ARE YOU GROWING SPIRITUALLY? HERE’S HOW TO TELL – 2
We have been looking at ways to measure our spiritual growth. We talked about yearning more and more for heaven, being more forgiving of others, becoming more aware of God’s work in our lives, growing in our appreciation of the Bible and having our worship become more God-centered as signs we are growing spiritually. We’ll look at 5 more signs this blog:
- Are you more sensitive to sin than you used to be? (Romans 12:1-2; 7:14-19) As young Christians we are aware of things that are sin, things we shouldn’t think or do. But as we grow closer to God we begin to see sin in more and more areas of our life. We start recognizing that our selfish motives and prideful attitudes are sin. We become more and more aware of how far we fall short of God’s perfection. Instead of becoming more and more like Jesus, we feel less and less like Him. When Paul was a new Christian, he wrote that he was the least of all apostles. Later he wrote that he was the least of all Christians. Toward the end of his life he wrote he was the least of all people. Do you see the progression? As he grew, he became more and more aware of his own sin and failure. Are you more sensitive to sin in your life than you were last year?
- Are you quicker to forgive others who hurt you? (Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25; Colossians 3:13) Do you find that you are quicker to forgive people than you were a few years ago? Are you less likely to argue or seek revenge against those who hurt you? Do you forgive people as soon as they hurt you and not wait for them to apologize first? Do you forgive them as soon as the offense takes place? Jesus is our perfect example of forgiveness. He forgives us immediately and totally, even before we ask Him for forgiveness. As we become more like Him, we will find ourselves being quicker to forgive others. They may hurt us on purpose or accidentally, but our first response is to quickly forgive them.
- Are you becoming more aware of how great and powerful God is? (Psalm 19:1; Isaiah 64:8; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Philippians 4:13) Is God ‘growing’ in your spiritual life? Are you continually seeing more and more ways He controls everything? When we grow in our faith, we become more and more aware of what a wonderful, awesome, all-powerful God He is! As we see evidence of His sovereign control day after day our concept of Him gets larger and larger.
- Is your prayer life becoming more personal and stronger? (James 5:16; Jeremiah 29:12-13; Matthew 7:7-8) Do you find yourself talking to God more than you used to? Is prayer more natural, something you do throughout the day without even realizing it at times? Are your first thoughts about asking God for wisdom or talking to Him about the problem you are facing? When a relationship grows, people learn to communicate better. Do you find your prayer life becoming more personal and stronger? If so, you are growing spiritually.
- Do you find yourself better able to recognize His voice when He speaks to you? (John 14:26; 10:4, 16, 27; Acts 9:11-15) Do you find yourself more interested in listening to God, in wanting to hear from Him, instead of just being interested in telling Him what you want Him to do for you? Do you recognize that what God has to say to you is much more important than what you have to say to Him? Are you better able to recognize when God is speaking to you?
These 10 standards can help you see how and where you are growing. Look at each one carefully, pray about where you are and if you are growing in this area. If you find one where you haven’t been growing as you should, then you can focus on that so you can grow in that area. Remember, it is God who brings about the growth in us as we allow His Spirit to work in us (John 15:1-8) and produce His fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-26). Just as a parent oversees the maturing of his child, so our heavenly Father oversees our growth. His promise is that He will work in us as long as we are on this earth so that we continue to grow more and more like Jesus (Philippians 1:6). What a blessing and what a privilege that is. God expects us to grow, but He doesn’t expect us to do it on our own. He will bring that about as we follow Him.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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