Spiritual Maturity

Many Christians believe themselves to be spiritually mature.  In many cases, that might be so, however, there are cases in which one might be mistaken.  The qualities that people often believe are fruit of spiritual maturity fail to meet the mark.

When speaking of a Christian who is spiritually mature, one who possesses many spiritual gifts comes to mind.  If a person does not have multiple spiritual gifts, then a mature person will operate strongly in one, according to some.

The final authority as to the definition of spiritual maturity is the Word of God.  We will now see what the Bible has to say.

Be a Doer of the Word, Not a Hearer Only

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James 1:22 tells us that we must not only hear the word of God, but we must also do what it says.  People can quote the Bible, both in and out of context.  Even Satan knows the scriptures as seen in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.  Knowing the Word is not enough.  Having the wisdom to apply it to our lives and live it is evidence of true spiritual maturity.

I have lived a hypocritical lifestyle in the past.  I am far from perfect now, but I strive to seek to obey the Lord.  I say this because many people live hypocritically.  If they make it to church, they certainly do not take what they learn outside the four walls.  If this is you, simply repent and ask the Lord to help you live authentically.

How Do You Treat People?

It sad to say that many people consider themselves to be spiritual yet these same people will speak harshly to the waitress in a restaurant or demonstrate impatience with the cashier at the grocery store.  Some are mean to the members of their own immediate family.  Whatever the reasons are for this attitude, going to the Lord and seeking transformation is a must.

Social media is a soap box for some Christians to air their ill feelings toward others.  I am a firm believer that social media can be used for the glory of God, but more often, it is used to bash others.  If you derive pleasure from bashing people on Facebook, in gossip, or even speaking rudely to others in person, you need a renewing of your mind.  You need to humble yourself and see that God is not pleased when any Christian mistreats someone else.

How Is Your Love Walk?

John 13:34-35 reminds us that people will know we belong to God by our love for other Christians.  The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22).  While spiritual gifts are wonderful and God certainly wants us to have them, they are not the fruit of who we.  The fruit of the Spirit demonstrates that we are allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us.  We will not walk in sinless perfection, but we will not be using grace as a license to sin.

Another important point to note here is that godly love is not always a feeling.  While our emotions eventually line up with the direction in which we go, we cannot rely on our feelings to tell us whether or not we are walking in love.  It is a choice to obey God and treat people right no matter what our feelings are telling us.

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The Bottom Line

Spiritual gifts are wonderful!  I thank God that He gives gifts to many.  His gifts and callings are without repentance according to Romans 11:29.  We should enjoy these gifts and seek God’s leading as to their use.  However, we must realize that spiritual gifts are not a mark of spiritual maturity.  Walking in the love of God and obedience to His word are both evidence of true spiritual maturity.

Transformation in Progress

Perhaps I should explain why I have not yet published the book I was promoting.  The title of the book is Are You Ready for Transformation (It’s All in Your Mind).  As a practical guide to renewing the mind, I want the Holy Spirit to guide me through the process.  In my rush to complete the book, I found myself running off without Him.  That will never do.

At this time in my life, I am experiencing some great transformation spiritually, personally, and in my career.  I am excited about these changes although I can get a bit apprehensive.  Why? I am stepping out of my comfort zone.

Areas of Struggle

Weight

One of the areas of my life in which I struggle is with my weight.  Since my late teens, I have been on one diet or another.  When I was not dieting, I was going on complete binges.  This type of yo-yo method is not healthy and can mess with the metabolism.

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The Lord began speaking to me about my weight.  I am following His leading, and I would love your prayers.  He is teaching me how to keep the pursuit of weight loss in balance, allowing Him to heal areas that led me to overeating in the first place.  However, the pursuit of weight loss must not become an idol in my life.  If I am not careful, I tend to pursue the blessing rather than the God giving the blessing.  Can you relate?

Giving Up Control

By nature, I have a type A personality.  I feel the need to be in control.  Part of that control is feeling that I have to do everything asked of me to show my capability.  When I surrendered my control to God’s control, I found that I can say “no” when I need to.  I do not have to do everything someone asks of me.  If I need to, I can politely refuse.  Jesus did not travel to every town.  He did not give in to the wishes of everyone around Him when those wishes contradicted the will of the Father.  (Balance alert:  While I do not need to do everything asked of me, I do need to consider the needs of others which, at times, can bring inconvenience.)

