How do we monitor the progress we are making in our spiritual journey? Have we lived up to our full potential?
When we travel outstation, we depend on milestones to tell us how far we have already gone and how far more we have to go before we reach our destination.
As Christians, how do we measure success? What are some “milestones” to help us monitor progress?
In this respect, I find this quote by author Robert Louis Stevenson helpful and instructive:
“To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end in life.”
Firstly, do we know who we are? This is a question regarding our identity. (1)
Secondly, are we living up to our potential? Have we seized the various opportunities to stir up and fully exploit the gifts, talents and resources God has given us? (2)
Novelist H.G Wells says that wealth and power are no measures of success, and that the only true measure is the ratio between what we might have been and what we have become. In other words, success is measured by how much we are able to reach our full potential.
If God gives us 10 talents, and we only multiply it by half—only five talents—we have not lived out our full potential. We should not compare ourselves with others but measure our progress by how much we have changed for the better through the years.
Here are some aids to monitor progress in our spiritual pilgrimage:
- Progressive realisation of God-inspired vision or goals (3)
- Number of lives we have touched and quality of the relationships we have built
- Number of souls we have led to Christ or snatched out from the fires of hell (4)
- Progressive development in character to become more like Christ
- Legacy—the footprints we have left in the sands of time (5)
For sure, there is some overlap in the above list. But, imperfect as they are, these points help us to think through the fact whether we have lived up to our full potential.
Notice that there is no difference in the way Jesus commended the one who was given two talents and the one who was given five talents: “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25: 21,23).
It is not so much a matter of numbers and productivity but how faithful we have been in discharging the tasks entrusted to us. From God’s viewpoint, faithfulness is of paramount importance though He has also called us to bear much fruit * (John 15:16).
Footnotes: * This “fruit” may be the lives changed through our influence or the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us.
(1) DISCOVERING OUR IDENTITY
(2) STIR UP THE GIFT
(3) THE POWER OF VISION
(4) BACK FROM HEAVEN AND HELL
(5) PASSING THE BATON
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