There has been a great deal of construction at Parkview lately. Which allows me to ask my favorite question - internally of course - of construction workers.
How do you know you're doing it right?
I have no architectural skill, engineering mentality, or math skills so the fact that random bolts and materials come together to build something that will stand and barring a natural disaster will survive long beyond the life of a human being.
How do you know it will work?
Obviously, I shouldn't build public structures. We're all cool with that. However, that metaphor extends to our growth in spiritual formation through discipleship.
What I'm talking about are diagnostic questions. They are questions people ask to get at information or progress that you can't see on the surface. At least with a building you know when it's built, and you can test whether it was done right.
Doctors can't really do that.
Neither can we, at least as it pertains to spiritual formation. We have to ask questions to reveal where growth may be happening.
We also need a blueprint - thankfully Christianity has Jesus. No brainer. The blueprint is to be like Jesus as if He were living out the particular warp and woof of your daily life.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Luke 8:2, NIV)
So how do we know things are going as they should be? Here's my thought:
We need to ask creative, specific, and personal diagnostic questions regarding how we're following the blueprint.
Dallas Willard had some great thoughts on this, which I'll steal here and add my own. Here's a few diagnostic questions that could help you:
Am I more or less irritable than I used to be?
Am I more or less concerned about finances than I used to be?
Do I feel more or less rested and content with my life than I used to?
Can I pray even though I'm not getting much if any feedback from God?
Am I giving away more or less of myself than I used to?
Do I find more or less of God's thoughts naturally coming to mind than used to?
Once we ask these questions - and feel free to create your own based on your hangups, circumstances, and inner battles - we can start looking at Jesus and say, "How can we train ourselves to follow the blueprint in this area of my life?"
Are you growing in transformation? How do you know?