He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
As the human beings, we like to measure everything. We measure our height, we measure our weight, we measure our job performance or our finances. We just like to measure things. But how do we measure our spiritual growth? Some of us measure our spiritual growth by the number of the books we read or sermons that they listen. Others measure by the theological education that they have received. And some, by how much they do in the church or how successful their ministry is growing. I think all these things are great and are needed in our Christian life, but I don’t think these are the accurate measurements of our spiritual growth. I think John the Baptist worded the best way how we should measure our spiritual growth. «He must increase, but I must decrease.» The best measurement for our spiritual growth is by how much Christ is increasing in our lives and our selfishness and self-centeredness decreases. Do I and others see more of Christ in my life than before? Can I see more of Christ in how I act, behave or respond when I am at home, or at work with the people around me? Do I see that I became more patient, more loving, and kinder than the previous years? Do I see more of Christ-like qualities in my character?
So how do we overcome our barriers and grow? I think John’s spiritual formula is very accurate. It shows us that in order for our sinful self to decrease, Christ needs to increase first in our lives. We shouldn’t focus first on how I can decrease, but instead on how Christ can increase in my life? And once we focus on Christ increasing in our lives, the natural outflow will be that our sinful flesh with its desires will be less decreasing in our lives.
Measuring our spiritual growth: 3 комментария
I think an important thing to understand is, why it is necessary to grow in Christ. Growing for just the sake of growing does not make any sense. Are there any benefits of being a mature believer rather than not, weather it relates to the person or when it comes to the Kingdom?
Jesus told his disciples that all of the things the He did on earth were for the glorification of the Father through Him.
12 I assure you and most solemnly say to you, anyone who believes in Me [as Savior] will also do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these [in extent and outreach], because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in My name [[a]as My representative], this I will do, so that the Father may be glorified and celebrated in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name [as My representative], I will do it.
I personally believe it all comes down to glorification of God as the Most High.
I think Paul puts this in perspective in Romans 1
For even though [d]they knew God [as the Creator], they did not [e]honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened.
The difference between a non-believing sinner and a saved follower of Christ is just that. One is trying to glorify them selves, while the other is Glorifying God the creator, the Most High.
Alex, I think you bringing up a great point. We do need to know why we should grow spiritually. There is a reason why God wants us to grow, and as you said, «to bring glory to God» (Rom. 8:29). Another reason that I would add is to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, which essentially is the same because when we are like Christ, we bring glory to God.
I like the formula. Very well said.