God wants and expects us to grow spiritually as an act of obedience. But spiritual growth is not simple; it is not predictable or natural like physical development. It is a complex process that is unique for each individual and progresses at a pace determined by several factors including—but certainly not limited to—personal circumstances, the activity of the Holy Spirit, and the desire to grow spiritually. Thus it is difficult to understand and impossible to completely measure.
While there are not actually “levels” associated with the Christian life, there are definitely varying degrees to which different believers grow in Christlikeness. So while there will always be an unexplained dimension to spirituality, people do move and advance along a journey. In order to better understand these different stages, the following brief descriptions will be helpful.
“Exploring Christ” Level
Individuals at this level are best described as “pre-Christian.” They have not made a decision to totally accept the claims of Christ and follow Him with their lives. Those who are exploring Him are likely to still be somewhat skeptical about Christ and Christianity, yet are very curious about it. Their faith is not a significant part of their life at this point.
“Growing in Christ” Level
Those at this level are Christians. They are most likely new in their faith and are growing in their understanding of what it really means to be a follower of Christ. Their faith is fresh and exciting and they are learning and growing. Individuals at this level are trying to get to know Jesus even better.
“Close to Christ” Level
Individuals at this level are deeper Christians in their beliefs, knowledge, and actions. Their faith is an important part of their lives. At this stage of development, they depend on Christ for daily guidance in decisions and seek to serve Him in all they say and do.
People at this level of spiritual growth would say that their relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in their lives and totally guides everything they do. Individuals at this stage of spiritual development are totally “sold out” for their faith and are willing to risk everything in their life for Christ.