Am I really growing in the Lord?
2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
Jas 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
I was recently asked by someone close, how do we know if someone is really growing closer to God? It is a very legitimate question and a question that every Christian should ask of himself concerning his spiritual growth. When we take our children to the doctor, they have different measurements that indicate growth and good health. They check their height and their weight. They check their vision, hearing, and even how many teeth they have. They check their heart beat and blood pressure. These measurements are generally taken when we go for what we all call a “checkup.”
The Spiritual Check Up
Let us take a moment for a quick spiritual checkup. Our measurement of growth in a Christian is different yet similar in many ways to a physical checkup. For example, we can certainly make an application that a growing Christian has good spiritual vision according to Pr 29:18 ¶ Where there is no vision, the people perish:. We can make a case that a growing Christian has good hearing. Jas 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. We can make a strong argument that a growing Christian has a pure heart because of the emphasis to guard it in the bible. Pr 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. We could spend a lot of time discussing the evidences of growth in a Christian such as their desire to be a soul winner, their faithfulness and engagement to church, their prayer and devotional life, and so on. Many people can practice and even master these concepts and yet not really be growing in the Lord. I want to share some evidence that I ALWAYS see in a growing Christian.
Drawing Closer to God
One way I know a person is genuinely drawing closer to Christ is not always in their attendance to church, their activity on social media, (i.e. posting scripture, sharing godly quotes) or even how they give, but in their attitude. EVERY single time I have a seen a person grow in the Lord, I have seen a growth in humility and a growth in grace. When a person makes the statement, “I am really growing in the Lord,” without sounding skeptical my response internally is generally, “Maybe you are or maybe you’re not.” Before you criticize me for being “skeptical,” let me explain. When I see a person who has truly grown in the Lord they always humble themselves. Instead of saying, “look at how much I have grown,” they generally say something like, “The Lord convicted me of _____________ and _____________ then I realized the need to change it, repent of it and/or make it right.” Friends that is a sign of humility. Constantly proclaiming how much you have grown is the opposite of humility. A growing Christian first listens to preaching, or counsel or they heed to the Word of God. Then instead of ignoring or even rebelling against rebuke or instruction they admit that they were wrong or in sin and took corrective action. I don’t know about you but admitting I am wrong can be difficult. In fact, that is my point, admitting I am wrong is “humbling.” Confession of sin is always a sign of humility. The result is a change in their attitude.
Observing the Text
Our text above speaks of drawing nigh to God. When we refer to a person “growing in the Lord,” we, in theory, mean they are drawing closer to God. If that is true, then when you draw closer to God you become more sensitive to sin in your own life. That is the “cleanse your hands, ye sinners,” part. The cleansing of sin in your heart on the inside will eventually show on the outside. The second observation of the text we want to make is the purification of your heart. “Purify your hearts.” A pure heart is always a humble heart. A pure heart is always a gracious heart. It is truly a sign that you came to a place where you realized you are living a such a way that is contrary to the Lord and you did something about it. Humility will always show in a person when they can admit personal sin. Grace will show in a person on how they treat other people. So, you see friends spiritual growth in a Christian can not only be measured by external proof such as attending church, putting money in the offering plate or even handing out a tract. (I certainly believe that GROWING Christians should practice all those things.) But true spiritual growth can be measured in a Christian by their attitude and their spirit. “Grow in grace and knowledge” is what the bible says. I recently heard a pastor say that, “You can have a head full of knowledge and a heart full of sin.” Just because you have grown in knowledge, does not mean you have grown in grace or grown in the Lord for that matter. Let us measure our growth by biblical principles. I pray these simple thoughts have helped you to “grow” in the Lord today.