Grow up. How many times have we told our children that, or heard it ourselves (maybe from our spouse)? Growing up is a spiritual reality for the normal Christian life. The omega point-the end game, if you would-is maturing into Christ-likeness in our attitudes, our worldview, and our personal relationships. It involves how we are relating to God, as well as to others. Are you growing up?
One sage advised that spiritual growth can be evaluated by using these diagnostic questions:
1) Am I less likely to become disappointed?
2) Am I less likely to become impatient?
3) Am I less likely to become embittered?
• Are we likely to become disappointed when life does not work out like we’d planned or like we would want it to? If so, we are disappointed with God. Our spiritual growth sags when this happens. If we really believed “all things are working together for the good,” (note: not necessarily OUR good) then we will be less likely to become disappointed. This is a measurement of HOPE.
• Are we likely to become impatient? Now I don’t think this means we don’t become impatient and sometimes irritated with others, though there is some of that implied in this word. I think this means we are becoming more patient with OURSELVES. This is a measurement of FAITH. Do we have faith that God is at work shaping us into the image of Christ?
• Are we likely to become embittered? This has to do with how we react in relationship to others. Do the actions, attitudes, and decisions of others tend to leave us bitter? Do we hold on to grudges (pronounced “grrrrrr-udges”) when others cross us or fail us? This is finally a measurement of our LOVE.
In short, are you growing up? Are these things becoming less characteristic of life as we grow in the “grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ? They should if we are really “growing up” in Jesus.
“For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from becoming useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8 HCSB)