Should you worry about your spiritual growth?
One of my readers recently said:
“I often worry about my spiritual growth. Sometimes I feel like I am not growing.”
I, too, used to worry about my spiritual growth:
- Am I where I should be, spiritually, considering how long I’ve known God?
- Is there something more I should be doing — or something more I should be studying — so I can grow in an area where I still need to become more like Christ?
- Am I being obedient enough?
And yet, I realize now that I’ve been asking the wrong questions.
Although Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12-13 to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure,” it can feel overwhelming if we start thinking of all there is to do to be a good follower of Christ. And we can constantly feel we are coming up short, especially if we are comparing ourselves to someone else. (And who can really know, anyway, how spiritually mature another person is since we don’t see the inside track of their intimate life with Christ).
But when a teacher of the Jewish Law came to Jesus at night (perhaps so no one else would know what he was worried about), and asked what God’s greatest commandment was (to make sure he was doing all he should), Jesus’ answer was not about what the man should be doing, but about the condition of his heart. Jesus said the greatest commandment (and therefore, God’s No. 1 concern) is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
I realized then that the true question is not “Am I growing, spiritually?” or “Am I doing enough?” but “Am I loving Him more?”
As we spend time in prayer and in God’s Word, we will get to know Him. The more we get to know Him, the more we will love Him. And the more we love Him, the more we will trust Him and grow in our obedience of Him.
So, instead of worrying about your growth in Him, daily whisper this prayer: “God, give me a heart for you.” And then focus on loving Him. Set your mind on being with Him throughout the day. Talk to Him as if He’s right there (because He is). And as you love Him more, the growth — and everything else — will fall into place (Matthew 6:33).
Next week I will address one of the most common questions I am asked: “Why isn’t God answering my prayers for a husband?” In the meantime, let me know in the comment section below what area of worry that you would like me to address in an upcoming blog.