As a corporate CEO I have heard the expression “THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX” too many times to count. No offense intended here, but I have always thought it was a SILLY APHORISM because nobody really knows what box they occupy. Just ask someone, anyone, and watch them stammer. That’s why my personal approach has always been to create a NEW, FRESH box…FOR EVERYTHING. And that includes my quest to spend time in SOLITUDE with God.
Many Christians need a new, fresh box when it comes to spending time in solitude with God. Their current “BOX” may be difficult to describe or define, but let’s just say it is a STRUGGLE to spend quality time with God and grow spiritually.
So how do we know if our faith is growing during the time we spend in solitude with God? If we are becoming more spiritually mature? Growing in Christ?
The STANDARD BOX to measure our spiritual growth is KNOWLEDGE.
But that box is full of holes. We will never know enough. Never know the right thing for every circumstance. Never fully “measure up” to the world’s unforgiving and always-shifting standards.
KNOWLEDGE does not produce spiritual maturity. It subordinates GOD and fills us with misplaced confidence in ourselves.
The NEW, FRESH BOX to measure our spiritual growth is God’s FRUIT.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
The fruits of God’s Spirit produce a LOVE that subordinates and humbles us. It is the cure for arrogance and anger and anxiousness.
“Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that ‘We all possess knowledge.’ But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” 1 Corinthians 8:1
Moving out of the KNOWLEDGE box immediately releases the pressure to perform. To measure up. To act spiritually mature.
Moving into the FRUIT box reshapes our Christian character and strengthens our sanctified heart. Importantly, it reminds us that sanctification—the process of being made holy in the image of Christ—is a life-long process.
I ask God to remind me every day that spiritual maturity is measured by the fruit of his Spirit coming out of me, NOT knowledge as the world defines it.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Does your faith need a NEW BOX?
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7:16-20