Increased humility.  The man whose soul is growing feels his own sinfulness and unworthiness more every year.  He is ready to say, with Job, “I am vile,” with Abraham, “I am dust and ashes,” with Jacob, “I am not worthy of the least of all Your mercies,” with David, “I am a worm,” with Isaiah, “I am a man of unclean lips,” and, with Peter, “I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

Increased faith and love towards our Lord, Jesus Christ.  He sees a thousand things in Christ of which, at first, he never dreamed.  His love and power, His heart and intentions, His offices as Substitute, Intercessor, Priest, Advocate, Physician, and Friend unfold themselves unspeakably.

Increased holiness of life and walk.  The man who is growing yearly gets more dominion over sin, the world, and the devil.  He becomes more careful about his temper, words, and actions, and is more watchful over his conduct in every relationship.

Increased spirituality of taste and mind.  The man whose soul is growing takes more interest in spiritual things every year.  He does not neglect his duty in the world.  He discharges faithfully, diligently, and conscientiously every relation of life, whether at home or abroad.  But the things he loves best are spiritual things.  Spiritual companions, spiritual occupations, spiritual conversation and behavior appear of ever-increasing value to him.

Increase of charity.  His love will show itself actively in a growing disposition to do kindnesses, to take trouble for others, to be good-natured to all, to be generous, sympathizing, thoughtful, tender-hearted, and considerate.  It will show itself passively in a growing disposition to be meek and patient towards all men, to put up with provocation and not stand upon rights, to bear and forbear much rather than quarrel.

Increased zeal and diligence in trying to do good to souls.  Missions at home and abroad, efforts of every kind to spread the gospel, attempts of any sort to increase religious light and diminish religious darkness – all these things will, every year, have a greater place in his attention.  He will not become “weary in well-doing” because he does not see every effort succeed.  He will just work on, whatever the result may be – giving, praying, preaching, speaking, visiting, according to his position – and count his work its own reward. – J. C. Ryle (1816-1900)


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