds. Some brought forth thirtyfold, some sixtyfold and others a hundredfold. The rate of fruitfulness varied.
Mathew 13: 8 AMP
Other seed fell on good soil and yielded grain, some a hundred times as much [as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.
Why the variation you ask?
It is the response to the Word of God that makes the difference. The difference lies in how it was received.
Now you may think, I would put in the effort to grow some other time. Right now, I need to finish XYZ first. Since it is all up to me, I can start anytime that is convenient. Right? Wrong!!
Do not forget that the longer you wait, the worse off you become. You do not just stagnate. You depreciate. You do not want that, do you?
Moreover, Jesus said, "I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work " (John 9: 4 NKJV). Also, there is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1 AMP).
At the right season, everything comes easily, and some things are impossible out of season. For example, it is possible to plant crops that require a lot of water during a dry season (through irrigation). However, it is much easier if it is done during the rainy season.
God has appointed this season as a period for our spiritual replenishment. The host of heaven and the unction is readily at your service to make your spiritual growth the easiest and sweetest it has ever been. Do not miss this rainy season!
Our sabbath year is an opportunity to make a concerted effort (or put in more effort) towards your spiritual growth.
Isaiah 40: 31 AMPC
But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
We encourage you to see this season as a time to catch up (indicated by mounting up with wings and running) on your spiritual walk and then ultimately maintaining this depth in God(walk).
How then can you make the most of this season?
God gave us two ways to connect to the grace that is at work this season:
1. Fast daily
If it is feasible, commit to a daily fast. You are to fast for as long as you can (no duration of fasting recommended). The purpose of a fast is to cut off the distractions/pleasures of this world so that we can focus on the Father.
Even if you are unable to fast, spend each day with the consciousness that you are on a spiritual exercise. Cut down your interaction with your environment (people, movies, etc.) and use the recouped time to fellowship with God.
If you are working all day, you can spend your break time fellowshipping with God rather than working or discussing with your colleagues. Let the idea that you are on a one-year transformation exercise dominate your thoughts and actions.
2. Spend at least an hour a day in the Word
We have seen that spiritual growth is impossible without the Word of God. During this period, commit to hearing/reading the Word of God for at least one hour a day. You can do this just before you go to bed, immediately you wake up from bed or at any convenient time. You can listen to a teaching, read a book or study the Bible, but ensure you make daily contact with God through His Word.
Recall that it is not about the quantity of truth heard but the amount accepted and believed. Hence, do not be a passive listener.
James 1: 22 - 24 MSG
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.
To assist you with your fast, we also share materials daily in our online community. Contents shared include teachings from other ministries, book excerpts, etc. We also hold live meetings periodically.
We intend to guide you to focus on the key areas of your spiritual growth. We desire that what we share in the community would act as your study materials for your daily one hour study.
May this season be a time of great transformation in your life, In Jesus' Name, Amen!