Courage to Assess?
By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
I hate evaluations; taking them and giving them!
Ignorance really is bliss. At least to a degree, it’s more comfortable to believe “all is well” than to face the reality of our weaknesses.
I grew up having to take the Iowa Basic Skills Tests every year. I dreaded those tests because they took so long, and I knew the results would not be good. I was a slow reader, and the added pressure of limited time caused inner panic, which lead me to try to read faster. But that meant comprehension plummeted.
The teachers hopefully found some value in the results and weren’t too discouraged by my slow progress. I don’t recall much of the results and didn’t make any concerted effort to improve in weak areas. I assume the teachers took full responsibility for working on the areas where I was weak. In time some things started to click a bit better. I studied harder and eventually pulled off a 21 for my ACT. (I understand, if you simply mark “A” for all the answers you’ll get a 17.) That score was good enough to get me into college.
There, the tests only got harder. I eked through an English literature class, sailed through a computer science class, and was totally humbled by an ear training music class.
Seminary brought more tests and jobs brought more evaluations. Assessments are part of life. Even in retirement, you count the fish you catch, track your golf score, check your blood pressure, and track your allocation of investments.
DISCUSS: How do you respond to evaluations?
So, what about your spiritual life?
Did you do the Spiritual Growth Assessment which I gave out on Sunday? Do you have a plan to grow in any particular areas which the assessment addressed?
The questions address the following six areas.
These directly line up with the six areas we discuss in our membership class… I will trust Jesus as the only Savior and Lord, connect deeply with Jesus’ followers, grow to be like Jesus, serve sacrificially as Jesus did, reach out to the world with the love and truth of Jesus, and worship Jesus as the ruler of all.
Honestly, how are you doing in each area? You probably know where you are falling short, it’s just hard to acknowledge and even harder to do something about.
Now it’s possible that you are currently implementing all the right habits to maximize your spiritual growth. If so, please let me know your secret.
For the rest of us, this is an opportunity to take one step in the right direction. There are several great ideas listed in the Spiritual Growth Assessment, but let me make a couple suggestions…
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your grace revealed on the cross. Help us respond to your grace, draw closer to you, and to take our spiritual health more seriously. Move our hearts to action that we may be more like you. Amen.
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