How does a Christian determine if he/she is doing a good job as a Believer?
@LilyFlower That is a great question and one that can be intimidating. The apostle Paul exhorts each of us to “to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) and we all want to please our Lord and Savior Jesus. But at the same time Jesus says that His yoke is easy and that His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). How can we push forward our spiritual walk while simultaneously resting in the wonderful love of God?
Thankfully, I do not think there is any need to over complicate it. One possible approach is to focus on two questions each day - “Who am I in Christ?” and “Who am I becoming in Christ?”
Who am I in Christ?
It is a famous pastor saying that we are all human ‘beings’ not human ‘doings’. Our identity is not in our good works, but in the completed work of Christ on the cross. Just like the Prodigal Son, the Father opens us with loving arms each day as we come to Him anew with our struggles and victories.
John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
I John 4:19 - We love because he first loved us.
Each day we can ask ourselves, “Is my identity completely in Christ’s love for me or am I trying to earn His love?” By resting in His love, we come to know Him more and have a love for others and for God that motivates us to grow. Worshiping along with worship music and prayer help me do this each day as I reflect on some of my favorite songs about God’s love and grace. I think it’s really important to remember to engage our spirits as we do these things and never let them simply become ritual.
Here is one song I have liked recently.
Who am I becoming in Christ?
For me, I choose a couple Scriptures as guide rails to answer this question. I can’t remember everything, but for me James 1:27 and 2 Peter 1:3-11 are good guide rails to remind me of what it means to grow in Christ. James defines what I should be doing - taking care of those in need and living a holy life.
James 1:27 - Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Peter gives me some simple questions I can ask myself:
Am I seeking to grow in knowledge of God’s Word?
Am I growing in self-control and learning more to crucify my flesh?
Am I loving the brethren?
Am I learning to love more?
Again - these questions are all asked in the context of my identity in Christ. I am not asking - am I saved? No - I am asking, am I actually seeking to grow. I may not be able to measure my progress the way I measure milk - the growth may not be obvious. But if I have sincerely tried to do these things then I rest in the knowledge of Christ’s love and God’s promise to sanctify us by the Spirit.
2 Peter 1:3-11 - His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Is that helpful? Do you have any additional Scriptures that have been good guide rails in your life?
It lists 5 metrics, or questions to ask yourself, plus accompanying verses from Philippians 2:3-8 that you can use when measuring your own spiritual growth. The questions are:
#1 – HOW SELFLESS AM I?
#2 – HOW MUCH AM I WILLING TO SACRIFICE ?
#3 – HOW MUCH AM I WILLING TO SERVE ?
#4 – HOW MUCH AM I WILLING TO SUBMIT ?
#5 – HOW MUCH AM I WILLING TO SUFFER ?
Hope this helps a bit!
I think that’s such a great question. I struggled to understand it clearly many years and wanted badly to be a good Christian. I went to church, I read the Bible, met Christians, but felt my spiritual walk dry. It was only on meditating on the grace of God through a bible study and grasping my identity in Christ that I finally felt the love for God kindled the way I imagined. My walk changed from having to do my time with God to wanting to do it. When I did not plant myself in grace, I was easily swayed in unhelpful directions. My favorite verse is 2 Peter 3:17-18. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Changing the goal from becoming a good Christian to being with Christ and being planted in grace became the way to determine if I was doing well. This doesn’t add any new profound truths to what has been said but thought it may be helpful.