growth

Screen shot 2011-03-23 at 9.38.20 AMThis picture was taken in the home of a couple from our church.  It is of the doorway where they have measured their children’s growth over the years. They have two children, both now in college.  Pencil marks record the height of each child. The markings are accompanied by initials and the date, each child proudly logging their most recent evidence of growth.

This doorway is a clear record of progress.  It is measured and marked off.  From year to year, date to date, some spans of time showing more growth than others.  It is a place where they can come and see that they are not the same as they used to be.

Just like a healthy child grows, there is to be growth in our spiritual lives. Colossians 2:6-7  says, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” (NLT)

Accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior is just the beginning.  We are called to continue following Him.  Our roots growing deep, our lives being built, our faith growing  strong.  If we are not growing, advancing, maturing spiritually there is a problem.  In fact, in 2 Peter 1 we are given list of advancements to be made in our lives spiritually.  In verse 9 we are told “But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.”  If there is not growth, if we “fail to develop” there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Unfortunately, a good number of Christians are unaware of whether they are growing or not.  It is important that we monitor our spiritual growth, however, monitoring spiritual growth is not as simple as standing with our back to the wall while someone marks above our head with a pencil.

In the commotion and business of life, our growth in Jesus can become an afterthought.  What ways of monitoring and measuring this growth do you have in place?

I have would like to make two recomendations:

1. Journal.  Over the last 15 years I have journaled with moderate consistency.  It is as close to pencil marks on a door frame as you can get.  After your daily quiet time with the Lord, take a few minutes to journal where you are in your walk, what you are learning or what you are going through at the time.  I am encouraged when I look back through my journal and can see where God has made changes in me.  I would not be able to see that growth if I did not journal.

2. An honest voice. Find someone in your life that you can trust to speak the truth in love. It will need to be someone who is close enough to give you feedback to questions like,  “Are you  seeing growth in me? Am I changing at all? Becoming more Christ like? Less Christ like? In what areas?” Set up a regular time to address these questions and be prepared to deal with the answers.

Our spiritual development is far too important to simply hope that it is occurring. (check out Hebrews 5:11-14)  What steps are you taking to ensure growth is taking place?