Friday, March 20, 2009

Spiritual Maturation: Part 3 (Conclusion)

(Make sure you scroll down and read Parts 1 and 2 first)

Am I growing spiritually? Am I skillful in The Word? Am I familiar with what It says? Am I accustomed to It? Do I practice spiritual disciplines and train myself in It? Again, we would not think twice about learning or training in order to properly execute earthly matters, yet spiritual matters and abilities are somehow supposed to magically just happen. I don’t get it.

A spiritual infant, or babe as some versions state, is a “nepios”. A nepios is one who is an untaught minor. Minors are in need of someone else to do things for them for they are not capable of making wise decisions on their own. They need someone to watch over them and teach them at all times. They are always reliant on someone else to feed them. Now here is where many Christians get things so confused. Few seem to understand that we’re to be confident, able-bodied children of God who can capably walk with the authority given to us by Christ. I am not saying we should do whatever we want whenever we want to with no outside influence or assistance, for we are a Body. But what few seem to realize is that what the Bible defines as the Body of Christ and what it has become understood to be are two dramatically different entities. The Word specifically and plainly states that you cannot spiritually mature if you’re not eating solid spiritual food. One must understand who they are in Christ to fully understand these statements. Otherwise, as I often find when speaking with people, this comes across as arrogance and rebellion, yet it is neither. It is simply understanding what The Word states as my role as an Ambassador for Christ upon this earth that I reside upon. My King decrees it, I do it. He says that a mature one is able to discern good and evil, ready to execute Kingdom dominion upon the earth, so I will strive to become a mature son and do accordingly.

I also want to be clear to point out that this is not about earning anything. It is not about works. It is not about knowledge alone. It is definitely not about salvation. It is about spiritual maturity. After I am biblically born from above, it should be my desire and my pleasure to study His Word and to know Him more intimately through It. It is not dreaded obligation nor is it grudgingly executed duty. It is a willful choice that I regularly make in order to grow into spiritual maturity as a son of God. A love for The LORD and a love for The Word absolutely go hand in hand. They are inseparable. When I study His Word, I am choosing to sit at His feet and take in more and more of Who He is and Who I am in Him. There has been, nor will there ever be, any substitute.

To those of you who are parents, especially those who have grown children, why did you teach them? Why did you instruct them and long to see them succeed? Your love didn’t depend on what they could or could not do but you, without question would want the best for them I’m sure. Our Heavenly Father is expecting and desiring no less of us as His children. He longs for us to achieve our full potential as Ambassadors for Christ. He wants to help us grow and mature in Kingdom abilities and knowledge. Just as a father would desire for his child to grow up to be prepared for whatever may come, the LORD desires us to be knowledgeable of Kingdom things so that His children will be prepared to live what He deems as a successful Christian life.

So I encourage you, as harsh as it may seem, grow up! Mature in the LORD! Leave behind the childish things and elementary teachings that flood the Christian marketplace! If you believe that you can be an effective, Kingdom of God building, maturing, overcoming child of God WITHOUT studying the Word of God, you are mistaken – period. It is simply impossible. Knowing this, it is no wonder that the Body of Christ is so sickly and ineffective. Her power, Her ability, Her identity is all found in The Word and She will never know It as long as She is kept ignorant of Its grandeur.

Hebrews chapter 6, verse 1 states, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God.”

It is time for the born from above Body of Christ to move past salvation. It’s OK, I promise!

Again I say, salvation is only the beginning! We have a race to run!

We have Kingdom things to tend to! Resolve to set out on the course of spiritual maturation today! It is your destiny in the Father to possess the mind of Christ and mature into an approved and pleasing son or daughter of the Most High God! Throw down the bottle! Take off the training wheels! Allow the LORD to be your teacher, the Holy Spirit Your Guide! Leave behind the elementary things and go deep in the LORD… it is what you were regenerated by Christ to do!

“My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God's wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-7


NINA said...

Great ending. I think that just as you wrote,many people choose not to mature spiritually because they want to take the easy way out. This has suddenly become human nature. Example; the microwave, the pre-packaged foods,the divorce rate, the subway station etc. Which ever way is fastest and more convenient works and no one wants to put too much effort into anything anymore. "Ignorance is bliss." "The faster, the better!""What you don't know can't hurt you." "If you cant beat them join them!"All of these things have become motto's that mankind has begun to live by. But as we often find with these get results quick schemes there is more often than not repercussions for taking the easy way out. We must learn to stop putting our personal well being in the hands of other people and devices and put in the work that we need to get valuable results. "Being saved" is not enough. Truthfully when people have this attitude I believe that it is within reason for them to question their salvation. Many people have given their lives to the church, but have not yet committed themselves to God. As believer's we should have a thirst for knowledge that should come natural if as you say we are "born from above". We should be seeking first the kingdom of God which is found through knowledge of the word and through personal relationship with the Father. We should be growing spiritually daily. And just like with everything else that exists, "ANYTHING THAT IS NOT GROWING IS DEAD!"

Vicki M. said...

Well, my first inclination was I got upset at much of what you shared. Then I sat back and asked myself why. It would seem that I too have settled for milk bottles for far too long. As you said, it would be ridiculous for me to do now as a grown woman what I did when I was a teen. We just don't seem to be challenged to mature in our spiritual growth so I guess it continues to go unaddressed.

Thankfully, you are desiring to see that change in the body of Christ. Thanks for the challenge to grow up, though painful it might be at this point!

Joel Spencer said...

Nina: Your statement, "Many people have given their lives to the church, but have not yet committed themselves to God." could not have better summed up much of what I attempt to get across here. Devotion to "service" and "services" is absolutely not what it's about! Praise God I have found freedom in daily walking with Christ.

Vicki: I often hear from people who initially get kind of riled up over some of these articles. The thing is, if we're never offended, we're never challenged to go deeper. I need others to say, "you know what, you need to step it up!" every now and then.

We are a Body - all necessary and responsible to assist one another. Love takes on many forms. :)

Regarding your realization, as I said in the post, we cannot continue to expect such little spiritual maturity in our lives. I can no longer do at 35 what I did when I was 10 in the natural - why should it not be likewise according to spiritual matters?

Blessings as you embark on feasting upon the solid foods!

Ferrari said...

Thank you for being blunt. No matter how blunt you are you are never harsh, i can tell everything you say is said with love and concern.

You are so right, we are far to comfortable with our milk. We shouldn't look to our pastor alone for spiritual growth- its not fair to expect one man to fed an entire conregation that is all at different spiritural "ages". We need to take responciblity for our health. We dont expect doctors alone to keep us healthy we need to eat right and exercise in between visits.

I am guilty too often of being content with where i was and not wanting to go deeper.

Thank you for challenging me!

God bless ^_^

Joel Spencer said...

Ferrari: Bluntness is one thing I seemingly have little problem with. :)

Your "doctor" analogy works well as we are responsible for our own spiritual health. Noone else will be able to answer for whether I chose to mature or not in the LORD.

Thanks for your understanding and transparency. We can all go deeper for there are no limits of the greatness of God to be discovered.