Every person is responsible for his or her own spiritual growth. Even though every Christian is responsible to care and nurture one another and the church has a command to make disciples, no one will be able to stand in front of Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ and blame anyone else or any church for his or her lack of spiritual maturity.

God uses other Christians to help us grow in our spiritual life.  Many are involved in a small group or meet one-on-one with another Christian. These methods have been used in a great way to help a Christian grow to spiritual maturity. However, whatever means a person chooses to assist in their spiritual growth, there is always a level of personal discipleship is involved.  Many methods make assignments, give homework, incorporate outside reading or memorizing Scripture.  The time with other believers is to be catalyst to encourage individual time with personal discipleship.

In spite of the need of others in our Christian growth, many Christians must rely on their own initiative to grow into spiritual maturity.

Awareness…

For many Christians, personal discipleship begins with an awareness that they are lacking in their spiritual life.  These Christians are either not getting fed, or not getting fed enough, or not taking advantage of discipleship opportunities at their church, or need to supplement what they are being fed.  So to satisfy the hunger to grow in their Christian life they take it as a personal challenge to mature in their faith.

Devotions…

There are many opportunities for Christians to personally develop in their Christian life. For many it begins with a daily personal time with God and His Word.  Some call it ‘devotions.’  Others call it ‘Quiet Time.’ Becoming a Christian is not like joining a service club or being hired on at a job.  Becoming a Christian is entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ.  It is like any relationship between two people. For the relationship to grow, they need to get to know each other better.  But God already knows everything about the new Christian.  He wants the new Christian to get to know Him.  One of the best ways to nurture this new relationship with Jesus is to have a growing, personal time with Him.  Much of a person’s faith is seen in public.  But the real strength and growth of faith is experienced in private – with Jesus. Two key ingredients of a time with Jesus include talking to Him and listening from Him.  Talking to God is prayer. It can be very elaborate and involved, but prayer at its simplest is talking to God just like one would talk with a friend. The second ingredient in time with Jesus is listening from Him.  This is where the Bible comes in.  As a person reads the Bible and listens, it changes him.  It is amazing when a person reads the Bible and listens to what it says how many times the Holy Spirit will highlight things that relate specifically to the Christian and help him or her in their walk with Christ.  It is not enough to simply read the Bible through like a newspaper.  The Christian must take time to think about what is being read, allow a Spirit-controlled imagination to ask how God might want to apply it to his or her life, and determine what God is saying.

Study…

Another method that has helped people in personal discipleship is in personal study of particular topics.  There are many good books that help a believer understand topics and Bible passages.   A commentary on a book of the Bible will help a Christian systematically read and study through the Bible book to get a better understanding of what God is saying in His Word.  Underlining, summarizing, and personal application are all ways to take what is being read and trying to allow it to strengthen the Christian’s spiritual life.  There are many Bible courses that Christians can enroll in to grow in their Christian life. Some actually have testing and present diplomas to reward the students as they progress through the courses.

Relationships…

Personal disciplemaking is vital to the progress of a Christian.  Discipleship will not take place unless a Christian is willing to invest personal time and energy into his own spiritual life.  Yet, the Christian that tries to grow on His own will find it very difficult.  The Christian life is not to be lived in a vacuum.  The Christian life is to be lived in a community of believers.  Many Christians have been hurt by other believers and by churches and have pulled themselves away from the fellowship of other Christians.  These misguided Christians have decided to concentrate on their spiritual life and growth without the help of others.  With no accountability and no interaction, they often end up with strange doctrines and practices.  The vulnerability of every Christian to excuse their own sin and rationalize their own opinions and actions may lead them to some very erroneous and even dangerous conclusions about the Christian life.  As important as it is for every Christian to take personal responsibility for their own spiritual life, it is equally important for them to include the accountability and vulnerability of other Christians in their walk.

What has helped you grow in your Christian life?