God’s desire for His people is that we grow spiritually. Peter directly exhorts us to “grow in the grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18) The Holy Spirit warns us about danger of arrested spiritual development (Hebrews 5:12-14).
So here’s the question I pose to us today. What is the real gauge of spiritual growth? Is it the accumulation of biblical knowledge? That may be a sign that we are growing spiritually, but that is not always the case. In fact, it is possible for a person to have a great knowledge of spiritual things and be proud instead of filled with the love of God (1 Corinthians 8:1,2). The real measuring stick of growth is the fruit of The Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22 -23). The Bible tells us that it is possible for us to be charismatic, exercise great faith, and even give sacrificially and yet lack the very proof of spiritual growth, which is the love of God (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).
And what is this love spoken of here? It is much more than a definition; it is an action. It is what we read about in Hebrews 11, for it is faith at work (Galatians 5:6). It is the fruit of abiding in Christ (John 15:1-8), which brings glory to The Father (Matthew 5:14-16). If we were to take a written test filled with Bible questions and essays on terminology, we could determine how much we know. But if I really wanted to know how “spiritual” you are, and if you really wanted to know how spiritual I was, the ones to ask would be our spouse, if married, and our children, or siblings, or our coworkers, who see us day in and day out. You see, the real test of spiritual growth is not how excited we get about discussing theology or how high we raise our hands or jump in the air during a worship service, but how we walk when the discussion is over or our feet hit the ground after the time of worship. James tells us: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”(James 1:22-24)
There it is, guys; the proof of growing spiritually is measured by my yielding to the Word of God. And the evidence of my surrender to God’s Word is that I will progressively become more and more like Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).