One of my rich blessings are my children who are not children any longer. I enjoy them in their maturity, seeing them as productive people, loving parents, making a difference where they live. Sure, have little ones around was fun, but no thinking person wants their offspring to remain a little child forever. My children are at that stage in life that is richest with potential having learned the lessons of their youth, now enjoying that experience, education, and discipline that allows them be the best kind of people, for the glory of God.
Have you grown up?
Physical maturity happens. We do not have to do anything but eat and sleep to go from infant to toddler, to child, to teen, to adulthood. Emotional maturity takes a more effort. We can get stuck in a stage of life and fail to move on. Ever had to deal with a self-absorbed, superficial person who has remained stuck on emotional 16 for the last 30 years? Not a pretty sight, right? How about spiritually? Have you put down roots into the fertile soil of God’s Truth? Have you learned to walk with the Spirit, in good times and bad? Are the evidences of the life of the Spirit abundant in your life? (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, and Self-Control – Galatians 5) Or, are you still getting saved every Sunday?
No, one does not literally ‘get saved’ (a colloquial term for becoming a Christian) again and again. When we respond to the Spirit’s invitation, accepting the Christ of the Cross, our new birth is sure and lasting. Yet, so many who should be all grown up are still stumbling into church, sin defeated, full of guilt, begging God to forgive them yet again. In essence, they keep coming to the same place, never ‘growing on’ in faith, perpetually an infant Christian in the grip of temptation, sin, and failure!
The Word of God says, “Grow up!” “So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. . . . We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation.” (Hebrews 6:1-3,9 NLT) Mature people learn the basics right and wrong, of the cross and the resurrection, and go on to live principled lives – graceful, spiritually rich people. The lessons of elementary school are important but learning phonics over and over again is unnecessary once a person knows how to read!
Similarly, mature Christians should not need to keep rehearsing the old Law code. Instead, they can develop the discernment of the Spirit that leads to the emergence of a beautifully whole life. Lamenting the immaturity of some, the Word says that “though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14, NIV)
The Spirit invites us to move on into real holiness and faith. Spiritual maturity requires both the work of the Holy Spirit and our cooperation. It is not inevitable! Peter reminds us that “You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart. For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. . . . And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.” God’s Word, the Holy Truth, the grace of Christ, the power of the Spirit changed us, made us alive to Him. Now, we must exercise faith. “Get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness. You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.” (1 Peter 1:22-2:5, NLT)
Maturity is a great thing!
I love being able to rule my emotions, glad that I can choose the best over the good. I am glad that my faith is rock-solid so that in times of testing and trial I am not ready to quit and blame God for failing me when He allows situations in my life that I cannot understand. I am blessed with eternal hope that goes deeper than how I feel at the moment. There is wonderful freedom in being grown up – physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Does your life demonstrate a mature faith or are you getting saved every Sunday? Think about it. Talk it over with a trusted friend, and then, grow into a full experience of salvation, for God’s sake.
Here is a word from the Word.
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way. If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.”
The Message James 1:2-5