Our spiritual growth is similar to the patterns of our physical growth—it happens slowly over time so that we sometimes hardly notice it. Many times it’s not until someone brings it up that we realize how much we’ve grown. To grow spiritually doesn’t happen without some effort on our part in seeking God in prayer, Bible study, and fellowship. Our faith in God grows as we learn to trust Him even in the cloudy days of disappointment, despair, or uneasiness. What are the top 7 signs of growing closer to Christ?
Sign #1) You are less angry or irritated when things don’t go your way.
“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9)
The closer we get to Christ, the less control our flesh has on us. We learn to recognize the sins of selfishness that results in outbursts of anger or irritation. It’s not that we don’t ever get angry, it’s rather we begin to harness our sinful nature and see the broader picture of how God uses adversity to help us grow up spiritually.
Sign #2) You are more likely to pray first before calling on anyone else.
“But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation” (Psalm 69:13).
As a new Christian, you may have called on your spiritual mentor regularly when faced with the enormity of keeping the faith. However, after a time—you’re more compelled to fall on your knees to beseech your heavenly Father first. Our spiritual growth is marked by our willingness to trust God in prayer before we discuss our situations with others.
Sign #3) You are less anxious and worried over troubles.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7).
A worrisome spirit can be tormenting for a believer. Either we completely trust God or not. When we’ve experienced God’s deliverance, miracles, and intervention in the past, we learn to trust in His faithfulness and refuse to let anxiousness dominate our thoughts. Over time we learn the discipline of being still before God instead of being busy with worry.
Sign #4) You are more concerned about your own motives and integrity.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Spiritual maturity is most evident in those who take the time to reflect on their motives and actions in all situations. You’ve grown closer to Christ when you immediately respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. When we press the magnifying glass of judgment on ourselves, we are less judgmental and harsh towards other people.
Sign #5) You are less doubtful about God’s control over your life.
“Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago” (Isaiah 25:1).
No matter where we are in the faith—a new or mature believer, we will have days where we are perplexed by sudden events. These can be the most fertile times of doubt due to the hardship of the situation. However as we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we learn to accept that nothing can touch us that hasn’t first cleared His divine purpose and plan for our lives.
Sign #6) You are more engaged in God’s word.
“I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life” (Psalm 119:93).
Unfortunately some believers’ growth has been stunted due to their lack of engagement with the Bible. Yet for those who’ve tasted of God’s goodness, revelation, and faithfulness through His word—it becomes as necessary as our natural food. We cling to the knowledge that God is not man that He should lie—He will keep His word.
Sign #7) You are less connected to the things of this world.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
Many of us began our relationship with God with one foot still connected with the world. However over time a choice had to be made—either God or the world because we can’t live a successful life being double minded. Our relationship with God becomes bonded and sealed with commitment to Him and a desire for purity.
Closer to Christ
Our continued faithfulness to God on a daily basis will consistently bring us closer to Christ. In our spiritual walk there will be testing times when we may question our faith in God or even God’s faithfulness to us. However, when there is a solid relationship built with Christ—these fleeting moments of doubt will be overwhelmed by our faith in a loving God.
Article by Crystal McDowell
Crystal McDowell is a writer, speaker, and teacher with a passion to encourage believers to know and grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ through practical application of God’s word.
Crystal and her husband, Marshall, raise their five children in the Bloomington, IL. As a freelance writer and editor for over 13 years, Crystal has published numerous Christian curriculums for Sunday School and VBS as well as many articles dealing with marriage, motherhood, and relationships. She’s a weekly staff writer for www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com as well as writing her own blog at http://crystalmcdowellspeaks.blogspot.com.