“Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship.” – Romans 12:1
While I was competing in the Ironman Waco 70.3 triathlon a week ago, I noticed how focused I was on my goal of getting a personal best on the bike course. I kept checking my perceived effort, heart-rate monitor, and trying to calculate my speed, and I even noticed I was making ground on the many cyclists ahead of me.
One thing about doing endurance events whether they be cycling or triathlons is you find yourself all alone with the ability to think. Sometimes you sing to yourself and other times talk out loud.
During this particular race my focus and determination were so strong that I began to ask myself two questions:
Do I spend as much time making sure I am on track with my Christian life as I do training for these races?
What marks do I use to assess where I am in my spiritual life?
The Bible gives us very tangible tools to assess where we are in our walk with Christ. We can see the fruit of our relationship with Christ based on how we are treating others, both those we have relationships with (friends, children, spouse, parents, coworkers, neighbors, etc.), as well as those we pass by daily (other drivers, store clerks, etc.).
We also can gauge our spiritual maturity by how we handle unexpected life circumstances such as running late, illnesses, injuries, and the general situations in which things don’t go our way. More enlightening circumstances come through how we spend our time and our money. There are many ways that we can examine our spiritual lives.
Just like my heart rate monitor and my time divided by perceived effort help me assess my progress toward my athletic goals, I can check my progress in living a Christian life based on tools found in the Bible. God is good, isn’t He?
He sets clear standards and gives us ways to check our progress. Let’s put them to good use and discover how to get even closer to Him.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4