In my yard are quarter-circles of grass growing taller than the rest. There ‘s also a 12-foot circle with no grass. What explains these phenomena? Alien laser blasts? A Martian landing site? No. The arcs are where we threw lawn fertilizer, and the circle is where the above-ground pool stood. Whether growth is fast, slow, or non-existent, the difference is easy to discern.
Paul tells his opponents to stop using worldly yardsticks instead of God’s (2 Cor. 10:12). By a worldling’s measure, Paul seemed a failure, but in God’s eyes he was a glorious conqueror. By what standards should we measure spiritual progress?
Spiritual diet: meat vs. milk (1 Cor. 3:1-2). Am I learning more of God’s Word, going broader and deeper than ever before? Or am I just rehashing what I’ve known for years, or worse yet, not reading and studying at all?
Spiritual model: Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:13). We measure our growth not by comparing ourselves with others, but with Christ. My life is guided not just by WWJD (what would Jesus do?), but also by WWJT (think) and WWJB (be). It is not just actions but also thoughts and motives that measure maturity.
Spiritual character: the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). Am I growing in love, in joy, in peace, in patience, in kindness, in goodness, in faithfulness, in gentleness, and in self-control? It’s like a cluster of grapes: each matures on its own–patience may be green while joy is ripe. Yet they all mature together.
Spiritual offspring: those you teach (Heb. 5:12). The ability to instruct others in the faith is a mark of maturity. The immature cannot reproduce. How are you doing at being able to share the gospel with someone else?
God blesses the heart that is devoted to Him. Will you settle for no-growth or slow-growth by devoting yourself to worldly pursuits or giving the Lord half-hearted effort? Or will you put your heart and soul into maturing in Christ? Either way, the difference will soon be evident.
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Copyright ©2006 Steve Singleton
Steve Singleton has written and edited several books and numerous articles. He has been an editor, reporter, and public relations consultant. He has taught college-level Greek, Bible, and religious studies courses and has taught seminars in 11 states and the Caribbean.
Go to his DeeperStudy.com for Bible study resources, no matter what your level of expertise. Explore “The Shallows,” plumb “The Depths,” or use the well-organized “Study Links” for original sources in English translation. Check out the DeeperStudy Bookstore for great e-books, free books, and great discounts. Subscribe to his free “DeeperStudy Newsletter” or “DeeperStudy Blog.”
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