How are you doing, Spiritually?
That is an important question. Scripture, by both direct and indirect statements, repeatedly encourages us to examine our hearts. And while many are aware that it ought to be our regular practice to take a Spiritual pulse, I suspect that relatively few know how to read the gauges even if we try.
Consequently, if we are not sure what we are looking for, it follows that we are not always quite sure how to answer our opening question. So, it seems, the typical response we might give, even to those who may genuinely care, is an awful lot like the responses we give to the stranger on the street, or the hotel clerk we see each morning on vacation, when they ask “How are you today?”
“Fine, thanks. And you?”
But this is too important a question to simply perpetuate the standard reflex responses.
Don Whitney, of The Center for Biblical Spirituality, provides us with a helpful tool that we can use in measuring our Spiritual health. His article 10 Questions to Ask to Make Sure You Are Still Growing, is an excerpt of a short book by the same title.
Below I will provide Whitney’s Introduction, and list the 10 Questions. In subsequent posts I will publish Whitney’s insights related to each question. At the end of this series, let’s see how we are doing…
One of the early explorers to the North Pole charted his journey hourly to ensure that he stayed on course through the white wasteland. At one point a strange phenomenon began to occur. As he checked his position, his instruments indicated that even though he had been moving northward, he was actually farther south than he had been an hour before. Regardless of the speed at which he walked in the direction of the Pole, he continued to get farther from it. Finally he discovered that he had ventured onto an enormous iceberg that was drifting in one direction as he was walking in the other.
There is a world of difference between activity and progress. That is as true on a Christian’s journey toward the Celestial City of heaven as it is on a North Pole expedition. The Christian life is meant to be one of growth and progress. We are even commanded in 2 Pet. 3:18 , “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
How can we know that we are growing in grace—that we are making real progress and not merely deceiving ourselves with activity?
It’s often hard to recognize spiritual advance over a week’s time or maybe even a month’s time. Trying to determine the progress of a soul is like looking at the growth of an oak—you can’t actually see it growing at the moment, but you can compare it to where it was some time ago and see that there has indeed been growth. The following 10 questions can help you discern whether you are maturing spiritually. Use them to evaluate the past six to 12 months.
- Are you more thirsty for God than ever before?
- Are you more and more loving?
- Are you more sensitive to and aware of God than ever before?
- Are you governed more and more by God’s Word?
- Are you concerned more and more with the physical and spiritual needs of others?
- Are you more and more concerned with the Church and the Kingdom of God?
- Are the disciplines of the Christian life more and more important to you?
- Are you more and more aware of your sin?
- Are you more and more willing to forgive others?
- Are you thinking more and more of heaven and of being with the Lord Jesus?