Here is the devotional:
We’ve been talking a lot about transforming. How do we know if we’ve been successful?
The point of growing into a mature follower of Christ isn’t just to check off a box marked “done.” The goal is to truly become Christ-like: to not just act like a Christian but to be one. To love, demonstrate patience, give generously, and so on, not because we are supposed to, but because it’s who we are.
The world sees enough people who call themselves Christians but don’t behave like Christ.
So how can you tell when you are spiritually changing or just going through the motions?
God doesn’t leave us in the dark here. There will be evidence, and much of it is internal. Read through Ephesians 4:14-16. As you transform, you will be able to see at least four characteristics at work in your life:
Truth: You know God’s Word well enough to maintain doctrinal stability and spot false teachers or trendy fads.
Relationships: You speak the truth in love, and your commitment to people help them grow (and allows you to say hard things in a loving way).
The Church: You participate in the Body of Christ with a purpose only you can fulfill; you know your gifts, function in those gifts, and bear spiritual fruit.
Love: Your love for God and others is expanding; you measure your life by love rather than activities, and you are others-focused instead of self-focused.
If you see growth in these four timeless areas, you can trust that God is doing work within and through you, and you’re becoming the person He longs for you to be.
Are you in an environment where these four areas are being strengthened?
Of the four, which one do you need to focus on?
Prayer: Lord, help me move forward toward that goal each day, and help my outside match the change on the inside.
Here are the scriptures referenced:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:14-16 KJV
Here are Stu’s thoughts:
How do you know you have changed? That really is a good question. Because sometimes we can become stuck in a rut per se and end up just going through motions without even realizing that is what we are doing.
Stuck in a rut sort of looks like this…
You go to church on Sunday because you feel you need to show up instead of actually wanting to go.
You are praying but for selfish reasons instead out of love for others. A prime example of this is Lord, please change my wife’s attitude so I don’t have to listen to her bicker and complain all the time. That may sound funny but I can almost guarantee you someone has said that prayer whereas the prayer should have gone something like…Lord, make me into the husband you want me to be. give me patience and understanding and a deeper love for my wife. May I love her like you love her. (It can almost sound selfish because of the me’s and I’s but it is not done out of selfish motives but rather out of love)
Another example is simply reading the Bible to say you have read it instead of reading it to actually learn and grow. I think we have all done this one at one time or another in our walk. I know I have.
Stuck in a rut!
There is a way out of the rut and there is a way to ensure growth and both require the same formula.
First and foremost is your prayer life. Ask God during your daily prayer time to give you a heart for others. Ask him to let you see them through his eyes and not your own. Makes a huge difference.
Set aside time for reading your Bible to learn and grow. Twenty to thirty minutes a day is a good start. If your married and you are both Christians then for the love of all things Holy do it together. Hold each other accountable!
If you do not know what a words mean by all means look it up. I do that all the time as there are some “outdated” verbage used in the King James.
If you do not know who some one is flip to the concordance in the back of your Bible, though I must admit sometimes that doesn’t help me too much so I Google them.
Get in a church dang it! One where the preacher is actually preaching from the word of God instead of a self-help book. Make friends. It’s not gonna kill ya to have church going friends that are trying to grow and change too! That’s actually a benefit. Iron sharpens iron!
Once you have done all these things and you still feel you haven’t changed in the least do a quick inventory of your life.
How do you treat others now?
Are you less selfish?
Have you realized your worth and value yet?
Can you look past your past and see a brighter future filled with sobriety and hope?
Has the love for your spouse grown deeper?
Can you carry your own in a Biblical conversation? (As much as I know I still am learning and can struggle with this one depending on the topic at hand)
Can you hear someone speaking on a Biblical topic and go hey wait a minute that’s not Biblical. If you know you know if you don’t you could be swayed into believing a lie.
These are sort of hard questions I just asked but that is what an inventory is for. It is designed to make you think about yourself.
Some lighter questions to consider looking at…
Has your amount of curse words lessened?
Are you less likely to get angry over trivial things?
Are you enjoying your new found freedom from that particular sin God took from you?
Hard questions and small questions that we should ask ourselves periodically so we can know that YES we have changed.
I love the verses the author chose!
Know the truth so you are not easily swayed. Speak the truth in love even when it hurts. That you may grow into your Christ likeness using your gifts to edify the body of Christ, which is the church.