Evaluating Growth in Spirituality

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove you own selves. Know ye not you own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Cor. 13:5).

One does not have to read very far in the books of First and Second Corinthians to know that they had troubles.  Paul is closing the book of Second Corinthians with the exhortation to evaluate oneself.  The Christian’s life is a constant development of spirituality.  Some progress more than others but all should be making progress.  Consider three areas of spirituality that will help everyone see where they are in this developmental process.

  1. How to See People. Jesus said to the Jews, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).  The Corinthians had some within the congregation that were judging based on outward appearance (cf. 2 Cor. 10:7).  Paul made it plain concerning God’s perspective.  “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).  When one sees people, how are they viewed?  Are they seen by the color of their skin?  Are they seen by the generation in which they are labeled?  Are they seen by the level of their formal education or lack thereof?  The world has many ways to divide people into demographic components.  God sees souls which takes away much of the divisive element.  Consider these passages (cf. Acts 2:41; Acts 27:37; 1 Peter 3:20; Heb. 13:17).  Growing in spirituality means growing away from the world’s standards of seeing people and seeing like God sees.
  2. How to See Possessions. Jesus warned a materialistic man, “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).  It is sad that people get caught up in the standards of the world.  Solomon wrote, “Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied” (Prov. 27:20).  While money is needed as a defense (cf. Eccl. 7:12) so is the wisdom to see it and use it.  Possessions must be seen from the stewardship model.  God alone owns all things (cf. Ps. 24:1).  Everything that man has and is belongs to God (cf. 1 Cor. 6:20).  The desire to become rich and loving riches have destroyed many a person (cf. 1 Tim. 6:9-11).  All that man does is to be to the glory of God (cf. 1 Cor. 10:31).  Ecclesiastes concludes with man’s entire existence and substance is to fear God and keep his commandments (cf. Eccl. 12:13-14).  Growing spiritually is to grow in good stewardship.
  3. How to See Problems. Whether one is spiritual or not, trouble will come (cf. Job 14:1; Prov. 13:15; Matt. 7:14).  How one sees difficulties has much to say about one’s development in spirituality or lack thereof.  God’s servant, Job, experienced suffering and grew from it (cf. Job 42:1-6).  The apostle Paul did as well (cf. 2 Cor. 12:9-10).  Would that all would see difficulties like it is stated, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor. 4:17-5:1).

Jimmy Clark