A common question people ponder is how they know if they are growing in their Christian faith? Sometimes this question arises in those that are struggling with whether or not they are true believers.
In Colossians 1:9-14, Paul gives a model for spiritual growth. He tells us what spiritual growth looks like, thereby showing us how we know if we are growing in our Christian faith.
Paul prays for a filling of the knowledge of God “so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects” (v. 10). What follows are three evidences of spiritual growth:
• growth in “the knowledge of God” (v. 10)
• growth in “every good work” (v. 10)
• growth in “giving thanks to the Father” (v. 12)
You can know if you are growing in your Christian faith if you see growth in these three areas:
1. Head: are you growing in your knowledge of God?
Do you understand more of who God is, what He does, and how He works in the world? As Christians, we should all have a steady intake of theology through two primary means: preaching of the Word and private Bible reading.
2. Hands: are you growing in good works?
Are you growing in kindness, mercy, and humility (Micah 6:8)? Are you growing in sharing your resources with others (Rom 15:26-28)? Are you growing in your desire and practice of God’s will (Heb 13:21)?
3. Heart: are you growing in thanksgiving to God?
What do you thank God for? We thank Him for the great inheritance He has given us; for the fact that He rescued us from darkness; and that He has redeemed us (vv. 12-14). So are you more thankful and less disgruntled than you were a year ago?
As you look at your life over the last year or last decade, do you see evidences of growth in your head, hands, and heart? If yes, rejoice that “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). If not, seek God through availing yourself to the model of Christian growth provided in Col 1:9-14.
(For more on what Christian growth looks like from Col 1:9-14, see Dan Burrus, “A Model for Spiritual Growth”)