I am thankful for the New Year. It is a time for me to seek direction, write out my goals and desires, and seek clarification for what HE has for me this year. It is a blank slate to see if I will get out of the way and allow God to work in my life instead of me working for me. It is a time to check myself to see if I am on the path God intended for me.
Charles Stanley recently wrote an article called, A Barometer for Spiritual Growth. In his article he outlined 13 'signposts' to mark spiritual progress. He encourages each reader to take these signposts and put them in their Bible, or place them somewhere where they can read them often and measure their status. What a wonderful way to start the New Year by focusing on our relationship with God growing in our faith. Here is the quick list version of his article.
1. A Hunger to Know God More-Do you hunger to know God? If we are maturing in our Christian walk, then we will certainly have a growing hunger to know God.
2. A Desire to Know the Truth of the Word-If we are growing in the Lord, then we will want to know what HE says about everything. How much time are we spending reading the Word of God, compared to the time spending on Face book, magazines, TV, etc?
3. An Increasing Awareness of our Sinfulness- Are you able to recognize danger zones so we can guard against them. By doing so we are becoming more and more aware of our desperate need for HIM.
4. A Quick Response to Sin, Involving Genuine Repentance- When we grow spiritually, we will no longer be able to loiter so effortlessly in sin. We will want to bring that offense to the feet of God and repent of our actions as quickly as possible.
5. Joy in the Mist of Intense Spiritual Battles-As we mature in our faith, spiritual warfare becomes more intense. As we trust in the Holy Spirit, we can still rejoice because we know God is in the process of developing us into mature believers.
6. Understanding trials and temptations as opportunity for growth- Most of us grow spiritually in the mist of a trial. Even though the situation is painful, mature believers recognize the potential for God to reveal Himself in a mighty way.
7. Viewing Service To God as an Honor, not a Burden- If we are growing in the Lord, we will want to serve Him. Love is spelled T-I-M-E. The motivation of your service will be love, not responsibility or obligation. You will truly enjoy the time you spend in service to Him. Remember that even though we're called to serve, we are also called to observe a day or season of rest. God wants us at our best, but that cannot happen if we take no breaks and work ourselves to exhaustion.
8. Viewing Everything -Both Good and Bad- as Coming From the Lord- If we are to be mature believers, then we must understand the Father's complete and total sovereignty. Everything that happens, both good and bad, is under HIS control.
9. Faith to Ask God for Bigger Things- As we mature in Christ, so does our faith and confidence that god will answer our prayers. It may be no sometimes. But we show confidence in God by asking for bigger and bigger things while allowing the Holy Spirit to guide their requests.
10. Eagerness to Share Christ with Others- A sign that you are growing in the Lord is that you cannot stay quiet about it. You have to tell someone about it! As our faith matures, we develop a heart for other people.
11. Earnest Desire to Give to the Lord's Work- One key evidence of a believer's maturity is what happens to his pocketbook. If our heart is for ministry, then you will give gladly to the work of the gospel.
12. An Increasing Awareness of God in Every Area of Life- A mature believer is one who is constantly aware of the presence and work of God. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us that a growing Christian prays continually. This is an instruction to abide in the presence of God at all times. Are you the same person at church on Sunday that you are the rest of the week at home? Faith is not a part time commitment- we are to believe at all times.
13. The Priority of a Personal Devotional Life- The most important part of the day for a believer is the time dedicated solely to growing closer to the Father.
I am encouraging and praying for you dear sisters in Christ, that we all may grow more in Christ this year. Here is to 2010!