3 Words to Guide Your Spiritual Growth / Spiritual Meditations

beach scene with footprints

In this busy world it is difficult to be aware of and develop our progress on the spiritual path. So when I found the following guide, not only did I realize how far I have yet to go, but it provides an easy way to monitor growth. These thoughts will now surface in my consciousness whenever I get too hurried, too harsh, or too accepting. I pray you will also find this a helpful reminder of Jesus’ teachings.

Saint John of the Cross (a 16th century Christian mystic) says that every quality or virtue which the Spirit produces in men’s souls has three distinguishing characteristics: tranquility, gentleness, and strength. All our actions – and now we are thinking specially of actions – must be peaceful, gentle, and strong. That suggests, doesn’t it? an immense depth and an invulnerable steadiness as the soul’s abiding temper; a depth and a steadiness which comes from the fact that our small action is now part of the total action of God, whose Spirit, as another saint has said, “works always in tranquility.” Fuss and feverishness, anxiety, intensity, intolerance, instability, pessimism…every kind of hurry and worry. These, even on the highest levels, are signs of the self-made and self-acting soul, the spiritual newcomer. The saints are never like this.

If, then, we desire a simple test of the quality of our spiritual life, a consideration of the tranquility, gentleness, and strength with which we deal with the circumstances of our outward life will serve us better than anything that is based on the loftiness of our religious notions, or fervor of our religious feelings.  It is a test that can be applied anywhere and at any time.  Tranquility, gentleness, and strength, carry us through the changes of weather, the ups and downs of the route, the various surface of the road; the inequalities of family life, emotional and professional disappointments, the sudden intervention of bad fortune or bad health, the rising and falling of our religious temperature.  This is the threefold imprint of the Spirit on the souls surrendered to His great action.

We see that plainly in the Saints; in the quiet steadiness of spirit with which they meet the difficulties and sufferings in their lives. They know that these small and changing lives of ours, about which we are often so troubled, are part of a greater mystery; the life that is related to God and known by God.

The following articles address some additional qualities we can expect to develop as we continue on our spiritual path.

Demystifying Spiritual Growth

Living in the Kingdom of God

Unlock Your Leadership Trait – Humility

Add Patience to Your Bag of Tricks

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Relevant Scripture

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:21-22)


Essential Writings by Evelyn Underhill

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