Three Spiritual Growth Indicators

By Eddie Broussard

Just a week ago my doctor ordered a set of blood tests for me. No one likes to have blood drawn, but medical tests like this are important because they provide doctors with ways to measure our true physical health. They give us an accurate reference point for how our bodies are doing. We might feel fine, but a blood test can reveal a lot that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Likewise, in our spiritual lives, it’s easy for us to do Bible study, memorize scripture, and pray; but how well do these things indicate our true spiritual health? How do we tell whether we are growing in our knowledge of God? Without accurate reference points, we can’t assess our true spiritual condition.

What light does scripture shed on this question to help us as we seek to know God more and more? Let’s consider three simple, powerful words that serve as good indicators of how well we are growing in our relationships with God.

Love
The apostle John writes, Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:8). This simple and profound statement challenges our idea of what it means to know God. We may have mastered biblical truth and memorized great portions of scripture, but if we do not love others, the Scriptures say we do not know God. This is because love is a central attribute of God’s character. We cannot claim to know God and not love others. To know God is to walk in relationship with Him and to experience Him with such depth that it changes who we are and therefore how we act. When we know God we become like Him. And He is love.

Trust
There is a relationship between knowing God and trusting God. Psalm 9:10 says, Those who know your name will trust in you. . . . The true depth of our knowledge of God can be seen in the extent of our trust in God. If we are struggling to trust God, our struggle indicates that our knowledge of God is deficient. Lack of trust reveals that there is something about His name and character that we do not really know; if we really knew Him for who He is, we would trust Him. So, trust indicates the depth and strength of our knowledge of God.

Obey
In another of John’s powerful comments he writes: We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him (1 John 2:3-4). This scripture tells me that my obedience to God determines the true character and depth of my knowledge of God. It is through a life of obedience that my fellowship with the Lord grows richer and deeper. When I choose to obey him I move closer to Him, and the Father and Son will more deeply disclose themselves to me (John 14:21, 23). It is on the path of obedience that our knowledge of God reaches greater depth and richness.

These three words—love, trust and obey—suggest that knowing God is primarily a relational and experiential journey. The spiritual disciplines are essential to the journey of knowing God. Spiritual disciplines connect us more deeply to the life of God. They help us to know God more deeply because they help us relate to God as holy, righteous, true, just, merciful, and omniscient. The disciplines also help us experience God, who is our Father, Shepherd, Rock, Redeemer, Helper, Savior, Refuge, and Judge.

God invites us to know him! Scripture reminds us that as our knowledge of Him deepens we will love others more naturally, we will trust Him more readily, and we will want to obey Him. And we will grow in our knowledge of Him. We will experience more of God, and we will be more satisfied with the one truly amazing relationship that God has offered humanity—the relationship with Himself.    

Eddie Broussard joined the International Executive Team in May 2015. He became Navigator staff in 1980. In 1992, he joined the CoMission movement, working in the post-Soviet countries. From 1998 to 2014, he served on the U.S. National Leadership Team. Eddie and his wife, Barbie, were married in 1996.