Each person needs to look at the inner man. Each person must take a close look to determine where one stands spiritually.
The outer man is looked at often because it is easy. Sometimes, what is seen is not liked. It may be that larger clothes are needed or, maybe, the hair is not the same color it used to be.
What about the soul? Peter wrote that spiritual growth is needed. “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18). One must realize that the physical body grew because of the food enjoyed. For the soul to grow, there must be spiritual food. A good portion of spiritual food must be taken in if spiritual growth is to happen.
If people grow as Christians, then they should be able to tell a difference in themselves over time. It may be that they know more verses of Scripture than they did before, or perhaps now have a handle on more subjects that are discussed in the Bible.
Hopefully, they have developed a greater love and concern for lost souls. If proper growth happens, then the need to work for the Lord is understood and the need to live for God each day is seen. There are so many ways to grow as a Christian.
Strength is something that has to be acquired. It does not just happen. The Lord needs those who are strong and who are willing to stand firm on his word, not willing to compromise with the world or with those in the church who would depart from the truth.
“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). The stronger one becomes, the easier it is to live the life of a true follower of God. Before strength comes, one must develop patience to study and grow. The weightlifter who wins the medals did not become proficient overnight; it took time and patience. The same is true in becoming stronger as a follower of God.
How can people determine these things about their souls? First, one has to honest with himself. He knows and God knows whether he has increased or decreased spiritually over time. Second, God’s word must be studied to show how one ought to be and where improvement is needed. Everyone has room for improvement, but one must work at improving, not just being satisfied.
The Hebrew writer told of a people who had failed to grow properly: “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat” (Hebrews 5:12).
Nearing the end of a year is a good time to look at the inner man. As people look back, they may or may not be happy with how they have grown spiritually. As always, the Bible has words to help in that situation. Everyone needs to think as did the Apostle Paul, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13).
Look within the word of God, then look within yourself and make the necessary corrections needed. Grow in the knowledge of God. Obey his commands and live every day for him.