Gauging The Spirituality of a Christian Part 1
This is Part One of a two part discussion on gauging the spirituality of Christian Congregations.
What is the measure of spirituality in the typical American church? How do we measure spirituality?
If we make the statement that spiritual maturity is typically graded on a curve, what are we stating?
If you are in a church and everybody is “very” immature and you are just a “little” immature, don't you feel good about yourself? You say, “I'm ahead of those guys.”
The apostle Paul said in 2 Cor. 10:12, “For we don’t dare classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. But in measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves to themselves, they lack understanding.”
When Christians go to the Rewards Ceremony (The Bema), God is not going to go congratulate you because you were more spiritual than other Christians. God knows where every believer is and God holds you accountable for where He knows you are. He doesn't hold you accountable for how you are compared to someone else.
We need to disciple new believers and help them get started so that they don't go through their Christian life comparing themselves to other people. If they compare themselves to other people you're going to get a distorted perspective of where you are spiritually.
God doesn't care where you are in relationship to someone else He cares where you should be.
What about new believers? How do we gauge the spirituality of new believers?
As a Christian starts their Christian life it's only normal for that Christian to be immature. That's not necessarily bad. But what is bad is when the 5 or 10-year-old Christian still acts like a new Christian.
When new Christians are not discipled, many of them typically continue being immature.
It's like raising a child without ever really giving them care and guidance and then wonder why a 20-year-old can't make good decisions.
This is one of the problems that many kids in America have with finances. They are not taught how to manage finances at the appropriate age so when they get in the real world after graduation, they believe the credit card is something that you buy everything with and don't worry about the long-range implications. This behavior leads to “financial unhealthiness”.
Unfortunately, many churches are being spiritually dumbed down. The expectations are going down. It's safe to say that the American church today has little impact on American society. We believe that the reason is the church is spiritually unhealthy.
One of the biggest reasons for this (unhealthiness) is the lack of personal discipleship at the beginning of the Christian life. The Great Commission said “go and make disciples.” It was not “go and make converts.” It was to make disciples, and the expectation of a disciple is greater than that of just being a convert.
One of the characteristics of a disciple is spiritual reproduction. There is an expectation that the disciple makes other disciples. (reproduction) But yet how many people in the typical American congregation are even aware of the expectation of making disciples?
Most Christians have the awareness that they should be witnessing so people get saved. But very few Christians in the congregation understand that they are supposed to be involved in making disciples.
One of the main goals of DTI is to help the new believer to start following after the Holy Spirit and to be developing a relationship with Him and to be growing, to be maturing.
As a Christian matures there is going to be a growing and increasing interest in investing in others. As you grow as a believer how can you not care about others?
As you grow the Holy Spirit is going to put in your heart, to care for others.