14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
(photo, Echo Lake,NH)
As believers, we should constantly strive to grow closer to God (Eph. 4: 15). When He is the Lord of our life, certain characteristics will be evident in us. I’ve compiled a brief inventory of spiritual benchmarks to help you evaluate your progress. But remember, the items below are just a place to start; see the Bible for a complete growth chart!
We know we’re growing spiritually when we become increasingly aware of our sinfulness and weakness. Biographies of godly saints show they don’t “get better” with age and spiritual maturity. Instead, they become ever more sensitive to their dependence upon the Lord. Also, progress is apparent when we respond to sin with quick repentance. Failure to deal with sin is rebellion against God. Growing believers turn away from wrongdoing and embrace righteousness. As we live with the good results of dependence and repentance, our desire to obey God intensifies, and the attraction of sin lessens.
Spiritual growth is also marked by an increase in two things—joy and struggle. Faith is often developed through hardship because living out the principles of trust and endurance helps us see the connection and grasp how it works. So our relationship with God will deepen when we view trials and temptations as opportunities for us to mature.
Paul, David, and Daniel prove that adversity can help form spiritual giants. These men recognized sovereign God as the gatekeeper of their lives. We are maturing when we perceive whatever comes our way as being from Him, which also means that He’s working it for good (Rom. 8:28).
In Touch Ministries