Where I pastor there are several big time farmers. They constantly measure the temperature, humidity, rain amounts and barometric pressure. According to their readings they determine the right time to plant cotton and corn. According to these factors they determine if they need plant, irrigate their crops, or begin harvesting.
They monitor closely the conditions because not to do so could be disasterous for them.
If taking measurements are that important for farmers, how much more should we take regular measurements of our spiritual condition? Should we not be at least as interested in what our spiritual readings are? And if those readings are important… what are some things we can use to determine our spiritual condition?
I have a few suggestions…
1. Thought Measurement. What we think about is a good test to determine we are spiritually healthy. What dominates our thinking is a good gage as to whether or not we are dwelling in Christ. The frequency with which God is part of my thinking processes helps me know if I am dwelling in Christ.
2. Speech Measurement. It is recorded in Matthew 12:34 that Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If my words are negative or gossipy (Is that a word?)… if they tear others down rather than build them up… if they express anger rather than thankfulness… if they are crass or expose a debased sense of humor… then those are good indicators that my spiritual condition is in need of correction.
3. Attitude Measurement. This one is hard to discern. Probably the best way to know our attitude is to listen to our “self talk.” Those are the conversations we carry on within ourselves. I have found that when I have a bad attitude I think negative or bad things about others. Not only that, I find myself thinking I am better than others. Those thoughts are usually followed by me deciding that other people are not as spiritual… in God’s will… or as Godly as they “should be.” When I have that kind of attitude toward anyone, or even a situation, I am in need of an adjustment.
4. Conduct Measurement. How we treat others is the most obvious indicator of our spiritual condition to others (“By their fruits you will know them,” and “By this all men will know you are my disciples… by your love for one aonther.”). If I am seeking other people’s good… benefit… and blessing by my actions, I am where I need to be. But if I am putting myself, my wants, and my desires before others… then I am in need of an adjustment.
OBJECTION! Who has time to do all this? No one. That’s why we must ask God to reveal our shortcoming to us! To tap us on the shoulder when we stray. To nudge us when we are messing up. Then when the Spirit convicts us of our failures we repent… confess our sin (failure)… and adjust to what God would have us be by reflecting His love, mercy, grace, and kindness to others.