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The Fourth Stage of Spiritual Development

After birth, the Spirit grows within us. This is now the fourth stage of spiritual development: the growth of God's spirit in us. Just as among human beings, after they are born they naturally grow, so also among the spirits in us, after they are born, they grow.

Growth: Becoming Like the Parent

As organisms grow they gradually show themselves to be like their parent or their species. When the seeds of different kinds of grain begin to germinate they look similar to one another, blades of grass. But as they continue to grow they become distinguishable from one another. One grows to be wheat, another grows to be rice, another grows to be barley, etc.

In a similar way the zygotes or fertilized eggs of mammals appear to be the same among different mammals. But as they grow into fetuses they soon become distinguishable. One is the fetus of a cow, another of a dog, another of a human being.

Spiritual Growth: Becoming Like the Parent Spirit

So also when spirits are born, the persons in whom the spirit is born still looks like other human beings, those in whom the spirit has not yet been born. Physically, they look like the same: Both have two hands, 2 feet, 2 ears, etc. But in reality they are completely different from each other, they are worlds apart.

One has only a material, physical life. The other has spiritual life in addition to having a material, physical life. One is merely a human being, even a very good, talented human being. The other is a growing divine being. One is an earthly creature, the other is a heavenly being, being born from the Spirit above. One belongs to the human race; the other belongs also to the divine race.

As the spirit in us grows he/she becomes more and more, and manifests himself/herself more and more like his/her parent, the Spirit God.

As human beings we inherited the characteristics of the first human parent, Adam. The seed of Adam has been passed from generation to generation producing human beings like Adam, the first human being. As we grow as human beings, these characteristics become more and more visible.

As spirit or divine beings we inherit the characteristics of our divine parent, God himself. The seed of God which is His Word is passed on to us from generation to generation also producing divine beings like Jesus, the new human being, the human being with a divine nature. As we grow in the divine life, these characteristics become more and more visible.

Growing Has Its Inner Dynamism

There is a dynamism in the spirit to grow by himself/herself. You do not tell him/her to grow. He/she grows naturally. But like other living organisms, he/she needs the proper nutrients. The first is good food. We already saw that the food of the spirit is the Word of God.

Four Kinds of Food in the Word of God

The Word of God as food can be classified into four kinds: starting food or milk, growing food or solid food, strengthening food or very nutritious food, and reinvigorating food or dainty food.

The milk or starting food in the Word of God consists of the many stories we find in the Bible. These are simple stories which children naturally like to listen. The Bible is filled with these stories, from creation to the end of the world.

The solid or growing food in the Word of God consists of the exhortations we read, like what we find in the text on the Ten Commandments and the various injunctions in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Proverbs also has many of this solid or growing food.

The very nutritious or strengthening food consists of the doctrines or teachings we find in the various books of the Bible. A very good example of this is the Letter of Paul to the Romans. It is filled with heavy teaching.

The dainty food or delicious food consists of the mystical and apocalyptic literature in the Bible. Curious people are very much interested in this. A very good example of this is the last book of the Bible, Revelation.

The spirit takes his/her pick, what is most suitable to him/her. Of course, it would be of very much help if there is somebody who can guide the spirit what food to eat in the various stages of his/her growth.

Spiritual Movement Is Outcome of Growth

Not only does the spirit need food, he/she also needs to move around his/her house. This he/she does by doing the things his/her family of spirits does in the Church, like cleaning the place of worship, inviting people to listen to the preaching and teaching of God's Word, learning Christian songs, etc.

Rest Is Needed in Growing

Thirdly, the spirit also needs rest. He/she needs periods of doing nothing but just resting and being alone.

The Need for Discipline

Then he/she also needs to be disciplined by his/her Father Spirit God. This means that he/she avoids what can harm himself/herself, such as going with people who have no concern for spiritual matters.

Fellowship in Growth

And he/she needs to relate harmoniously with his/her spirit brothers and sisters and his/her parent God the Spirit. He/she has fellowship with his/her spirit brothers and sisters. And he/she devotes more and more time to conversing with his/her parent God. This is prayer.

In this way the spirit grows within us.

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