This past Christmas, my husband bought me an Apple watch. While it has all sorts of features that do things like remind me to stand up or breathe, one I especially like is the “progress update” that posts throughout the day. It displays a multicolored wheel which tells me how many steps I’ve taken, calories I’ve burned, how much exercise I’ve achieved, etc. While it’s a great way to track my daily, physical progress, it leaves me wishing I had a similar app for life.
In my current season of life, I’d love to know how much further I have before I turn the next corner. Just how far I’ve come and how much longer to go before I begin to see results in my business. If only I had some way to gauge if my activity is even leading me where I need to go. Perhaps a red circle to show how many more blog postings before I get my writing published, or a blue circle to gauge how many more phone calls or emails before I land steady clients? Maybe a green circle would represent the number of people I’m actually helping along the way?
As much as I might like a progress update for my life, that’s not how God works. Over the past 18 months, I’ve thought a lot about this. Maybe God doesn’t work that way because left to my own devices, I’d track the wrong things, or maybe my goals would be set too small for what he’s planning? Or maybe it’s that the progress I’m making, while good, it’s not for me to see the harvested results-yet? Maybe I wouldn’t develop the faith in him, the relationship with him, the realization of my daily need for him, if somehow, I could manage or manipulate my progress without him?
Whatever the reason, I’m reminded time and time again, that our heart matters MORE to God than our results. It’s not about the outward accomplishments that the world sees and values, but the inward change that God values. Unfortunately, I don’t think that you could develop a ‘progress update’ for the heart. There are no green circles to tell you your level of humility. There are no red circles to indicate your daily relationship and need of God. No blue circles to represent the grace and forgiveness in your heart towards others.
Unfortunately for us achievers, there will never be an app that can track the progress of our heart. But, there is a way to monitor our progress in other ways. How is my patience with my kiddos? What about with my spouse? My boss or coworkers? When was the last time I inconvenienced myself to help meet the need of someone who could never repay me? When I go about my day, my attitude and what is coming out of my mouth is directly linked to the progress of my heart. Am I patient with the grocery clerk, even when he bags the eggs with my gallon of milk? Am I looking up from my phone to smile or speak to the person at the drive thru? Are the words and actions coming out of me, honorable and pleasing to God?
God has a way of showing us our progress towards being Christlike in that what comes in, often comes out. The more we pour his word into us and diligently seek him, the more we will begin to see his love come out of us even on the hard days.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says “The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.”
If you have an Apple watch or something similar, I hope every time you see your “progress update” it’ll remind you to do a quick progress update of your heart too.