One of the most subjective things we can evaluate is our own spiritual authenticity. Am I becoming more mature in my faith? Am I growing in my discipleship? Is there progress in my walk with Christ? Questions like these can create a struggle, leaving us to either listening to our “gut,” or, finding some prior point of reference to do an informal comparison study.
Matthew 23 records Jesus’ evaluation and condemnation of the hypocrisy of “the teachers of the religious law and the Pharisees (who were) the official interpreters of the law of Moses.” (23:1) From this chapter we can glean six questions that can help us determine our own progress and growth. I won’t cite the entire passage, but if you’re interested you’ll find it helpful to read the chapter in its entirety in light of the exploratory questions.
- Is spiritual growth a burden? (Matthew 23:1-4) “They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden” (23:4)
- Am I judgmental, exclusive or proud? (Matthew 23:5-6) “Everything they do is for show…they love to sit at the head table…” (23:5-6)
- Am I becoming more approachable, or less? (Matthew 23:7-12) “They love to receive respectful greetings…” (23:7)
- Are my priorities self centered? (Matthew 23:13-22) “For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are! (23:15)
- Am I measuring spirituality in a superficial way? (Matthew 23:23-24) “You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel! (23:24)
- Are there evidences of spiritual integrity? (Matthew 23:25-28) “For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.” (23:27)
Again, reviewing these questions in the full context of the chapter will prove to be beneficial. My hope is that we will frequently use the words of Jesus as we evaluate our progress, leaving nothing to chance.