6 questions for you
Over the years I have had the privilege of introducing many people to Christ. Little did I know what would happen after I introduced some people to Christ I would see and experience such varied reactions. Honestly, a few people have completely surprised me. One young man in particular experienced a spiritual renovation and his life has continually demonstrates transformation. His lifestyle was radically changed, his attitudes underwent a major overhaul and his values were revolutionized. For more than 5 years I have watched a continual process of transformation and he has become a brand new person.
On the other hand the majority of people I run across are on the other side of this equation which is a conundrum to every pastor. They have been around evangelical churches all their life and know all the right answers. They routinely goes through the so called Christian life, but after being a believer for most of there conscious life, they continue to be obnoxious in their behavior, excessively legalistic in their attitudes, incapable of relating well with more than a few close friends, an much more. Though they have a great deal of biblical information, there is virtually no demonstration of Christ-likeness in their personality.
It’s a puzzle to me that so many Christians plateau in their walk with God and that the process of being conformed into Christ’s image is aborted. It’s as if they say, “I’ve got this Christian life figured out now and I’m finished changing.”
Peter made it clear.
“… grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18).
There is to be a life-long process of practical spiritual transformation. Spiritual maturity is not a merit badge for accumulating biblical knowledge; it’s the daily application of that knowledge to life situations.
How can we know we’re growing? Here are six questions to ask yourself. Be honest as you work through these questions.
1. Do I have a greater hunger for God’s presence?
Has God become ho-hum to you? Do you take God for granted? Do you treat God casually? Have I lost the wonder of the Divine Majesty? Or is there an intense passion to know God more intimately? King David said,
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)
A growing Christians should crave a greater sense of God’s presence.
2. Do I demonstrate love for people more than I did last year?
Too often I think that if I do not hate someone, I must love him. Christian love is not the absence of hate. Christian love is the opposite of indifference. Love is proactive. Love initiates. Biblically loving others means giving up personal convenience and preferences for the well-being of someone else. True love is sacrificial. People who genuinely love have short memories. Forgiveness comes quickly, whether it is asked for or not. There are no lingering grudges. Lovers demonstrate kindness.
What have you done in the last month that demonstrates Christ-like love?
3. Am I more intrigued with God’s Word?
While I was in school, I had a friend who knew he should read his Bible each day, but he had an interesting habit. Often at night when he knew he should be reading his Bible, he read Psalm 117, a psalm with just two verses. He must have read that psalm 50 times that year. But there was no fascination with what he was reading. There was no search to know what God was speaking into his daily experiences. He just soothed his conscience and did his religious duty.
What was the last great insight God revealed to you while reading the Bible? When was the last time you sensed God speaking directly to you?
As I study I am continually amazed at the power of God’s Word. God’s Word is unique, eternal, life-changing and powerful. It is continually new and fresh. Most of all, it is intensely personal, speaking directly to us. I am intrigued by what the Bible says and the topics it deals with. I am stretched to understand what it meant to its readers, but what it means today in our contemporary world. I am constantly challenged to understand how it applies to my personal experiences.
4. Are the disciplines of the Christian life more appealing to me?
Paul told Timothy,
“…train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
Life change does not happen by chance. It requires our cooperation with the Holy Spirit. That cooperation involves the regular practice of spiritual disciplines – regular habits of meditation (yes, meditation), solitude, Bible reading, praying, fasting and contentment. Have these disciplines become a drudgery and duty? Or are they a source of delight to be anticipated? For people who are growing, spiritual disciplines are never routine; they are exciting discoveries. Spiritual disciplines are a key to spiritual transformation. What’s your attitude to these disciplines.
5 . Do I have an increasing concern about the eternal fate of spiritually lost people?
Here’s something that confuses me. Despite the biblical teaching about spiritual lostness, I’ve concluded that the longer most people have been believers, it seems the less they are concerned about lost people. People who are growing in Christ-likeness, become like Christ! Jesus said he came to seek and to save the lost. Growing believers are learning to seek and introduce lost people to the Savior.
6. Am I more conscious of heaven than the things of earth?
Modern thinking is a long way from the thinking of Paul. He wrote,
“I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:22-24).
Not many believers today are torn between death and going on living, to be honest I really struggle with this one. In place of an increasing heaven-consciousness, we’ve become enamored with the comforts of materialism and affluence. We act as this life is the ultimate experience. We’re taken with the “here and now“ and have forgotten that the “then and there” is so much more wonderful. It is not that we become so heavenly minded that we become useless and ineffective in this life (I’m pretty sure that it’s been a long time, if ever, since I met someone too heavenly-minded). Rather, I regularly meet people who are so earthly-minded that they are of little value to the kingdom of heaven.
“A heavenly perspective gives us a Christ-life perspective on earth. Paul said, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”(Colossians 3:1-2).
As I begin to eat right and exercise each day, I don’t see any noticeable change in my health that day. But these disciplines each day will produce changes in my body that are noticeable over time. You’ll see the spiritual change after a period of time, just keep going.
Posted on July 12, 2012, in ...from Jon, Life, Theology and tagged 1 Timothy 4, Christian life, Colossians 3, heaven, heavenly-minded, internship, Philippians 1, Psalm 42, Spiritual, Spiritual discipline, Spiritual disciplines, spiritual realities. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.