Writing on the wall was great fun. That was certainly true when I was a kid until my parents found out. But I’m thinking of just this morning as I wrote on the walls again.
We’ve devoted a portion of a hallway wall to measure the heights of our kids and grandkids. Today, three of them were all smiles and giggles as they stood tall to be measured for growth. To borrow the cliché, they’re growing by leaps and bounds as expected of children.
Height is easy to measure. Spiritual growth is not, but it is certainly of greater importance.
The scriptures tell us that we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18). Notice the transition: we are to grow spiritually for the glory of Jesus, not ourselves. But how do we do that? And is our growth completely up to us?
We know that when a child is growing, she needs good nutrition, plenty of exercise, and rest. Similarly, a plant needs good soil with plenty of nutrients, water, and sunshine to grow.
Providing the proper environment for growth is necessary, but even with all the ingredients, we can’t truly make anything grow. God does that with plants and children.
Spiritual growth is the same: we put in the elements needed for growth and God provides the growth. Philippians 1:6 assures us “that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” God produces the increase and will make certain that we reach the full measure of spiritual growth in Christ. So what do we do? What do we provide and how do we measure our growth?
We can measure our growth against spiritual disciplines. Be truthful as you reflect and rate yourself (1-10) on each of the following:
1. Bible study ___________
2. prayer ___________
3. fasting ___________
4. scripture memorization ___________
5. silence, meditation, & solitude ___________
6. rest / Sabbath ___________
7. worship ___________
8. evangelism ___________
9. accountability ___________
10. purity of heart ___________
11. mentoring someone else ___________
12. physical health / fitness (taking care of God’s temple) ___________
Most of us are pretty humbled by such measurements. But, these measurements are the same disciplines that we can undertake for growth to become more Christlike. These disciplines are the nutrients and exercise (or the soil and sun if you prefer the plant analogy) which God uses to makes you grow.
In Daniel 5:1-31, the literal writing on the wall for King Belshazzar indicated that he had been ”weighed on the scales” – measured, if you will – “and found wanting”. Daniel points out to the Belshazzar that he knew how his predecessor, King Nebuchadnezzar, had been humbled by the Lord “until he acknowledged that the Most High God is ruler over human kingdoms and sets anyone he wants over them” (21-22). In Belshazzar’s pride and arrogance before the Lord, He came up short. As a result, his kingdom would abruptly come to an end and be divided among his enemies.
You and I have the opportunity to both measure ourselves and discipline ourselves for spiritual growth. Where are you short? And in what area(s) are you willing to commit to growth? Mark it down and come back to it regularly. Ask God to help you “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” for His glory. I’m praying for your growth and each measure of your success.