Today, someone I hadn’t seen in awhile complimented me on my weight loss. I thanked him, commiserated a little, wished him well. Then I reflected upon the conversation. I came to these conclusions:
1) Though I know I’m losing weight, it’s not always obvious to me, because I live with my body, and do not necessarily see it changing by degrees.
2) It took a fresh pair of eyes to remind me of this. Because he hadn’t seen me in sometime, my colleague readily spotted the changes that I don’t necessarily notice.
I think spiritual growth is a lot like this. If we are growing in godliness, we aren’t necessarily aware of it, for at least a couple of reasons:
1) Our focus is on God (and others), not ourselves; and,
2) This process of sanctification is, like weight loss, a changing by degrees–it happens gradually, over time.
These are, of course, my opinions, and do not carry the weight of holy writ, but I believe them to be true. I should think that if one was aware of his own godliness that his focus is entirely upon the wrong person. (“Fair I see, sad you see”). Because the closer one draws to God, the more aware he is of his creatureliness, his sinfulness. That, too, is my opinion, but I think it sound.
The difference comes down to perspective, and focus. Just as I don’t see my own weight loss, I am not aware of my own godliness. Because I can’t escape the bounds of my flesh suit, I particularly lack perspective regarding myself. I don’t feel myself growing in the Lord.
This is where community comes in; for it is only in community that perspective, and indeed encouragement, comes. Others can often see us better than we see ourselves–they experience the changes the Lord is birthing oftentimes before we are aware of them ourselves.
Sometimes all it takes is a fresh pair of eyes.
Thanks for reading!
What lessons has life taught you lately about character, commitment, and/or perspective? How have you encouraged someone in their walk with the Lord?