How to Become a Spiritual Leader: Advice from Spiritual Giants


How to Grow Spiritually

I love to study strong spiritual men and women who have gone before us. I love to listen to the stories of spiritual leaders and learn from them. 

I consider a ‘spiritual giant’ simply someone who has finished their race in victory. They have fulfilled the call of God on their life and have finished strong. They have kept the faith. They have applied the Word of God to their lives and experienced victory all the way to the end. These are the people I love to learn from. And the Bible encourages us to imitate these type of people. 

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11

Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. Hebrews 13:7

People who are spiritually strong have lived a life as an overcomer. They have learned how to walk with God and see victory in their lives. They have seen the promises of God come to pass. They have experienced the abundant life that Jesus came to give us. They have learned they keys to growing spiritually and have applied them. 

From watching and listening to these men and women of faith, I have noticed four things that they all did faithfully which greatly contributed to their spiritual growth. They applied these principles consistently to become spiritual leaders and we can do them too!

Here are 4 ways to become a spiritual leader:

  1. Meditate in the Word of God

  2. Practice the Word of God (Be a Doer of the Word)

  3. Give the Word of God First Place

  4. Instantly Obey the Holy Spirit

1. Meditate in the Word of God

Studying and meditating in the Word of God is absolutely critical to all spiritual growth. It is impossible to grow spiritually apart from the written Word of God. 

as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 1 Peter 2:2

Just like a newborn baby needs milk to grow and develop, a believer needs the Word of God to grow. It is imperative that you realize the value of God’s Word and choose to meditate in it. 

I have never met a truly mature spiritual person who does not spend time meditating in the Word of God. 

You simply cannot develop spiritual wisdom without meditation in the Word. Meditation in the Word means that you do more than just read it, you think about it, you study it and ponder it, you speak it out loud and in your thoughts. You pray in tongues over it and ask for revelation of what it means. For more about speaking in tongues, read my article called 9 Reasons We Need to Pray in Tongues

Look at the instruction God gave to Joshua when he was to lead God’s people into the promised land. 

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

Begin to take even 10-15 minutes per day to meditate in the Bible. As you do, you will see yourself growing spiritually, almost effortlessly. The Word is doing the work on the inside of you. 

I wrote an article called Can Christians Meditate? that will help you understand what Biblical meditation is and is not. 

2. Practice the Word of God (Be a Doer of the Word)

The next step that all spiritual giants use to grow spiritually is to become a doer of the Word. This means being a believer of the Word. You decide that what the Bible says, you will believe and do. 

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22

Being a doer of the Word does NOT mean that you obey the ten commandments and other Old Testament laws to obtain some kind of spiritual growth. Christ has become the end of the law for those of us who believe. 

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes. Romans 10:4

Being a doer of the Word under the New Covenant means that you believe the Bible and act and speak accordingly. If the Bible says you have been made righteous by the finished work of Jesus, you believe this and act accordingly. 

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

You can’t be a doer of the Word and talk unbelief, fear, discouragement, and failure. A doer of the Word is one who practices what the Bible says. He believes it, speaks it, and acts on it. 

When a doer of the Word reads Philippians 4:6, it is more than just a scripture they put on their fridge. It is something they do. 

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; Philippians 4:6

This means that a doer of the Word will believe God when He says we don’t have to be anxious and will choose to replace anxiety with the instructions in this verse. He will resist anxiety, bring the request to God and thank Him for the answer. 

A doer of the Word will apply Philippians 4:8 in their thought life. 

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

A doer of the Word will take the truths found in Scripture and apply them to their daily lives. It is the one who DOES the Word that will see the blessings come upon them. Please don’t confuse what I’m saying with legalistic rule keeping. In the New Testament, being a doer of the Word is BELIEVING what the Word says to such a degree that we act on it. 

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25

Being a doer of the Word is not about being accepted or blessed by God. God accepts us and blessed us solely based on the work of His Son. It is by grace that we have been saved, not works. Being a doer of the Word is about cooperating with how God has set things up to see His precious promises manifest in our lives. 

3. Give the Word of God First Place

The strong men and women of faith that I have studied are all people who put the Word of God first place in their life in a practical way. They turn first to what God says in every situation of life. 

My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22

Notice the first part of this verse says “give attention to my words”. Some translations read “attend to my words”. Most people are giving attention to what the world says, what the doctor says, what the banker says, etc. rather than what God says!

Many people turn to the Word of God when they have exhausted all other options. They put the Word as a last resort. When the doctor has sent them home to die, then they turn to God. When all the loan options have been denied, they turn to God. This is not putting the Word first place!

When you attend to the Word, it’s like when someone says they’ve got some “business to attend to”. This means it is first priority. They must attend to it first. When we attend to the Word, we put it as the first priority. It has first place. 

Train yourself in every situation to first ask “What does God say about this?” He is the final authority. Make what He says in His Word first place. 

4. Instantly Obey the Holy Spirit

All spiritual giants are people who have learned to instantly obey the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean they do it perfectly 100% of the time, but more times than not they do. 

The Holy Spirit is our Teacher and Guide in this life. He is sent to unveil Jesus to us, to help us, and to instruct us. He will illuminate the Word of God to you. He is your Guide into spiritual growth. 

It is by the Spirit that we grow, not by works of the flesh. 

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:3

Perfect in this verse means “mature”. Paul is reminding us that we can not grow by works of the flesh. It is the Holy Spirit within us Who is maturing us. It is Jesus who is finishing the work He started in us. 

being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1:6

The Lord’s desire is to bring us to full maturity where we are living as Christ on this earth. As we learn to obey the voice of the Holy Spirit we cooperate with what God is doing in our lives. 

God speaks to you through your own born-again spirit. He uses your own spirit to enlighten you, to guide you. 

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inner depths of his heart. Proverbs 20:27

As you learn to hone in on the voice of your spirit and obey it, you will find that you are obeying the Holy Spirit. 

The more you renew your mind to the Word of God by meditating in it and doing it, the more your spirit becomes an extremely reliable guide. This happens over time. You’ll know in your spirit what to do in every situation. 

Praying in the Spirit is a major key to being led by the Spirit. I have heard several spiritual leaders say that praying in the spirit led to so much of their success.

The Holy Spirit is always with you to be your guide. Practice obeying Him immediately upon hearing His voice or sensing His leading. His instructions will never violate the written Word of God and will always carry peace with it. For more about hearing the Holy Spirit, read 7 Ways the Holy Spirit Speaks

Apply These Keys to Grow Spiritually

As you put these proven ways of growing spiritually into practice, you will see yourself growing spiritually automatically. The Word of God and the Holy Spirit will do the work. 

The Word of God is like a seed that when it is planted in your heart will produce a harvest, even though you don’t know how it works. 

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground,  and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. Mark 4:26

The Holy Spirit is in you to lead you into the spiritual growth you are desiring. As you cooperate, He will guide you into the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God for your life. 

for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

As you consistently apply what you have learned here, in the process of time you will find yourself becoming a spiritual giant as well!

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