How do Christians measure Spiritual Growth?
It’s a human trait to measure everything, especially things that affect us personally. Doctors measure the degree of pain from a scale of 1 to 10, couples want to know how much they love each other. This article looks at how Christians measure spiritual growth, what they consider as a yardstick for measurement and what factors would influence these decisions or choices.
Measuring growth tells us if there is any improvement. We measure our kids’ growth to know if they are growing up well and are therefore healthy. We measure the growth of time and have been able to break it down into minutes and seconds. So how do Christians measure spiritual growth? What would be the deciding factor for a Christian to agree that there has been an improvement in his faith or his Christian walk?
For a Christian, spiritual growth can be either of a quantitative nature or a qualitative one. Quantitative measurement can be said to be measuring spiritual growth with certain factors that we can value physically. A Christian would measure how committed a member was to the church, this would include church attendance and church activities. Quantitative measurement of spiritual growth could also be based on how many church members have completed spiritual classes and curricula. this is done because it is easier to track and measure how much of the bible one knows. The disadvantage to quantitative spiritual growth is that it produces Christians with good knowledge about the Christian life and faith but may not necessarily produce Christians with a relationship with Jesus Christ, which happens to be the foundation of the Christian walk.
Qualitative measurement of spiritual growth tackles factors that may not be easily measured physically. Qualitative measurement has more to do with how we think and feel, things that others may not see. So while we may be able to tell a doctor how much pain we may be in using a scale of 1-to-10, how can we put on scale factors like selflessness, sacrifice, service, and submission? These factors are more of what was emphasized by Jesus as a yardstick for his disciples and followers. He specifically gave a sermon, which was tagged ‘the beatitudes’, where He listed qualities and attributes of a Christian. These beatitudes talk about being blessed for seeking peace, having meekness and being merciful. The Christian spiritual growth should be about how much we can mirror, or be like Christ. Everyone can agree that although Christ was focused and committed to bringing about His Father’s plan for the world, He could not be tagged fanatical. He gave the ultimate sacrifice; he offered his life as a ransom for humanity. He was selfless, sacrificial, and was willing to suffer.
The first disciples of Jesus, who later became apostles followed these unmeasurable qualities and were called Christ-like or Christians by others. While these factors might seem strange to most people, who would measure growth by how knowledgeable, eloquent or physically strong an individual may be, Christians believe that our minds and spirits have more importance than the physical body and the physical senses. Christians who have grown spiritually would display both quantitative and qualitative attributes of their faith and belief. There would be an increase in their knowledge of their faith, which would also show an increase in their relationship with their God.