Photo Credit: Alex Keda.
Very often in families as children are growing and developing, as soon as the child can stand and walk, the child is put up against a wall and a mark is made to indicate their height. Usually it’s repeated every year. There may be years when there is hardly any growth at all and parents may begin to wonder if the child has maxed out on growth. Then, all of a sudden there is a growth spurt and the child may grow 3 or 4 inches in one year, much to the pride and joy of the parents. It’s very easy to see a person’s physical growth over the years. There is clear, visible evidence of it. But what about those of us in the kingdom of God? What is the evidence of our growth?
When we experience the new birth in Christ we are considered babes. And like any other baby we drink our formula, cry, pee, and poop all over ourselves, requiring someone to spoon feed us and clean up behind the messes we make. But as we are fed more and more of the Word, we grow, become self-sufficient and hopefully increasingly spiritually mature. But unlike physical growth, our spiritual growth never ends, it is a lifelong process. Even after we become spiritually mature, we must still continue to grow.
But how do we know when we have become spiritually mature? Yes, we will read the Bible more and spend more time with God and attend church and serve God’s creation. But I believe the real evidence of spiritual maturity is in the choices we make from day to day. Choices that are based less and less on how we “feel” and more and more on a desire to please God and have our behaviors line up with His Word. When we do what’s right even when we “feel” like doing what’s wrong.
You know you are spiritually mature when you can unilaterally forgive the person who violated you even if they haven’t asked for it, don’t want it or are too dead to care. When you take your behind home to your husband who hasn’t noticed you in five years, even though you “feel” like going out with that tall drink of water that complimented your new hairstyle and just asked you out for “coffee”. When you love on your nagging, disrespectful wife, even though you “feel” like knocking boots with that pretty, young thang at work who tells you how wonderful you are. When you return that $20 extra change given to you in error, even though you are broke as all get out, a week from payday, no gas in the car and “feel” like pocketing that money. You get the picture.
Now I don’t believe in spiritual brownie points but I do believe that when we honor God and live according to His Word and not our feelings, it pleases Him and positions us for His grace and blessings. Psalm 84:11 tells us that He will not withhold any good thing from those who walk uprightly before Him. So, the next time you are faced with a decision and choose to follow God’s Word and not your feelings, get out that pencil and make a growth mark on your spiritual maturity wall. Your Abba Father will be so proud.