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3 Signs of Spiritual Growth

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Moses commanded the Israelites to do three things: to hear, to learn, and to follow God's laws. Moses' three-fold command to the Israelites is excellent advice for all of us today.

We must do those three things in order to grow spiritually. We must hear. We must learn. We must be obedient to what we have heard and learned. We can't just do one or two of them. We must do all three.

All three activities work together. As God's covenant people, we must hear, learn, and follow the word of God,


1. Hearing

Hearing and listening are not the same. You hear when you absorb information with your physical ears. However, you listen with your spirit. You can hear without listening, but you can't listen without hearing. They are both essential in order to be in a relationship with God and with others.

Hearing is one of the five senses, but listening is not because a person can hear without listening at all. You must have an attachment to what you hear in order to understand the message. For instance, two women can hear a baby crying. However, it is only the mother of the baby who will understand the message the baby is sending because she has an attachment to what she is hearing.

Hearing is one of the five senses where you receive sounds and words through your ears. Listening is a form of a communication technique that lets you understand, interpret, and put meaning to what you hear.

  1. Hearing is receiving sound waves through your ears while listening means hearing and understanding what you’ve heard through your whole being.
  2. Hearing is using your ears only, while listening is using your body’s other senses.
  3. Listening can build better relationships with others, but just hearing cannot.
  4. You cannot listen and understand what you don't hear.

2. Learning

Learning is understanding the information you have heard. Learning is the process of acquiring knowledge, understanding, skills, values, and preferences. Continual learning is one of the keys to spiritual growth.

Learning is taking in information that you didn't know before. The beauty of learning is that once you obtain new information, it is added to what you already know. That means you build upon what you have learned in the past. There is no need to forget what you already know when you experience new ideas and facts. In fact, the new information will enhance the old information you already know.

Learning results when you are able to mentally or physically get a firm grip on a subject and it makes sense to you.

3. Following

The proof of listening is obedience. Following is evidence of your spiritual growth. It is obeying and putting into action all you have heard, learned, and understood. If you never put into action, there is no sign that you have heard or learned anything.

The result of hearing and learning is obedience. In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” One of the easiest signs to identify a growing Christian is by his obedience to what he has heard and learned.

The Bible is full of God's people who heard God, learned about God, and were obedient to God. They include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, Esther, and Deborah.

You can be counted among them if you hear, learn, and follow God's commandments that are recorded throughout the Bible.

Growing Spiritually

In order to live a spirit-filled life, we must follow the command Moses gave the Israelites in the wilderness when he said, "Hear, O Israel, the decrees and laws I declare in your hearing today. Learn them and be sure to follow them" (Deuteronomy 5:1).

All three activities are essential in order to have a growing relationship with God. When you have mastered these, then you will show signs of growing spiritually.

  1. Hear by using your ears to obtain information about God's word.
  2. Learn by understanding what you have heard.
  3. Follow by obeying and putting into action all you have heard and learned.

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