In just a couple of weeks, our first class, after our congregational breakfast, focusing on the idea of growing spiritually, will take place. It is exciting to hear from some of you who have expressed interest in this endeavor. The hope is that this can be a sort of spring board, encouraging each of us to examine where we are, with the intent of seeking God’s guidance to mature “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
Part of the challenge in the maturing process is the idea of examining ourselves; that is, becoming aware. Paul wrote, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall…” (1st Corinthians 10:12). In the very next chapter he would exhort the church in Corinth, saying, “But let a man examine himself…” prior to them taking the Lord’s Supper. I believe these exhortations speak to our need to be aware of our personal spiritual growth: taking, if you will, a kind of spiritual inventory, making sure we are not becoming stagnant or having our hearts “hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13). In the last couple lessons, we’ve talked about “giving all diligence” (2nd Peter 1:5) to the maturing process, in order to “make your election sure”, so that we “will never stumble” (2nd Peter 1:10). This personal awareness also involves what God has done with our past sins; that is, the fact that He has forgiven us (2nd Peter 1:9).
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1st John 1:9
It is here that I want to stress something about self-examination (becoming aware) and our understanding of God’s intentions for this. As Christians, we can list those confident words God wants us to hold dear; such as, “we are more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) and that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14); yet when we examine ourselves (look in that spiritual mirror), we become aware that there is work needed in our lives. Sadly, this results in those confident words seemingly vanishing from our minds. But that is not God’s reason for self-examination! With any journey we may take, the destination is only part of what is needed to get there: You also need to know where you are. The point is simple, the only way to GROW spiritually, is to KNOW where you are spiritually. If you are in Christ, God has and will continue to take care of your imperfections (shortcomings, sin, etc.), as long as you are trying to be honest with where you are. God’s marvelous grace can enable us to be aware of ourselves, so we can grow into His likeness. The question is, “Are you aware?”