How do you track spiritual growth? Is it by how happy you feel? Is it by how calm you act toward your family members? Is it by how frequently you attend church?
I saw a startling reflection of my growth just the other day. My method of studying the Word includes keeping track of the days that I spend time reading my Bible and praying. I have a printout of a Bible reading plan that has dates and a corresponding passage of Scripture to read. Each day that I read my Bible, I put a circle around the date on the page. Then if I complete that day's recommended reading, I cross off that Scripture reference on the sheet.
This is the second year that I have done this. And it really helps me to realize just how much of my life I spend reading God's Word. I actually took the time the other day to tally up how much I had read, and frankly I was shocked. I knew that I had missed a day here and there, but looking at the numbers on the page was a reality check for me. I know the following may be too painstaking for some, but I added up the number of days I had read my Bible versus the number of days in the period of time from January 1st to June 30th (yes, it's the middle of the year now, yikes!) and calculated the percentage of days that I had actually spent.
Well dear reader, it added up to all of sixty percent! I seriously had to re-calculate just to make sure I was getting it right. It came out the same both times.
I don't share this to be legalistic, or to shame myself or anyone else who may spend the same amount of time (or less) reading the Word.
Romans 8:1 says "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
That is me, I am in Christ Jesus, and I suspect you are too, if you are reading this. I share this because I can see a correlation between the number of days I spend reading the Word and in prayer and the number of "better" days I have with my husband, children and other loved ones. A better day for me is one in which I walk in the Spirit, and have that "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control." (Galatians 5:22-23)
Those qualities apply to every area of my life...be it my relationship with my husband, my children, my duties around the house, my commitments outside the home...whatever. I perform much better, feel much better, act much better, relate much better, the more time I spend in communion with God and His Word. It really does make a difference! And it is so important for us to set spiritual goals for ourselves.
What are your Bible reading goals? And how do you measure your progress?