Friday, May 15, 2009

This is only a test....

I have a question that I would like to ask you, no matter what your religious background. Please take a minute or two and answer.

From your perspective, what does it mean to grow spiritually? Understand more? Experience more? Sin less? Something entirely different? What are the benchmarks of spiritual growth to you ? How do you know you are actually growing? How do you go about growing spiritually? Be specific.

What do you think?


  1. Wow...I just spent a long time commenting and it disappeared when I hit the preview button. So I assume it was lost.

    I will try again!! I think that to grow spiritually means to grow in my satisfaction and delight of God. This is the test I use to tell how I am doing spiritually. It works for me as a test in trials. It works for me as a test when I am drifting away. My delight in God is a measure of my growth.

    Matthew Henry says, "The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks." I do think that the more we are delighting in God who is the greatest satisfaction in life, the less we will be satisfied with sinful things and the less we will seek satisfaction in lessor things.

    How do I go about growing---I guess the usual means of grace. In specific--reading his Word, meditating on His Word, Praying His Word back to him, fellowshipping (including blogging ;-) ), being part of an accountability group (this has been a great aid), attending small groups for study and fellowship, attending a church that worships, having communion every week (this has been of tremendous help--keeping short accounts, examining my heart, keeping my focus on all that Christ has done, and receiving the grace that the sacrament is there for), reading good books......

    There is also the fact that God uses tests, trials, life situations, providence to enable our growth---so I seek to learn from these and to listen to Him as I am going through them.

    In summary--growth comes as I grow in my delight in and satisfaction of God. This is my test. Aids to growth come from feeding my thoughts and soul, listening to God, worshipping God, interacting with all of His Providences in my life and resting in Him.

  2. Coming back for one additional thought--another thing that helps in growth is ministry to others.

  3. Since our transformation happens via the renewal of our minds by the Spirit, growth is measured by the contrast of temporal to spiritual. This can be seen externally in qualities like love, joy, peace, and patience, but also in our own minds by understanding who we are vs. who we were.

    Practical observations:
    -If you used to be stressed in traffic and you no longer aren't
    -If slow checkout lanes used to make you impatient, and you now look for ways to take the pressure off everyone in line, or at least the checker
    -If you find yourself weeping with someone when life is hard, rather than tritely telling them it will all work out

    A very simplified map of growth would be:
    -Know God
    -Know your past
    -See yourself from God's perspective
    -See others from God's perspective
    -Serve others
    -Learn His voice
    -Hear His words spoken over you
    -Get in line with (and function within) your purpose
    -Rinse & repeat

    That's not comprehensive by any means. Just thinking out loud.

  4. Great observations Brad. So...if I am exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit in more and more situations, that is a good indication that I am growing in the Spirit.

  5. Right. Like yeast leavens the whole batch, the Spirit should eventually be seen in every situation in our lives.

    As for the "how" that's in the great commission: "Go and make disciples." Discipleship is about spending as much time as it takes to pass a lifestyle from one person to another, usually measured in years.