Sometimes it can be a challenge to know if we are progressing in our faith journey. We might be struggling with doubt, sin, or perhaps difficult life circumstances that have shaken us a little bit. All of us go through periods like that in our lives. It can be difficult to discern if we are on the right track when we are in those moments. Here are a few indicators to help us determine if our faith is flourishing or floundering.
Prayer: A life committed to prayer will see help your faith flourish. What does your prayer life look like? We are reminded all through scripture to pray. We should pray for our wants and our needs, we should praise God and rejoice, we should be praying for others. Prayer should be a fundamental part of our lives. Sometimes that involves speaking and other times that involves listening. There is a problem if we are not praying with regularity. The Psalms remind us that our prayers can be happy, sad, frustrated, and angry. They run the full gamut of human emotion. That’s fine. God can handle the truth of our emotions whatever they be. The point is to share them, whatever they may be. When we stop praying, we have a problem.
Humility: A life dedicated to humility will help your faith flourish. Humility can be tough for us. We tend to think more of ourselves than we should or we think less of ourselves than we should. Living a life of humility means that we are fully dependent on God in every situation. When we are humble, we recognize that God loves us and wants the best for us. We trust that He will provide for us and sustain us. We understand that much of life is out of our control. We stop trying to control things and depend on God. As we grow in humility, we grow in our dependence on God.
Risk Taking: Faith-filled risks are a hallmark of a faith that is growing. Moving out of our comfort zones can be a challenge but if we are to grow in our faith we have to step outside of the status quo into something different. How can we practice our faith if we are not stepping out in faith? In the book of James, we are reminded that faith is expressed through action. If we are not stepping out to care for the poor, the orphan, the widow, the prisoner, and the hungry then we have missed much of what Jesus has called us to. If we are not taking risks to love our neighbors, our co-workers, and family members then we have missed even more of what Jesus has called us to do. Faith requires risk. If we aren’t taking risks in the name if Jesus, then our faith isn’t going to flourish.
Bearing Fruit: Looking at the fruit in our life can also be an indicator of whether we are floundering or flourishing in our faith. This can take several different forms. The communal component involves our service to the Body of Christ. Two questions to help us reflect on this aspect.
- Are we serving the body with our gifts? If we are not serving we are not going to grow in our faith.
- Are we seeing God work in and through our service? If not, then we might be serving in the wrong capacity or with wrong motivations.
The other aspect of this is in our personal lives. Galatians 5:23-24 reminds us that the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives will be evident through the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. The Spirit’s work in our lives is marked by “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” If we don’t see a pattern of progression in these areas over time, then that is a good indicator that our faith is floundering and not flourishing.
Bear in mind that these are only a few of the many ways to gauge our faith development. One could look at generosity, hospitality, Bible reading, worship, and many others to determine the health of their faith. The important thing is that we need to check in with God regularly to see if we are off track and if so, where. Psalm 139:23 reminds us of that, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts”.