Pen Marks on The Door

By: Jeremiah Thomas, pastor of Centennial ARP Church

“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

At my Papaw and Mamaw’s house is a wooden sliding door. On that door are several pen marks of my height from ~2 years into teenage years of my life. Now, I’m sure this brings a smile to many of y’all’s faces and sweet memories of your own pen marks somewhere similar, right? It’s a basic measurement. It’s a moment to stop, look, and really see tangible growth from one year to the next, from one season to another.

So why not do a “first pen mark” for your spiritual growth this week?

Get your computer out (or paper and pen for you purists out there), and here is your pen mark:

  • Write all 66 books of the Bible (or as many as you know right now)
  • Write what you know about each of those books of the Bible (exhaustively)

Don’t be scared or intimidated. Don’t be embarrassed or offput. This isn’t salvation we’re talking about. This is growth. God has already saved you if you confess in Jesus.

Think of it another way. Was I embarrassed when Mamaw put that pen on my head for the first time? Or was I excited? Was I embarrassed at the mere inches I grew year over year? Or was I excited? Actually, as a young boy, I probably was! But what about my Mamaw?

Let me be real. My Mamaw had a deep love for me. She was an intense lady (ask my mom!). But God’s love for me is even deeper. At the risk of personifying God a little too much, he is “excited” over inches of growth in your life, well beyond Mamaw’s excitement. Perhaps a better way to put is this. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).

But how will you measure spiritual growth with no pen mark? Be it much or little, you’ll never know without measurement. You’ll never see need. You’ll never rejoice at growth. You will miss out on the extraordinary blessing of bearing witness to God’s work in your life!

Don’t miss out. Our “pen marks” all start somewhere. Share it with your pastor or an elder. Let them be the “wood sliding door” that preserves your “pen mark.” I’d love to hear if you take me up on this challenge. If not, I’d love to hear why you chose not to. Challenge me if you must, but bring God’s Word with you!

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