If you were to walk into the home where our oldest grandson lives, you’d see a wall with lots of pencil marks on it. Beside each mark Mommy or Daddy has written a date. Andrew loves to look at the wall to see how much taller he has become every few months. And he loves to point out that fact to his proud grandparents as well.
Looking back at how much I’d grown was one of the most encouraging things to me during the early part of my Christian walk. God is the only One whose evaluation ultimately matters. But He has told us a lot about how much He wants us to grow, and what that looks like.
So how are you growing in grace? Where are your “marks on the wall”?
You go to church—or don’t. You have a Bible on the table and read it—sometimes. You pray—more than most, but not as much as some. Your coworkers know you’re a Christian and don’t seem to care too much. You don’t look or sound anything like Sally SuperChristian, but that’s just not your personality. You believe God is real, but there are moments when you struggle with doubts about certain things.
Do any of those things really matter? If you’re certain of Jesus as your Savior, what kind of difference should that be making in your life now? Do you have to be “super-Christian” to be successful?
When it comes to our relationship with God, checklists can be a little dangerous. He deals with each of us individually, and sometimes in very unique ways. But a spiritual checkup can help you put some “marks on the wall.”
Here are a few evaluation points to check:
- Are godly characteristics showing up in your life? Qualities like truthfulness, courage, kindness, honesty, forgiveness, joy, peace, and love (Galatians 5:22-23). These aren’t characteristics you can develop by trying harder. They only develop as God works His transforming grace in your soul. If they’re showing up in your character, you know He’s at work. That’s why they’re called “fruit.”
- Are people around you being impacted in a positive way? It starts with your family; how do they respond when you’re around? What about the people around you at work, at church, at school, or on social media? If people who are in trouble or who want to grow themselves are being drawn to you, this may be an indication that God is working through you (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).
- Are your sins under control? That’s a tricky one. You certainly can’t white-knuckle it and “control” your sins. God’s forgiveness is real, and His grace covers you. But as you proceed through the Christian life you shouldn’t remain the same. God’s work in transforming your heart should increasingly show up in your outward behavior (Romans 6:12–14). If it isn’t, something’s wrong.
- Is your reason for living bigger than yourself? You can’t often see the whole picture of what God wants to do in and through your life. But the longer you know Him, the better you understand His purpose for you, even if that understanding is imperfect. And that purpose is always larger than just your own comfort. Are your energies being given, in some way, to the advance of His kingdom?
- Is your relationship with God stronger now that when you began? The longer you know God, the stronger your bond with Him should become. You continuously come to know Him better, hear Him better, and love Him more.
Notice that there’s nothing on this list about emotions, or church work, or religious activity. And this isn’t about a straight line; the Christian life has seasons that may be harder or easier. Just because you don’t FEEL better doesn’t mean God isn’t working in your life.
We all have a lot of growing to do. Look at what God has done in you, put some marks on your own wall, and rejoice at how far God has grown you.
At the same time notice areas in which God may still be working to grow you more. The good news is that there’s no time limit on this test; He’ll keep working on you as long as you’ll let Him.
Your Turn: What are some marks on your spiritual wall? What are some ways in which God has grown you? Leave a comment below.
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