Leaving the Comfort Zone

Due to loving control, I have a certain zone I prefer to stay in. If that zone were God’s will, then it would be fine.  However, it is my own desire.  It had to be surrendered to God because wanting to remain comfortable was keeping me from the transformation I needed.  Understanding that God’s ways were higher than  mine liberated me to allow Him to lead and guide my steps.

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The Book

Are You Ready for Transformation will be out when I know God’s timing is right, not mine.  The transformations that I have been undergoing will be discussed along with scriptures that the Lord led me to.  I am willing to wait because I know it will be better and the annointing of the Holy Spirit will be more evident when I rely on God and give Him the glory.

What about you?

Are you undergoing transformation by the leading of the Lord?  Remember our transformation comes by renewing our minds.  If you belong to Christ, you have the mind of Christ.  Using the mind He has given us will cause us to tap into realms of glory that we have never before experienced.

Trust the process that the Lord is taking you through.  The end result is worth the means.  God loves you, and His plan is to give you more abundant life.

 

 

 

Busyness Versus Fruitfulness

It is amazing to me the extremes to which we as human beings tend to swing.  Many people are workaholics while others are lazy.  Others eat too much while some do not eat enough.  Some people need to learn how to have fun while others think life should only be fun.  Extremes are everywhere, and, unfortunately, the church is not immune to them.  One of the extremes I will be discussing is busyness.

Is Busy Better?

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There is a fine line between busyness and fruitfulness.  When the Bible tells God’s people that fruits of repentance or the fruit of the Spirit should be evident in the lives of Christians, many people misunderstand the meaning of fruitfulness in the spiritual sense.  Immediately, some begin looking for a job in the kingdom of God because they want to be busy for God.  The intent is noble in  most cases, and God does not want His people to be lazy and idle  However, there is a line that we can not afford to ignore.

Just because someone is busy does not mean this person is fruitful in the sense of bringing glory to God.  When a work is being done in obedience to God rather than just trying to appear godly, the results will bring glory to God.  In other words, we don’t get the credit.  When something such as a ministry is being done for the glory of God, people’s lives are changed.  People are set free, delivered, healed, and most importantly, people who did not know Jesus Christ come to know Him.

Being busy, even if it is a Christian endeavor, does not necessarily mean we are being fruitful, or bringing glory to God.  One way to tell the difference is to step back and examine your own level of joy.  If you are running back and forth, never catching your breath, and never spending time with your family and loved ones, chances are, you are busy rather than fruitful.

What is fruitfulness?

Before I answer the above question, I want to say that God never called us to live our lives so fast-paced that we forget to enjoy the people and things He has given us.  He did not call us to run like chickens with their heads cut off (an old saying where I am from).  He did call us to be about the Father’s business, and friends, when we are about His business, there is grace to do the work.  Joy accompanies grace in your work.

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That is not to say that everyone should leave their jobs and work in the church.  I am simply stating that we need to know what we are called to and operate within that calling God gave us.  The Lord did not call us to do everything.  We only need to do those things which God called us to, or, we will not do anything well.  It doesn’t matter if you can do one thousand things at once.  The question is, how well do you do them?  God called us to quality rather than quantity.

John 15 gives a clear picture of fruitfulness.  The one who is fruitful abides in the vine.  The vine is Christ.  We must be plugged into Him through a true, personal and intimate relationship.  This is the only way we will know what we are called to.  If we try to work for the Lord without truly knowing Him and enjoying time with Him, then we are simply doing dead works.

Take Time to Evaluate

In order to know if you are busy or fruitful, you might need to take time to step back from the hustle and bustle, and look at what you are doing.  Then, ask yourself why you are doing these things.  Prayerfully, consider if there are certain activities or tasks that you can let go, or, even delegate to someone else who would be willing to help.

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It could be that you are neither busy nor fruitful.  If you are idle, God is calling you to step out and do something.  Ask Him what that might be.  If you are constantly on the go and seldom have time to look up, you might need to let some things go.  Ask God what that might be.

God called us to live to please Him and do some things well, but we must face the fact that we can not do a million things at once and do them well.  Take time to be fruitful, not just busy.