How to know if you're growing in your faith
From Chasing Purpose: A 27-Day Devotional
All of us remember what it's like to be a teenager. Late nighters. Too much pizza. We're growing like a weed, and we look like one. Bags under the eyes. Zits. Bad skin. Oily hair. A tendency to fall asleep anytime, anyplace, anywhere. We're growing, but it's almost despite ourselves.
In the same way, a burning passion to know Jesus deeply can distract us from an awareness of what we need to grow in relationship with Him.
Both Paul and James use the metaphor of a mirror to help us recognize that growing people change. James teaches that the Bible shows us who we really are, zits and all (James 1:23-24). The Bible gives us a mirror to see how we're reflecting Jesus' character and appearance. The same way kids look more like their parents the older they get, we look more like Jesus the longer we follow Him.
Passion, excitement, and religious emotion can look like signs of growth. But a better indicator of how we're growing is who we're becoming. Are we being conformed into Jesus' image like Romans 8:29 describes?
Hearing others teach the Bible is helpful, but maturity comes as we learn to read the Bible and apply it to our lives. That's when we start to move from milk to solid food, from being bottle fed like a baby to devouring whole pizzas like a young adult.
"Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:13-14).
We're going to hear a lot about God as we grow up in our faith. The way we train ourselves to distinguish good from evil is by knowing God's Word and applying it to our lives — not others' lives, our lives. Without that training, we become like the one James describes, who “looks in the mirror and forgets what he sees,” a “hearer of the word and not a doer.”
- How much of Jesus do you see reflected in your life?
- What's one way that reading the Bible has informed your understanding of who God is? Is there anything you thought was true about Him before you started reading that you now know isn't?