How do you measure spiritual growth? What indicators call your attention to progress in your spiritual walk? These were questions I recently posed to my wife as I reflected on what it means to grow spiritually. One might assume that a deeper knowledge of scriptures is what exemplifies spiritual maturity. But, knowing God’s word (about Him) and knowing Him are two different things. As we could see on display with the Pharisees.
Some might assume that a display of spiritual gifts, such as prophesy or exercising spiritual authority over demons definitely gives us a hint of who is more spiritually mature. Someone with a high degree of spiritual growth. However, Matthew 7 and I Corinthians 13 verses 1 to 3 debunks these ideas. If you do read further down 1 Corinthians 13 I think you might find some things that do matter to God in vs 13.
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“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Concerning faith, Hebrews 11:6 NIV says it plainly, “And, without faith it is impossible to please Him…”
As described here in Hebrews is not simply believing with all your might that God is going to give you everything on your wish list. Faith is described as that trust and dependence on God’s love, goodness, power and wisdom. Are you growing in your trust in God? Do you feel like you depend on Him more than you did two months ago?
I think of hope here is that eternal perspective which influences how we live in the present. Am I storing up treasures for myself in this life or motivated by hope to live more outwardly? Hope is what helps us endure pain, suffering, hardship and persecution. Do you see progress in how you handle hardship now as compared to a year ago?
It is the greatest of these. Paul makes it clear that you can be growing in faith, hope and more in your walk with God, but without love it is nothing. 1 Corinthians 13 has a list of things to consider when it comes to how we love people. Are you growing in patience, selflessness and humility as compared to 6 months ago?
Your Spiritual Growth Matters
There might be a lot more things to consider when we ponder progress in our spiritual walk, but these three give us a base to start from. Why not take time today to consider how you are doing in this marathon race of walking with God? How are you progressing in faith, hope and love? I should caution that it is not by our our effort (physical or mental) that we grow. We need God’s Holy Spirit to help us grow as we abide in Him and His words in us.