Get your 'self' out of the way so God can work!
He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30) John the Baptist was talking about Jesus. At first glance, you may think he is talking about their respective popularity or ministries. He may have. But it must also happen in our individual lives. Jesus must increase in our lives, and worldly thoughts that we've had since childhood must decrease. Our wants and desires as fleshly people are directly contrary to God's desires. In order for your spirit to grow, it must become unencumbered by your flesh and soul (Mind, will, emotions).
The following text assumes that you have accepted Jesus as Savior and been baptized (If you want any hope of growing spiritually, get baptized. Baptism will not save your soul, but do it. You will be very glad you did.)
Spiritual maturity will happen naturally as a result of removing the obstacles between you and God. Just like when you were a kid, no conscious effort could make you grow one inch. You eat right, get exercise, and growth happens. Same with your spirit.
With spiritual growth, as with a healthy body, there are things you need to eat. And there are things you must stop eating.
Things to do for spiritual growth
The spiritual things you need to 'eat' are many. The basic food groups are: study your Bible, fellowship with other Christians, and be helpful and charitable. In other words, live as godly a life as God give you the grace.
Major things to get rid of (with God's help and guidance. You cannot do it alone):
- Flesh must die: Dying to self is not physical death. You must consider yourself dead to your flesh. If you are thinking about fleshly things -- things of this world -- you are not thinking about God. Jesus said that in order to follow Him, we must deny our flesh, and take up your cross daily. (See Matthew 16:24)
- Rebellion or Disobedience: Follow your conscience. If you know something is wrong, don't do it.
- Deliberate Sin: This is the most commonly recognized block to God. (See Colossians 2:21) God cannot look upon sin. Don't worry, sin is forgivable if you are repentant (sorry for what you have done and turn from that activity). God's grace is not a license to sin, but a way out. Accept it and He will remove not only the sin, but even the very desire. It is awesome. An old sage once said, a clear conscience is the softest pillow.
- Resentments and Unforgiveness: A mind that is thinking about how badly they were treated is not thinking about God (God is very polite. He will not yell and scream in your face.) Forgive the wrongs others have done to you. Even if they are not sorry they did it. Resentments only do you harm. I've heard it said that unforgiveness is like taking poison hoping the other person will die. It's that important. How to forgive? Pray for the other person. Not just some generic prayer for their well-being -- but pray that they get all the good things that you wish for yourself. After a few weeks, or even month or so, you will begin to truly feel like you want good things to happen to them. It really works. Also, thinking upon all the things you have been forgiven for is a big help.
- Fear: The opposite of fear is not courage. Courage is doing what needs to be done even when you are afraid. The opposite of fear is faith. If you have faith in almighty God, what can there possibly be to be afraid of?
- Guilty Feelings: Confess your sins, and Jesus is just to forgive. (See 1 John 1:9) if you have confessed your sins and have turned form that sin, and still feel guilty, it is probably just the devil trying to steal your peace. Just keep reminding yourself (out loud is best) that you are forgiven by the blood of Jesus, and it will go away over time.