By Aaron Brown, Crosswalk.com
Scripture compliments those who seek wisdom and describes such individuals in high regard. They possess more godly virtues and are less prone to sins, such as acting out in anger (Proverbs 29:11). On the other hand, people described by the Bible as foolish are held at a much lower standard. The foolish act on their emotions and do so to the detriment of themselves and others (Proverbs 13:20).
Another important difference — only those who seek wisdom find themselves close to God.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7)
This key distinction then between the wise and the foolish is not simply a matter of having a close relationship with God. The wise are able to grow from God’s teaching, and the foolish do not.
Growth is an important distinction of the human experience. We grow physically from infant to child, adolescent to adult, and from adult to elder. People also are designed to grow mentally, learning through education and life experiences.
Growth is so valuable to the human experience that we negatively label people as lazy or complacent when growth is not sought out. The Bible values growth too, and those who do not seek greater wisdom are foolish. Therefore, if we can then see our faith in God as something to continually deepen, then the wiser we will become and the more we will grow with time.
But often there are many things that stunt true growth and maturity. If you're not seeing growth in your own life, you may need to get back to some basics and ask yourself some searching questions.
Here are 5 questions every Christian must ask before they can truly grow.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Jacob Ammentorp Lund
1. Is Jesus my Lord and Savior?
This is the most basic question within the Christian faith, and one unbelievers are even familiar with. The answer may seem obvious to those who consider themselves Christian, but this is a question that we should all ask ourselves from time to time.
This question can operate as a “temperature check” on our faith. Sometimes we may feel like Jesus is our Lord and Savior, but may need reminders on what that means.
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.” (2 Peter 3:18)
We grow in response to what we learn about Jesus, and what we learn about Jesus comes from Scripture. Whenever we find ourselves forgetting what being Lord and Savior means, we have the reminder text at our disposal.
Ideally, whether or not we need reminders, we will always come back with the same answer — a resounding yes!
2. Am I willing to learn?
Whether we are considering what we know about God, humanity, our history, or our future, there is always something to learn. But are we willing?
Not everybody is willing to challenge their own preconceived notions or their incorrectly founded ideas. Yet, if we are to be wise, and grow in our wisdom, we have to be willing to learn what we do not know.
“Let a wise person listen and increase learning, and let a discerning person obtain guidance.” (Proverbs 1:5)
We can consider ourselves willing to learn when we put ourselves in positions to hear from God. This means we acknowledge that we do not have all the answers and require assistance. That also applies to our human relationships. We are willing to learn only when we first acknowledge our own ignorance.
With learning comes our own humility, God’s guidance, and an ultimate answer to our prayers.
3. Am I willing to love?
“Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
The greatest feat we can accomplish as Christians is love. Not faith, or hope, but love. Jesus said that the two greatest commandments revolve around love — loving God and loving others (Matthew 22:35-40).
One difficulty Christians have (along with every other person) is being able to love others. Sometimes we are tempted to be choosy about who we love for political, ideological, or personal reasons. Drawing that proverbial line in the sand doesn’t allow us to fulfill our greatest commandments.
Though the love we exhibit to others will differ depending on the person, everyone should still be loved. Love may come in the form of quality time for one person, while for another just a simple prayer. The distinctions don’t matter so much as the action.
4. Am I willing to be vulnerable?
“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1)
“How long, Lord, must I call for help and you do not listen or cry out to you about violence and you do not save?” (Habakkuk 1:2)
Being a Christian is not equivalent to a walk in the park. We are not promised easy lives, and are in fact promised lives that will include some degree of suffering (John 16:33). However, no matter what we face, we have a Heavenly Father who is willing to hear and help, even if it’s not on our timing.
The mistake that some make is expecting God to act immediately after they pray or in the same way that they request. God does not serve us, we serve Him.
The Bible has many examples of people waiting on God, and praying very emotionally. If we are willing to be vulnerable with Him, then the process of waiting will not be as bad, and we can surely expect God to not just hear, but to help.
5. Is God my first love?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
Much like the Israelites worshipping the Golden Calf, we will be tempted to honor other people and things above God. We are allowed to in the sense that God won’t stop us.
However, making that choice deprives us of a close relationship with Him, and the further we are from God, the less we can receive His wisdom. How can we grow without God teaching us?
With God as our treasure, there won’t be a limit to our growth.
With Questions Answered
With our questions asked answered, we can do our best to pursue God earnestly every day. Scripture is full of wisdom, and the only limit to how much we will grow as people is however we decide to limit ourselves.
The Christian journey may not be an easy path to walk, but the journey is very much worthwhile. Not only that, but we can be encouraged by the fact that God is near those who draw near to Him (James 4:8). And by drawing near to God we are drawing ourselves into an infinite process of growth.
Related Resource: Listen to our FREE podcast, Reframed: The Power of Perspective. In each episode, Carley provides practical techniques for identifying and reframing negative thinking patterns. Listen to an episode below, and check out all of our episodes on LifeAudio.com.
Photo Credit: © Unsplash
Aaron Brown is a freelance writer, dance teacher, and visual artist. He currently contributes articles to GodUpdates, GodTube, iBelieve, and Crosswalk. Aaron also supports clients through the freelance platform Upwork.
Want more interaction with the women of iBelieve? Join our fans, writers, and editors at the iBelieve Facebook group, Together in Faith, for more videos, stories, testimonies, prayers and more. Visit here to join the community!