The Progression of Spiritual Growth

Sales and management expert Dave Anderson once wrote, “Where you are in your life is a result of the decisions you’ve made in the past. It is your inside decisions, not outside conditions, that determine your success or lack of it.” Those “inside decisions” define your behavior—whether good or bad. What happens on the inside manifests itself by your behavior on the outside.

It's your inside decisions, not outside conditions, that determine your success. Dave Anderson Click To Tweet

In Colossians 1:9, the Apostle Paul writes, “…we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.” This verse reveals a natural progression in the growth process: It begins first with knowledge, then moves toward spiritual wisdom and understanding. The word Paul used for knowledge is epignōsis (eh-PIG-noh-sis). Author and professor Dr. William Yount describes epignōsis as “a knowledge that reaches out and grasps its object and is in turn grasped by its object.” What you learn becomes more than knowledge—it changes how you live. You grasp the knowledge, and the knowledge grasps your behavior.

Yount further observes, “Epignōsis moves beyond mere head knowledge to what we might call ‘heart’ knowledge: a knowledge that affects the way we live. To be filled with the epignōsis of His will means to take hold of God’s Word, and allow God’s Word to take hold of us.” As this knowledge becomes understanding, it finds application—what Jesus calls “wisdom.” He says in Matthew 7:24, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (emphasis mine). Through a commitment to personal growth, you gain knowledge. As you reflect on that knowledge, you gain understanding. Finally, that understanding is translated into wisdom–through application.

Questions: Where are you in the growth process? Are you grasping knowledge and is knowledge grasping you