Just about everyone would admit their faith is a journey and that they have yet to arrive. But it unfortunately seems that many longtime Christians act as if their faith has in fact fully matured.
And that’s probably because it’s hard to be in a constant state of growing and maturing.
With so many other areas in our lives, there are clear markers of maturity. At age 16, you’ve reached the tallest you will ever be. By the age of 25, your frontal lobe is fully developed.
But our faith doesn’t have the same kind of markers. We will only see the fullness of our faith on the other side of eternity.
One of my biggest fears is that I would stop growing in my faith. I want to live until my very last breath still desiring to grow in my trust and knowledge of who Jesus is. But I don’t imagine anyone intentionally stops growing. It just seems to happen. Before we know it, our faith is stagnant. I really want to avoid that.
Here are five signs your faith is not growing.
1. Your prayers are about you.
I recently read through a few of Paul’s letters and something stood out to me like never before. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise but it was just something I never really took note of.
Paul constantly prayed for others.
In his letters to the Christians in other cities and churches, he prayed for their faith, for their love for one another, for their salvation, and for their unity. Yes, Paul did ask for others to pray for him. But his prayers were notably for other people.
It’s not wrong to pray for yourself and the needs of your life. But that definitely shouldn’t be the majority of your prayers. Our faith grows when we boldly pray for the life and salvation of others. This is an act of selflessness and love for another person, the very thing we are called to do.
I’ve met many people who have shared how they came to faith, and in almost every single one of those stories there was someone constantly praying for them. Some of those people were praying for years and years.
Prayer has the power to do far greater things than we could have ever imagined. When we use this spiritual discipline for others more than for ourselves it is a sign of true growth in our faith.
2. You don’t get excited about what the church is doing.
The mission of the Church is far greater than you and I showing up to church on Sunday to hear a sermon. Of course, the teaching of the word is an important aspect of church life, but it’s not the only aspect of the Church. Jesus left his people with a mission. Each church plays a different role in that mission. Or at least they should.
As members of the body of Christ we should be excited about the ways our particular church is fulfilling that mission. We should be supportive and eager to play a part in reaching people for Jesus as a community.
When the pastor announces the vision of the church, ways to be involved in the community, or how the church is fulfilling its mission, it should bring you true joy. It should also be something you desire to take part in.
If the movement and mission of your church doesn’t make you excited, it’s likely a sign your faith is not growing.
3. You keep your faith to yourself.
The Samaritan woman often gets a bad rap, but one of the best moments in the story is when she goes back to her town to share her testimony. As a result, many of the people are saved.
You might be thinking you were like the Samaritan woman when you were first saved, but maybe that excitement has worn off. Life gets hard. Your faith is challenged and it’s not as new as it once was. This can be the case when your faith isn’t growing.
God is always doing new things in our lives and in our faith. He’s not done with us which means you should always have something to share about your faith. It might be how you are going through a difficult time and you are clinging to Jesus with everything you have. Or maybe you just came out of a hard season and you’re reflecting on the faithfulness of God.
It doesn’t matter where you are in your spiritual life, if you are growing in your faith, then there is something to share.
4. You are most concerned about being “fed” at church.
We live in a very consumerist culture. And this mindset is too often brought into the churches we attend. Sunday morning becomes more about what we can get out of it, rather than a community we’re actively involved in. We look at the pastor and wonder why our needs aren’t being served more effectively. Or we consider leaving our current church because we aren’t being “fed.”
The local body of Christ is not all about meeting your needs and making sure you’re faith is being fed. The Church is far more about a community actively working together to grow and mature in faith and to share that saving faith with the lost.
It’s not about a team of people working tirelessly to meet your needs.
You and I are meant to be part of our churches. We’re not spectators but active players on the team. If your view of the church is focused on what it can do for you rather than how you can support the greater mission of Jesus, then it’s very likely your faith is not growing.
5. Your faith is comfortable.
In the very beginning of your faith, I can almost bet it was terribly uncomfortable. It was full of excitement and hope, but also uncomfortable. Your life began to look different than it did before and there may have even been some pretty large life shifts. Jesus calls us to lay down our lives to follow him. That’s not an easy calling.
It’s something we have to do over and over again, because the temptation to pick our old life back up is resilient. When your faith is growing, that means it’s being stretched and pulled in ways you never thought it would go. But God is faithful to see you through.
Behind every shift and change is a purpose.
Uncomfortable faith means that you’re relying on God. It means you are being asked to do something not in your own strength but in his. As followers of Jesus we should expect some discomfort in our lives. And we should be worried if we’re too comfortable, because it’s likely your faith is no longer growing.
You’re not done yet.
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been a Christian, your life with Jesus is only just beginning. Knowing that should bring us excitement and comfort. There is so much wonderful growth left for God to accomplish in your life.