God designed us to be whole people—body, soul, and spirit. And God cares about the totality of who we are, not just our spiritual side. The health of our bodies matters to him; he knows and cares when we’re sick.
Have you ever met a person who admitted to being self-deceived? The very nature of self-deception is that there is no conscious awareness of believing lies. Self-deception emerges from living on a self-referential basis.
When Jesus preached a sermon, told a parable, or gave a discourse, He always used object lessons that were familiar to His hearers in order to illustrate His point. The archaeology and geography of Bethsaida provides the background for two of His parables.
We all face the reality of death many times in our lives. We see our loved ones die, people in our community, those we work with, and fellow believers. This is the type of context where Solomon commands his audience to joyfully make the most of God’s basic gifts.
How can we know we are growing people spiritually? I don’t know that we can ever know as clearly numerically as we do with attendance or contributions. But I think there are principles that can help us know we are on the right track to building disciples.