Growth in the spirit results from obedience. 1 Samuel 15:22 (NASB), “Samuel said, ‘Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.’” ​

What things should Christians do to obey? “Then he (Jesus) said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me,’” Luke 9:23. To follow Jesus’s example, first, we deny our own wills. Jesus said, “I have come to do your will, my God,” Hebrews 10:7. Jesus also prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “not as I will, but as You will,” Matthew 26:39.​

After that, we learn we must study the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15), pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17), love God supremely, love our brethren and all mankind, serve God (Hebrews 12:28), do good to all (Galatians 6:10), and patiently apply God’s principles (2 Peter 1:4-8) to our lives. ​

For example, when we recognize we have been impatient, we pray for forgiveness. Then we ask God to teach us patience. God is pleased to answer those prayers. However, our growth will not occur as a miracle. God will give us experiences which test our patience. Just as our body's muscles grow through lifting heavier weights, so our characters grow when we have challenging experiences. No disciplining experience is easy, but afterward, we may see our development. ​

Hebrews 12:2-3, 6, 10-11(NIV), “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart…because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son…God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”