Spiritual Progress Is in Spiritual Practice


“Let God use trials to help you grow. Do not try to measure your progress, your strength, or what God is doing. His work is not less efficient because what He is doing is invisible.”

100 Days in the Secret Place


We make a mistake when speaking of spirituality. We speak of growth or progress, as if we should be able to track or measure how far we have come.

This leads us to rely more on ourselves and to even become anxious that we aren’t progressing enough. We can also miss the ways God is working in unseen places in our lives.

Is there an alternative to this? Well, we can begin by ending the practice of measuring spiritual growth. I wrote in a previous blog post:

As I’ve confronted my own measuring mania, I’ve tried to move away from the language of spiritual growth. I don’t want to know if I’m getting better or improving or providing some metric of my spiritual awesomeness.

The truth is that I could pray a lot or improve my Bible knowledge and still be a wandering, self-centered mess without direction.

Speaking of direction, spiritual direction is just the sort of thing we need to talk about instead of growth.

Let’s talk about where I am and where you are right now and which direction you’re moving in.

We could also speak in terms of temperature, being hot or cold.

Jesus spoke in terms of abiding on the vine. If we abide in him and he in us, the life of God will be evident. Our direction or proximity tap into this idea of abiding.

What if we ditched the language of spiritual growth in favor of spiritual proximity (close or far, hot or cold) or spiritual direction?

Are we living close to Jesus? Are moving in step with Jesus? Are you close enough to Jesus to know whether or not you’re moving in step with him?

Why We Need to Stop Talking about Spiritual Growth

What if our “progress” in spirituality is whether or not we’re engaged in spiritual practice? The “growth” isn’t in how far we’ve come but whether we’re turning toward God and simply making space in our lives?

As for the results–they are up to God.



  • Do you find yourself struggling with spiritual performance or spiritual sloth? How does this post speak to that?
  • What does it look like to trust God with your spirituality?


Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous gifts of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers. Thank you!

Choose a recurring monthly donation:



Make a one-time gift via PayPal (credit cards accepted!)

Donate Now Button

Learn more about how to support us.