While financial and physical fitness are somewhat easy to measure, the other three areas of fitness: emotional, mental, and spiritual are really difficult to measure.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”1 Samuel 16:7 (New International Version)
While the above is true, only God can know the condition of our heart, there are a few ways that we can gauge how our heart is doing. There are litmus tests if you will that we can perform on ourselves. In future posts I will outline some of the questions I ask myself and offer ways that you can develop your own litmus test. Sample questions are:
- Am I reading God’s Word? How often?
- How much time am I spending in prayer?
- What am I watching?
- How is my speech? Am I being encouraging to others?
- What reoccurring thoughts am I having?
Even better than asking these type of questions of yourself is to have an accountability partner ask them of you.
“Spiritual growth needs to be intentional— it’s not automatic.”-Rick Warren
When my boys were younger I kept a stick in my closet that I would use to measure their height. Every year or so we’d get the stick out and draw a line marking their height. We’d write down their name and date next to the line and they would stand back and see how much they’ve grown. Never once did I demand that they grow an inch. Instead we would try and give them good food to eat and make sure they got plenty of sleep. Then the growth would happen naturally. It is the same way with spiritual growth. We do things that we know to be healthy and then the growth happens naturally, or rather I should say that “God causes the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6). So while we cannot measure the growth, we can measure whether we are doing the things that make growth most likely to occur.
In this section I will talk about healthy spiritual practices that can lead to growth and good spiritual fitness. A bible reading plan is certainly one of those ways. I may also review a few books, link to some helpful resources, and write a few observations from my personal experience.