I recently went to realage.com and took a questionnaire that calculates your real age, based on your health and lifestyle habits. There’s also a nutritional assessment on the site. It’s great to plug in a few answers and come out with a report card of your health.
It got me thinking that it would be nice to have a ‘realage’ assessment of my spiritual life too–something to evaluate how spiritually mature I am, where I’m weak, where I need to grow [though of course here, I’d want to come out older than my age]. And then after the assessment, it would give me an action plan with specific steps I could take. And it would be even better if I could just pop some vitamins to make up for my deficiencies.
Then I realized how my human side has a tendency to manage my walk with God. I want my time with God to make a difference in my life, to really change me and transform me, like Moses’ face shining after being with God. But I’m impatient. I want to fix it in three easy steps. I want to take a pill. I want to spend a half hour with God and come out glowing.
But instead, I think a gardening image is much more appropriate, like John 15. “I am the vine, you are the branches, my Father is the gardener.” A plant or branch doesn’t have much control over its life—other than to turn towards the sun. It’s the gardener who does the work: trimming, weeding, pruning, fertilizing, hoeing, watering, harvesting.
I don’t think this means I’m passive with God, only that the results may be more long-term than popping a pill. And that spending time with Him is the important thing, whatever shape that takes, along with having a strong attachment to the vine.