His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 2 Peter 1:3-4
Many of the goals we set for ourselves are easily achieved because we can see the results of our efforts. A haircut, a diet, physical exercise, a cooking class, all of these and every one like them afford us a tangible result: make it or not, we can see it. Not so with spiritual growth.
In my experience, the difficulty of recognizing spiritual change is the chief reason people falter in their efforts to grow spiritually. Spiritual growth is thought of as an amorphous, ethereal, and mysterious undertaking. Christian history is riddled with persecutions and executions of Christians whose only crime was telling others about their spiritual experience and trying to help others to grow spiritually. The result of this sad and tragic lineage is the lack of teaching from the pulpit and the lack of interest in the pew.
…so that…you may become partakers of the divine nature
Our very nature is wrapped up in the Divine Will. We are wonderfully made in the image of our Creator to live lives of divine intention. We are created to grow in the likeness of God and to be transformed in the spirit so that we may be transformed in the flesh.
you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ's own for ever. Amen. BCP pg. 308
In Baptism we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, not by the Priest. The Holy Spirit physically enters into our person physically because spiritual transformation is not separate from our physical being, but a part of it—this is incarnation. The Holy Spirit dwelling in us calls, encourages, fosters, and prefects our desire and our effort to grow in the likeness of Christ, but it is often a slow process and hard to see. In a world where we have moved from distraction (“our parcel hasn’t arrived in three weeks”) to anger (“it’s 3 o’clock the day after we ordered and ‘it’ is still not here!”), there is little sympathy for a process that can take a lifetime. But the amazing truth behind our conscious efforts to grow spiritually is that the Holy Spirit is working in us all the time, even when we are unconscious of the presence of God.
You may recognize the work of the Holy Spirit in you in the moment of joy or interest or excitement when you hear something about God. That ‘tickle’ is not simply the Holy Spirit leaping with joy but actually, your spirit as it has been transformed and ‘primed’ for the Word of God.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8
Spiritual Growth is not an event; it is a relationship. Spiritual Growth is a lifelong process of relational growth that depends on our study and application of God’s Word (reading and studying the Bible); our walk in the Spirit (ascribing ‘credit’ to God throughout the day for all things—literally “God on my mind”); praying (talking to God and asking for help); and emptying ourselves of ourselves in order to be filled by God with God.
Spiritual growth is the process of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ. Here are a few passages from Scripture to help you on your way.
Father Bill Burk†