I’ve been playing around with simple ways to describe what a fruitful Christian looks like from the outside.
Here is one set of three “measures” that might fit the bill. A fruit-bearing disciple of Jesus Christ:
- Can explain to another person why Jesus is important him or her.
- Can describe specific ways their love of God is visible in their life.
- Can describe specific ways they reach out in love to their neighbors.
The goal here is to be able to assess the spiritual maturity of disciples without resorting to some sort of checklist that might promote a legalistic understanding of faith or might create a box into which everyone is forced to fit.
The first criterion might be too vague. Jesus being “important” and Jesus being “my Lord and Savior” are not the same thing. I find people struggle to describe in what way Jesus is their Lord in Savior. Most often — if they can reply at all — they offer a canned phrase that echoes some doctrine or Bible verse rather than an expression of living and vital faith.
I see these not as binary (yes/no) measures but as ways to assess growth. The person who struggles to say more than “I attend worship 3 or 4 times a month” as a description of how their love of God is visible might then be engaged with teaching and counsel about ways to deepen and mature in their love of God.
I’m open to other ideas.
What other ways do you have for assessing the spiritual maturity of disciples?