Are you growing Spiritually?
I like winning. As a teenager, it consumed me. Whether it was playing football, board games, or having random cook-offs with friends, I played to win.
As I grew older, I began to realize that what I liked most about winning is that it shows I am being effective and improving.
Now I care more about improving than winning.
Since the pandemic put us in isolation, I have started to take my physical fitness more seriously. I recently realized that one of the main reasons I have enjoyed doing this is because it gives me clear results if I am improving. I can lift heavier weights, run faster, or run farther.
This activity is good since my job as Pastor of COMMUNITY Life is hard to tell whether I am effective at the best of times, but in a season when people aren’t allowed to see each other, it is nearly impossible.
It can be hard to tell whether my work and ministry are meaningful.
Don’t get me wrong, there are glimpses of health and community that I am excited about: care groups pivoted so they can continue to connect, and people are being intentional about connecting with those who are isolated or vulnerable. There are glimpses of community life, but it is hard to see. Therefore, physical fitness has been a healthy way for me to see improvement.
You may be going through a similar season right now, where it is hard to see the results of your hard work.
This can also be true of our faith. There can be monumental moments in our life where we know we are growing closer to God, but most of the time, it is hard to tell. The 1 Corinthians 15:58b says, “your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” But if you are like me, you like to see growth.
How do we know if we are growing? Do we just need to trust that we are growing? How do I know if I should change some spiritual practices to grow more?
Galatians 5 tells us how we can see growth in our faith. Galatians 5:6 says, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” If faith expressing itself in love is all that matters, we can measure our faith by our love. Love is a pretty broad topic. Thankfully, Paul breaks it down later in the chapter when he talks about the fruit of the spirit: “Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23a).”
If you are growing closer to God, the fruit of the spirit will increase in your life.
The way to grow in these is not necessarily to work harder or be more diligent on your own. The key is to keep in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:25), abide in him, and he will cause the fruit to increase.
So, if you want to see the spiritual growth in your life, why don’t you take stock of the fruit of the spirit. Over the next 3 days, evaluate 1 of the fruit of the spirit. Don’t just look at the ways you are failing, if you are like me, that can be easy. Look for ways God has helped you grow.
It can be simple or profound.
You can even ask some trusted friends how they have seen you grow. It may take courage, but sometimes it takes courage to be enCOURAGEd.
Hopefully, this will encourage and inspire you to keep in step with the spirit so you can experience more of the fruit in your life.