*How matured are you?
Maturity is not how long you have lived or been a Christian, how much of the Bible you know or how many big pastors or Christians you know, or how many Christian books you have. It is the sum total of your way of thinking (your perspective), your language or conversation and your conduct. It is not just your belief but your behaviour; not just your profession but your performance. See who a mature Christian is…
(…continued from last week)
- The mature Christian is one who has learnt how to praise God despite their pain and discomfort – knowing that He does not afflict willingly; knowing also that all pain is temporary and work for their good. He is not one who has stopped having difficulties, but one who has stopped crying because of them. Adults are not adults because they’ve stopped having problems nor have they stopped crying like babies because they no longer have challenges.
- The mature Christian is one who has learnt the value of time spent with God daily in studying the Word and prayers. They are those who have learnt to receive strength for life through worship, study and prayer. Children spend time, adults invest time.
- One who will not compromise for any reason but is prepared to give even his life for what he believes. He is ready to stand for the truth regardless of the personal consequences.
- One who is ready to make whatever sacrifices may be needed to see that the interests of the kingdom are advanced – one who does not see the blessing of God as a loot to plunder but an asset to invest for the benefit of the kingdom.
- One who puts God first, others second and self last. One whose motives have shifted from self benefit to kingdom benefit. One whose favourite question is what does the Bible say? Who do not what they want but what is necessary. One who does things according to priority. They understand correct priority – the ultimate; not the immediate.
- One who is not selfish – who uses things for people and not people for things; they don’t care who gets the glory, the praise and the recognition. Who go not just for what will benefit them but for only what is necessary to advance the kingdom.
- One who is fruitful. Mature people reproduce themselves. You can never be described as a mature Christian if you are not a soul winner. Children don’t reproduce.
- One whose conversation is pure, holy and truthful in private and public. The Bible says “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Eph 4:29
- They live by faith. They subject their fear to their faith; they subject their feeling to His leading. They do not look at what they see but the promises of the Word of God.
- They are led by the Spirit. What does it mean to be led by the Spirit? To be led by the Spirit means responding to life’s challenges and issues according to the Word of God. Jesus said, “The word that I speak to you they are spirit and life.” So when you walk according the word you are walking according to the Spirit. When you walk in the Word you walk in the Spirit. It also means to be supernaturally guided by the Holy Spirit through divine revelations.
How do you grow?
Growth is a choice. An unused present leads to an empty future. If you do nothing now, you will remain on the same spot. Being born is an event but growth is a process. You are not too old to grow up.
What each individual manifests depends on a combination of three factors: genetic inheritance, environmental influence (mostly relationships – school, friends, work, church, etc.) and learning.
- Learning and seeing things from God’s perspective: What you become is what you expose yourself to. What you feed on determines what you grow to become. Get your mind renewed. Your character is essentially the sum of your habits.
Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 talk about having our minds renewed. The Greek word for transformed is metamorphosis used today to describe the amazing change a caterpillar goes through in becoming a butterfly. It is a beautiful picture of what happens to us spiritually when we allow God to direct our thoughts: we are changed from the inside out, we become more beautiful. And we are set free to soar to new heights. Anyone who wants to succeed must build and be guided by principles and values worth dying for.
God uses His word, people and circumstances to mould us. We are transformed by truth, trouble, temptations and other experiences. A Chinese proverb says the gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.
- Developing convictions (strong beliefs). A conviction is not just an idea you posses but an idea that possesses you. Why does the Bible say all things are possible to him that believes and not to him that knows? Because people generally do not do what they know but what they believe. People pursue their convictions. What you’ve heard is one thing but what you believe is another. What you end up doing is not what you heard but what you believe. It is not everything I know that I do. But I have discovered that it is only what I do that produces any result.
- Practicing what you know. Joby Weeks, a 22 year old millionaire said it is not knowledge that is power but applied knowledge. What is the use teaching a drowning man how to use a life jacket that he will not use? How many have you seen who come to church to be blessed have applied the principle of giving that they have been taught? Stop going to church if you are not ready to change! Growth is the ability to change what you are doing in order to alter your results. It is the ability to improve your knowledge and your practice in order to obtain better results.
- Developing godly habits. We must put on the character of Christ by developing new, godly habits. Your character is essentially the sum of your habits; it is how you habitually act.
This is your third purpose for living: growth: becoming like Christ. Be the Christ that people see and want to emulate. Become an example of believers. Only then can you be a true witness for Him and make the desired impact. Have a blessed week.