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Spiritual Growth

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“Let each one examine his own work. Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else” (Galatians 6:4, New English Translation).

We can take a deep breath and get back to a semblance of normal with the hurry and scurry of the holidays now behind us. I’m not one to make a lot of New Year’s resolutions (which many have already abandoned by Week Two of the year), but it is a good time to reflect on areas of my life that show growth or need improvement.

An Honest Self-examination

While employed, I faced the dreaded annual review. I felt I was a good employee, but I didn’t enjoy completing a self-evaluation before meeting with my supervisor. Self-evaluation requires honesty when viewing our actions and habits. We often see ourselves differently than others see us.

I also wonder if I see myself as God sees me. The Bible says the heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). Am I blinded to my own shortcomings?  Have I grown in my spiritual life? In what areas can I improve? Believe me—there’s always room for growth and improvement!

The Plumb Line

In the Old Testament book of Amos, the prophet and God hold a conversation (Amos 7:7-8). The Lord asks, “What do you see?” Amos sees He is holding a plumb line, a tool used since ancient times in construction to show if a wall is “plumb” or vertical. Our plumb line as a Christian is the character of the Lord. God does not judge us by comparing us to each other. He is our standard of comparison. The question is whether we are vertical or upright when measured against His holiness.

I jotted down some questions to help me focus on areas of my walk with God. Writing the questions was easier than answering them. I could make a longer list, but these create a good starting point in my evaluation.

  1. Have I experienced spiritual growth in the past year?
  2. Are there any areas in which I’ve become less diligent?
  3. Do I daily spend time in prayer and the Word?
  4. What fruit of the Spirit is evident in my life?
  5. Do I make excuses when I fail to obey God’s Word?
  6. Is my life a positive Christian witness to others?

(Note: You can also find more detailed spiritual formation evaluations online.)

While an annual spiritual evaluation is good, it’s even better to be constantly on guard that our lives reflect God’s character. What if we asked ourselves each day, “What can I do to better serve God today? This week? This month?” Frequent self-examination ensures we are living an overcoming life and are obedient to His Word.

Spiritual growth is a lifelong process. We grow or we die (John 15:2). We must never stop striving and growing.

Let’s all make Psalm 139:23-24 our daily prayer.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (NKJV).

God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. (Habakkuk 3:19)

There is an old book based on this final verse in Habakkuk written by Hannah Hurnard called Hinds’ Feet on High Places. The book tells the story of a girl named Much-Afraid and her own journey from doubt to faith. Her story begins as she leaves the Valley of Fear. Fear is all she has ever known, but in faith, she embarks on a new journey. Her path is marked by sorrow and suffering, but through it all, she learns to depend on God.  She learns to trust God no matter what.  And He leads her to higher places with him that she has always longed for.

How do you cultivate “no matter what” faith? You lean on the Lord when you are afraid. You choose to rejoice in God even when the worst happens. You find strength in God to climb to new spiritual heights even when you are down.

God created the deer to be an incredibly agile and graceful creature. He knew that it would need the ability to navigate its often treacherous habitat.  Habakkuk describes a female deer running in high places, steady, uninhibited, unafraid, and full of confidence as she takes on the mountain before her. Let’s pray together that God will give us that kind of sure-footed stability to safely traverse the steep paths of life’s journey to greater spiritual heights.

Prayer: Lord, plant my feet on solid ground and enable me to reach extraordinary places in You.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

Have you noticed the reaction from a young child who has tasted table food and the mother is trying to make them eat a jar of baby food? I remember trying to do this to our daughter Shana. She would shake her head “No” vehemently indicating she didn’t want the baby food and often she would point to the food on the table. She was telling us that she was growing up and wanted to eat what the big people were eating.

How can we be content to stay a spiritual baby? The Word of God says to grow up!

“For every one that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe” (Hebrews 5:13 in the King James Version of the Holy Bible).

Prayer: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for providing the sincere meat of the Word. Your Word is what satisfies the hunger in my soul.

Devotion by Kaye Singleton