Have you ever met someone who acted like a 40-year-old teenager? One who was completely unteachable, and hard-headed to the point it was hindering their walk with Christ? I have. It's not that I hate that person because I don't hate anyone, I just get frustrated with their mindset. We as Christians, have an obligation to grow up in the faith. 1 Peter 2:2-3 says, "Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation- if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good." We are to use the milk only to grow and get ready to mature into eating spiritual meat, but some of us have been drinking the milk for so long it has turned our stomach's sour and we turn away from it altogether. We weren't meant to continue on in our newborn stage, but instead we are to grow and mature in Christ every day. When we start to grow, fruit will appear in our lives that will prove the tangible evidence of our growth.
Hebrews 5:13-14 "For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child, But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil."
I'm offended! This statement here can be one of the largest tools the devil uses to separate Christians. His goal as the thief is to divide and conquer. Every time we are so easily offended the devil is laughing at us while he pushes his foot into the already cracked door. Ever wonder why so many Christians leave the church after they are "offended" and never return and then use the excuse they don't have to go to church to have a relationship with God? Well the answer is simple. Immaturity. When we are unwise to the tactics of the enemy, it is easy for him to stoop in and use them against us as if we are poor sick little antelopes that never had a chance. Grow up! There is an enemy waiting for our souls to slip up and crack the door so he can come in and steal the seed that has been planted in our hearts. Offenses are from hell and the longer we stay offended we are allowing the enemy time to pounce. Growing in maturity will not only allow us to not be offended, but it will reveal to our hearts that if God, the Creator of the universe loves us, then it doesn't matter who on this earth rejects us. Offenses may come, but it is up to us to decide what to do with them. We should not linger here, but instead, search our own hearts and discover the reason why we were offended, to begin with. Then and only then can spiritual maturity begin to take root in our lives. Don't forget the reason why Jesus hung on that cross was because of offense. Let's stop persecuting Jesus by being so easily offended.
Proverbs 19:11 Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense."
As we continue to eat solid food, growing in Christ comes naturally. We learn that sin is just that, sin. In my immaturity when I gave my heart to Jesus I still kept pieces of my life to myself as if Jesus wasn't commanding it all. I expected people to love me and my sin, well because it just came with me and it was my identity. I continued to do things that were not only against God's commandments, but I was sinning against myself too. 1 Corinthians 6:18 says, "Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body." When we continuously seek spiritual maturity we start to abhor sin and all that comes with it. We start to want to live in a right-standing relationship with God because we become aware that when we sin it is against God's nature. When we are seeking God for who He is and His holiness and we start to understand His nature, the further we seek, we begin to know how much He hates sin. When we are growing we want to grow up to be like God, and when we try to be like Jesus, we know that He never sinned. God's nature will be revealed in our life the more and more we begin to seek right-standing with God over the desires of the flesh. This is surely an act of maturity because it takes self-control and a strong will to want to what is right. Do not forget that with Christ all things are possible if we walk according to the Spirit.
Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these."
You may be thinking to yourself, well this just sounds like a bunch of rules that I can't follow. Let me assure you please, when we seek after a relationship and spiritual maturity in Christ, these things that we "can't" do anymore become things that we are glad we don't do anymore. When we seek God He changes and shapes our hearts to start to hate sin. I assure you if you hate broccoli you will not eat it no matter how much someone tries to "tempt" you with it. Walking this out will soon begin to become natural and it will be what keeps us from stumbling. God will not give us instructions on how to live just so we can be easily tripped up by the things of the world. When we are walking in spiritual maturity we are in a place where we can hear the Word and become doers of the Word instead of just hearers. Why go and sit in church every Sunday just to hear the Word instead of acting it out in our everyday lives? We will always be infants if we remain just hearers. God has called for us to pick up our cross and give Him not just our hearts, but our lives as well. How many times have we said, "Well Jesus knows He has my heart," but then turn around and deny Him with our very lives? We continue to cuss and steal, and gossip, and have sex outside of marriage. Jesus didn't say just give me your hearts, He wants our entire lives. We as believers have to grow up at some point and chose to either be hot or cold. Why try to give God honor with our lips but then live our entire lives dishonoring Him? Jesus has a saying for people like this and I assure you I do not want to be one of them He talks about, Matthew 7:23 says, "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.'
James 1:22-25 "But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone s a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."
See my friends, there are promises that come with being spiritually mature. Do not think this is all worthless and it is too much work. We are guaranteed to live an abundant life and have eternal life and flowing rivers of living water coming forth from our hearts if we just hold fast! We are standing on solid ground that is meant to equip us with everything we will ever need to get through this life with peace, joy, and hope. We will never be forsaken, or forgotten, or left behind. We will see heaven one day, and we will forever be changed. When we walk this walk with endurance and skill and maturity we are gaining for ourselves, treasures in heaven that no eye has seen or no mind even thought of. Do not be easily distracted by the fleeting things of this world but grow up in spiritual maturity to live in the fullness that Christ has created for you. Thank you for reading and I pray you are blessed beyond measure.
Galatians 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control; against such things there is no law."
John 10:10 "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
John 7:38 "Whoever believes in me, as so Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
2 Timothy 3:16-17 "All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work."