Tom Holladay said people have one of three experiences in spiritual growth:
Some people have a one-time experience of growth.
Many people have a time to time experience of growth.
You can enjoy a lifetime experience of growth.
One-Time Growth – I would also call event growth, meaning an event happened that caused a sudden burst of growth. A retreat, a camp, a conference, a service, a prophesy or specific altar call can cause us to leap forward in a moment in understanding or commitment.
The issue always is do we use it to build on? Have you ever seen a youth group that came back from an awesome summer camp only to have some of the members leave church that fall? The experience wasn’t used as a spring board to a lifestyle change.
Time to Time Growth – This is the type of growth where people do very well for a while but then either because they get distracted, too busy or offended they begin to back away from church and God in general. We need each other to grow. We must be rooted deep enough that when strong winds blow we aren’t uprooted.
“Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from Him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done.” Colossians 2:7
Be thankful for where you are at and stay strong. I know so many people who leave their church and end up bitter, dried up Christians that are no longer really disciples of Jesus because they only had periods of growth and then periods of lack.
A Lifetime of Growth – This doesn’t refer to never making a mistake, never stumbling, but overall making progress. I’ve always said, “If you’re the same Christian next year as you are this year, you’re out of God’s will.” God wants us to go forward!
“So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step.” 1 Corinthians 9:26 (TLB)
To grow over the long journey of life requires commitment. Nothing worthwhile comes quickly or easily.
“For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9
Commitment keeps us doing the right thing when we don’t feel like it. Commit to a life of holiness, studying, praying, church attendance, serving and giving. Only then do we sustain growth over many years.