We have people with different political views, different educational backgrounds, different stages of life, and you know we are going to encounter challenges along the way.
In those moments it would be easy to blame pastoral authority, it’s all his fault. It would be easy to blame the other people on the team, but God’s Word teaches us to take personal responsibility for our spiritual growth in the Lord.
In verses 16-22 we see a number of characteristics like rejoice always, pray without ceasing, giving thanks, not quenching the Spirit, not rejecting the unexplainable without testing, abstaining from evil, and we would do well to break down these words, dig into their application, but for the sake of time I want to give us some diagnostic questions for us to ask ourselves in light of these words and our own personal growth.
- In what ways are you showing an increasing commitment to worshipping and glorifying God in your life? (Time in God’s Word, love for others, greater sense of peace and joy, etc.)
- How do you see your relationship and desire to be with God growing deeper? (Longing to obey God’s Word, be with God’s people, etc.)
- How are you learning more about who God is and what He commands? (Greater familiarity with Scripture, God’s attributes, etc.)
- In what ways are you recognizing and confessing sin in your life and repenting of it by the power of the Holy Spirit? (The kindness of the Lord leads us to repentance.)
- How are you growing in your dependence on and submission to the Holy Spirit? (Learning to discern between feelings and the Holy Spirit.)
- How are you participating in God’s plan for the church through community relationships? (Do we know more people in our church family at a deeper level?)
- How are you committed to loving the Body of Christ through serving the local church? (Do we know our spiritual gifts, are we using those gifts, etc.)
- How are you committed to loving your neighbors by attending to their spiritual and temporal needs? (Do we know their names, do we pray for them, etc.)
- Where are you investing your treasures? (Eternal or temporal.)
- How do you see an increasing burden for the lost impacting your life? (Do we know lost people, do we pray for lost people, are we engaging lost people?)
- How is your prayer life growing more meaningful? (Are you recording those prayers, broadening those prayers, etc.)
These are questions I ask myself, and we really need to set a reminder on our phones right now to come back to these questions, and ask the Lord to help us take responsibility for our personal growth in the Lord, so that together we might be healthier and stronger as we press forward on this expedition together.