HOW DO I MEASURE MY SPIRITUALITY? WHAT PARAMETERS CAN I USE TO DETERMINE MY REAL GROWTH SPIRITUALLY? HOW CAN I DETERMINE WHERE I AM IN MY WALK WITH GOD?
These questions come up from time to time as we all try to assess where we are as far as our spiritual life is concerned. It comes up in helping others see where they are as we try to help individuals get a hold of the direction their lives are going. What happens in your daily life is the greatest determining factor as to what you will become in the future. Your future is seen in the seeds you are sowing today. Whatever you spend your time and money doing today will determine where your confidence and expectations lie tomorrow.
Spiritual laws are governed by Kingdom principles and they are well related to agricultural laws of sowing and reaping. I believe three aspects of our life will help us determine our spirituality and help us in our walk with God through our Saviour Jesus Christ. The aspects are: The quality of input I receive from God’s Word (the Bible); the quality of my prayers; and the quality of my relationships in my participation in service to God and my interpersonal relationship with others. Quality here is determined by how real, relevant and transforming the experience is for you. Quality is also determined by the sincerity of heart and how genuine the intentions are. I am talking about purity of motives and clarity of focus. A great challenge to having a true spiritual life is to be real with your self. Many have made a religion out of their relationship with God. Whereas I subscribe to some disciplined use of time and resources, but rigidity that lacks flexibility can in time lead to a deadness of routine without life and passion. Many have lost the essence of a spiritual discipline or practise on the platform of regimentation. Regimentation has its benefits but when the life force is lost then we have traditions of men, religiosity and the vital connection in relationship to God becomes extinct. The practise becomes the goal not the Person of God by His Spirit. We judge ourselves by how we adhere to the practise not by how we are intimate with God. The practise becomes a badge of our achievement rather than the transformation that reveals the workings of God in our lives. We become self-conscious and not God conscious. The essence of this write up is not to re-enforce religious regimentation if that is what you have had in the past of what you long for, but to highlight the real issues in determining the parameters for measuring where you are with God and how to move on.
QUALITY OF INPUT FROM GOD’S WORD
Normally when you consider the Word of God, many see the burden of reading it, not to talk of regular reading. Why is it a burden? Their paradigm or ‘map’ for thinking is not a correct one. It is a partial one, not really the accurate way to see things. The bible is meant to be a record of God’s dealings with His people. It is also a record of how they responded to His dealings, their inspiration, devotion and declarations. The maturity process and conflicting experiences were all recorded for us. It also contains utterances made by God through His people. By these insights, it is obvious that if you do not read and apply the Word of God, the full meaning of the contents will not open to you. “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant.” Psalm 25:14. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, it is the beginning of knowledge and it is the choice we make to respect, reverence and have a disposition to God that yields to God in every way. It is the right way a creature should respond to the Creator who has demonstrated such love and faithfulness to his creation. The quality of Input you get from God’s Word is directly related to your heart’s attitude towards honour, respect, reverence for, and dependence on, God. Words that were recorded in the bible that were uttered from the heart of one of the men of old will resonate with your heart as you read the word of God. My personal dealing has been enhanced by the knowledge of God’s Word. God’s Word has also enhanced my interpretation of my circumstances in life. Man shall not live by bread alone but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. The word from God can be the inspired word from the bible, quickened by the Holy Spirit and made relevant to our present circumstances. Such Word has the ability to feed us, strengthen us and equip us for the challenges in our future. How we need such current Word from God.
QUALITY OF OUR PRAYERS AND WORSHIP OF GOD
Prayer is to the Christian what breathing is to a normal person. Prayer is absolutely critical for healthy existence. It is our reality being brought into the reality of God. It is our willingness to exchange our weakness for His strength, our ignorance for His wisdom, our confusion for His clarity. How real or relevant is your prayer life? Are you really willing to learn, change or adjust as a result of your prayers? Can God show you, by His Spirit, what strongholds are operating in your life? We are the variables and God is the constant. We need the strength that comes from His dependability. We need to grow in our capacity for leadership, wisdom and understanding and these are enhanced through an effective prayer life. Through prayers we can also extend our influence in the lives of people through praying for them. Real praying sounds like this “Lord why am I feeling the way I am feeling?” and answers like this can be expected, “its your pride and selfishness that has blinded you to the contribution of others in your life, that is why you are feeling so angry, envious or offended”. Now that is real praying. From devotional to intercessory and warfare, prayer should be real and answers will be real. If you have not been hearing from God, maybe you are not really praying to Him. Jer. 33:3 says ‘call on Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.’ Luke 18:1-8 talks about praying and not giving up. God answers prayers! Pray according to His Word and aided by His Spirit and expect answers from heaven.
QUALITY OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS
Our service to God through the local church needs to be a service of quality. Our relationships with others can also be a parameter for our walk with God. What influence am I having in the lives of those I relate to? Am I generating an atmosphere that is encouraging people around me to know or want God? If my relationship with others has no God-factor then I must watch out so that I won’t be negatively influenced by them. With your gifts and talents you serve God and with your God-given influence people will want to reach out to God because of you. SHOW ME YOUR FRIENDS AND I WILL SHOW YOU WHO YOU ARE! He who walks with the wise shall be wise. A companion of fools shall be destroyed (Proverbs 13:20). Many people have friends that are in friendship but there is no plan or vision for their friendship to generate any positive influence in the lives of their friends. There is a saying that says ‘you do not need to drive away the flies when the food is hot’. When you are on-fire for God some relationships won’t hold you down. The flies will fly away. If you don’t choose who your friends are, you will loose. What fruits do I bear in my life? It is the quality of my relationships that is the quality of fruit I bear. Do I have the fruit of the Spirit or the works of the flesh?
I measure my true spirituality by the quality and impact of my time with the Word, in Prayers and by the quality of relationship I have with others especially the ones I call my friends. I need God in all I do in life. My relationship with Him acts as a foundation for all I do. God is my helper and He will help me.