Spiritual Growth Checklist

There is a strong spiritual application between gardening and a vibrant testimony. Let me explain…when I first began to cultivate a vegetable garden, I was amateurish and inexperienced. I consulted a number of professionals (i.e. neighbors who farmed, garden/nursery workers) and once informed, was eager to begin. I purchased and I planted; I watered and I waited….
new growth When the early signs of life began to sprout, I was so thrilled! Success at last! The fruits of my labor were abundant and delicious! The following season, I planted an even larger crop, expecting another healthy harvest; however this time, much of my produce was lacking in quantity and quality. What had I done wrong? The result was minimal growth, because I had neglected to fertilize!

Fertilize means “to make able to produce much.” We have the potential to be productive for the Lord during our time on earth. At the moment of our conversion, we receive all the essential elements for a Christ-centered testimony, but, too often, we fail to nourish and maintain it properly. We neglect to fertilize our spirits.
How would you describe your spiritual walk? Has your relationship with your Heavenly Father continued to thrive, or has it been in a state of idleness? Below are ten questions, which will help you assess your level of spiritual growth. Under each question, at least one Bible reference is given to support the action or attitude described. This list is intended for use as a guideline or resource tool. Be honest with yourself as you evaluate your personal relationship with God, then commit to “produce much” and strengthen those areas of weakness or apathy!

1.) Am I rejoicing in the Lord daily? Do I reflect a joyful and thankful spirit?
Psalm 5:11 “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice; let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them; let them that love thy name be joyful in thee.”
Psalm 92:1 “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High.”

2.) Am I living a life of obedience, pleasing the Lord in all that I do?
John 14:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

3.) Are my motives pure and God-honoring? Am I seeking God’s approval and not man’s?
1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

4.) Is there any unconfessed sin blocking my communion with a Holy God?
Psalm 32:5 “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”
Proverbs 28:3 “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”

5.) Is my attitude one of servant-hood?
Deuteronomy 10:12 “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee but to fear the LROD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.”
John 12:26 “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.”

6.) Do I recognize what God is doing in my life and share it with others?
1 Samuel 12:24 “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.”
Psalm 77:12 “I will meditate of also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”

7.) Am I spending time, on a daily basis, reading and meditating upon His Word?
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the Law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou whalt have good success.”
Psalm 119:16 “I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”

8.) Do I pray according to His Will?
1 John 5:14 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”
Psalm 143:1 “Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness.”

9.) Do I allow myself to be used of God? Is my response a humble one?
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
James 4:10 “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

10.) Do I spend time praising/worshipping Him?
Psalm 7:17 “I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.”
Psalm 111:1 “Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.”

*Taken from Is Your Fruit Sweet or Sour? A Teen Girl’s Guide to Christian Living; Chapter 11-Ferlizing Your Spirit
For more samples and book information, go to http://www.preceptpublishing.com.

When Old News is Good News

While cleaning out a storage basket of reading material, I came across a stack of magazines. news pic
Normally, I would have discarded them all, but one particular copy grabbed my attention-the cover featured two Philadelphia Phillies baseball players. (I was born and raised in Philly and support ALL of the pro teams!) I showed the issue to my son, an avid sports enthusiast, thinking he’d appreciate the article. His reaction was not what I had anticipated. I had failed to check the subscription date~ the copy was old news, dating back to September 2011

That got me thinking about the term “good news” or Gospel. Would one describe that information as “old news,” outdated like my magazine copy? Some do. Years ago, I used to believe that the Bible was full of stories and old facts. Had I taken the time to open it and actually study it? No, I had relied on church leadership to interpret it for me. Bible truths were “old news,” as far as I was concerned. I could discard principles to follow if I believed them to be old-fashioned or not applicable for my life. One glance at The Book and I made an assumption about its relativity–or lack of it.

Yet, the proclamation is to share with others what Christ has done. His birth, earthly ministry, sacrificial death, burial and resurrection tell a love story that promises salvation and eternal security. Is that old news? Not really. When we remember what has been done already and anticipate what is yet to come, the news is exciting and alive!

Back then, my faith was so shallow. When I finally grasped the importance of God’s Word and how timely its message is for all generations (past, present & future), I began to understand that the gospel/”good news” never grows old! Its message of forgiveness, hope and victory helps me live a more faithful, personal and spirit-filled life. Here’s just a few attributes of what is said about THY WORD (these are taken just from Psalm 119!):

* It can help me live a pure life. Psalm 119:9: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
*It gives me strength when I am weak. Psalm 119:28: “My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
* It is firm and unyielding. Psalm 119:89. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.”
* It gives me direction. Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”
* It brings joy and security into my life. Psalm 119:162: “I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.”
* It gives me understanding. Psalm 119:169: “Let my cry come near before thee, O LORD: give me understanding according to thy word.

Does this news seem outdated to you? Why not start off the new year thanking God for His Word which is the everlasting gospel (Revelation 14:6)? Make a commitment to proclaim the good news to others who have not heard it and allow them to see how up-to-date this information actually is!