4 Practical Ways to Grow Spiritually in the Coming Year | alyssajhoward.com

4 Practical Ways to Grow Spiritually in the Coming Year

Growing up is a part of life. But truth be told, it is often easier said than done. Growth is hard. It can even be painful at times. We go through difficulties, persevere through trials, and learn what to do (and often what not to do) in varying circumstances. As hard as it can be to grow, can you imagine what life would be like if we didn’t? We need growth. God designed us for growth. While one of the most common ways to grow spiritually is through trials (Romans 5:3-4, James 1:2-4), there are definitely other things we can do to initiate growth in our walk with Christ. Are you ready to take some practical steps to grow spiritually in the coming year?

4 Practical Ways to Grow Spiritually in the Coming Year | alyssajhoward.com

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. – Matthew 5:6


Spend more time with Jesus.

This goes without saying… but the best way to grow in your relationship with God is to spend more time with Him. This is true in all relationships. The more time you spend with someone, the better relationship you will have. So what does this look like in action?

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This is one of my favorite Scriptures. Pray without ceasing… We communicate with God through prayer,  but the truth is that He is always with us, even after we say “Amen.” We can be in constant communication with God everywhere we go and in everything we do. The key is remember that He is always there. Your time with Jesus isn’t limited to your quiet prayer times. You can talk to Him and share with Him all day, every day.


Follow the Holy Spirit’s lead.

Comforter. Helper. Teacher. These words and so much more describe the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. – John 14:26

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 3:18

The main purpose of the Holy Spirit involves our transformation and growth. He teaches, guides, and comforts us as we grow in Christ. So if you are longing for spiritual growth in your life, relying on the Holy Spirit’s lead is not only important, but it’s essential. In fact, apart from Him, it’s impossible to grow.


Commit to regular Bible study.

Here’s the truth… spending time with Jesus and studying the Bible are two separate things entirely. Now for many, these times are often joined together. We spend time in prayer before and/or after our time spent studying the Bible. But in the end, it’s important that we have both components in our lives if we desire spiritual growth.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16-17

I have found in my own personal walk that I study the Bible in a couple of different ways. Sometimes I read and simply allow the Holy Spirit to work and reveal His heart to me. This time of devotion spent with God allows me to listen to what God has to say to me personally through His Word.

But then there are times when I study the Bible in a different way. While in seminary, I developed a love and passion for understanding the Bible the way the original readers would have read it. I love learning about the history and the culture in which Paul and the early Christians lived. It is during these times of study that I look more closely at the text. I not only research history and culture, but I look up words in their original context and language. Understanding the Bible through this cultural lens has challenged my spiritual growth in ways I never could have imagined.


Develop relationships with fellow believers.

If we’re being honest, this step towards spiritual growth is easier for some than others. For those of us who enjoy being social and developing friendships, surrounding ourselves with other Believers is fairly easy. But if you’re like me, an introvert at heart, it can be hard to open up enough to grow spiritually in this way. I also personally find that time is often against me. I fill my day with so many activities and tasks that I have very little time left to develop real friendships.

But the truth is that throughout the New Testament, this concept of growing together in Christ is a key factor. Themes such as forgiveness, love, and living in harmony with other Christians are sprinkled throughout all of Paul’s letters to the church. Leaning on one another in times of trial and encouraging each other in the faith were always a part of God’s plan for us as the Body of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. – Ephesians 4:14-16 (NIV)


Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation. - 1 Peter 2:2


*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.

**Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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