Where are the marks on the wall of your life? Maybe you’ve done this for your kids or your Mom did it for you while you were young. There was some specially designed wall in your home with some pencil marks on it where, as you grew from year to year, she marked where your head had reached. It was interesting to see at birthdays where these lines had to be moved upward. There were even some special times at the request of our kids that we took an additional measurement due to their sensing there was some additional vertical progress occurring.
The question was always “how much have I grown?” Their question had nothing to do with spiritual growth, but do you ever think about that question in light of where you are growing spiritually? How do you keep track of these “lines on the wall” which give evidence of your growing spiritual maturity? Momma’s not there with a pencil and a pat on the head. God doesn’t applaud from the heavens, at least not in my case. There’s no 1-800-hows my growth?
So how do you assess your spiritual maturity if you take time to consider the matter at all? There doesn’t seem to be anything that leads to instant growth. It’s process, isn’t it? There are situations requiring patience and waiting. There are disappointments to recover from. There are occasions of being disappointed or misunderstood. There are losses. All of these call for perseverance don’t they? Having the energy and resolve to stay the course is one thing, but we hope to have something positive to salvage even from the worst of our experiences. These experiences and perhaps trials require meditation, review, counsel, assessment and possibly even time to heal. But hey, it ain’t all bad! Fortunately, there are also moments and experiences of great joy and victory to savor.
Journaling can be a great release for the present as well as a “tutor” looking back on our observations. Psalm 119, the longest Psalm of all, has great insight for us and provides a tremendous “game plan” we can use to prompt us in our daily steps in spiritual growth and connection with God. You might consider writing down these principles and keeping them in your Bible as you engage in your devotional times:
- Seek the Lord on a regular basis. Get comfortable with Him and the life He calls you to. Verse 10 says ”I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.” Respect God in this way and He will help you stay the course.
- Treasure, yes greatlyvalue His truth in your heart. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (V.11) Commit some verses to memory to establish personal “default” positions for yourself for when doubts or circumstances batter you. Pastor/Author Charles Swindoll says “a heart full of treasure leaves little room for trash.”
- Openly tell others about Him and the impact He makes in your life and circumstances. No-onecan refute the goodness God has extended to you. Use this to interest others in Him. “With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth.” (V. 13)
- Delight in and show joy in living the Christ-life. Demonstrate that obedience to God’s commands and precepts are not burdensome but liberating! Smile more. Encourage others more. Have confidence. “I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches.” I delight in your decrees.”(V.13,16))
- Spend more time meditating on God’s principles and how they add purpose and structure to your life. “I will meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.”(V.15)
All of us are to be growing up into the likeness of Christ. This is the beautiful transforming work of the Spirit in us. It is work for the Spirit and it is also work for us. My prayer for you is that you allow it to be an enjoyable work. Put these simple tips into practice as you exercise the discipline of a consistent “devotional” or “quiet” time and allow them to help establish the mental course of your day. Just try it for a week and see if it “grows” on you. Think About It.