In a book I read recently ( Two Steps Forward by Sharon Garlough Brown — Book Review ) one of the main characters is a grad student. On a final paper about her spiritual development, the professor tells the students they should grade their assignment themselves. This made me think — how would I grade myself on my own spiritual disciplines: how would I grade my prayer life, my personal evangelism, my study? In the book, it causes quite a quandary — there is a temptation to “grade oneself” high enough to obtain a certain mark in the class; but there is also a desire to appear humble. Are we able to grade ourselves honestly?
The Bible, as always,, has something to say about this. In the book of Romans we read:
” By the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Romans 12:3
Paul then goes on to say how we are to evaluate ourselves:
” We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. “Romans 12:6
So, have you taken the time to determine what your spiritual gifts are? Are you using them to build up the body of Christ?
” love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves” Romans 12:9-10
Are you sincere in your love for others, and particularly for others in the church?
“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 11-12
Are you regularly practicing the spiritual disciplines of prayer and service, not as a chore, but as a privilege, trusting God to be faithful?
“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:12
How generous are you with your material blessings?
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18
How often do you put your own desires aside to maintain peace and harmony with others? Do you nurture angry thoughts or seek revenge?
You get the idea. It’s not an easy task to grade yourself. We all want to believe we’re doing pretty well — maybe even very well. But think about these things “with sober judgement” — what’s your grade?
For more about growing spiritually see:
Fanning the Flame #16 Personal Spiritual Discipline
Let Your Spiritual Gifts S–T–R–E–T–C–H You