“Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors.”
Life is pretty tough eh? There is suffering, anger, violence, lust, greed, deceit, pride, and fame to battle through. The desires to love and be loved can lead our heart down some really bad paths. In life, we go through a few different phases on our way to maturity.
As far as our physical bodies are concerned we go through an physical maturing process.
- Child Pre-Pubescent
- Child Post-pubescent
- Mature Adult
Our spiritual bodies seem to mature in a different way.
- Birth into Faith
- Childlike Faith
- Adult Mature Actions
- Death to Self
SO where are you at?
Physically? Emotionally? Mentally? Spiritually?
Here’s what The Lord says about growing up.
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
So you’re his son and daughter, not illegitimate children (not an orphan or bastard without a Father). He loves you unconditionally and came to give up his rights so that he can spend eternity with you.
He wants to raise you, help you grow up and is using discipline & hardship to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace inside of you.
© Kim Walker, Christian Musician/Worshiper
Some could say, but if God loved me so much then why is he letting me go through hardship in the first place? Shouldn’t he just do everything for me? Guys and gals….that is not love. When you’re an infant, an earthly mother and father do everything for you. But as you get older, you learn and do things yourself, but just like a child ~ you still need correction.
“for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.”
So that is a good example of something physical. Now let us look into spiritual maturity.
We can gauge what stage of life we are in due to our maturity in our spirit man. Whereas physical maturity seems to do more with the outside appearance, we look at the inside to gauge our spiritual maturity.
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
If we are surrounded by people the same age spiritually as us, it would be much more difficult to gauge what stage of physical maturity we are at. How much more of spiritual maturity?
Spiritual gifts can be a blessing and a curse if you do not know when and how to glorify Our Heavenly Father with them.
If you were a toddler and you were faster, smarter, and stronger than all of the other toddlers around you, would you notice how talented you were? Things may seem different to you or you may have more questions than others around you. Would you view yourself differently? I would say you would probably not view yourself differently.
In a different scenario let’s say you were smarter, stronger, and faster than those around you. Lets say that you grew up being constantly told how much better you were than others. How much smarter you were in comparison to others, or how much better you and your parents were because of the social, economical, or prestigious background/heritage you came from. Would that alter your opinion of yourself? You bet it would!
The hardest form of balancing this spirit of pride is by focusing on who you are. One cannot be too confident to the point of being arrogant nor too humble to the point of being depressed. There is a proper balance that every God-fearing follower of Christ should develop which is called discernment. One must discern where they at and which side of the scale they lean more towards.
For me I used over-confidence for years to mask how broken and depressed I really was. I had a constant feeling of unworthiness and self-sabotage.
It’s only at the end of ourselves that we can finally enter into maturity and adulthood. We go directly into the Promise Land.
The biggest reason that our spirit man doesn’t get built up inside is because we haven’t submitted to what maturity level we are actually at. Our outward selves cannot look at our inward selves and take an physical evaluation about where we are at. We have to look into the Word of God and take inventory of ourselves by what fruit we produce by our actions.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is 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.”
Many of us hear the word, and a majority do very little about it. We would rather get convicted watching an advertisement on television about sick animals or starving families and give money instead of our time or effort. And we wonder why the world is the way that it is…. It’s about time that we transition from the desert into the promise land and focus our attention off of ourselves and toward the restoration of the earth! We were sent here to make a difference and put to death the fears that are holding us back.
We have abused and dehumanized the poor, needy, orphans, and widows long enough! We have let swindlers and crooks come in and allow wolves into the church for long enough! Why are there so little Christians answering the call of God on their life?! If you are allowing complacency and consumerism to steer your moral compass you are gravely mistaken. If you want the world more than Christ you had better check your references.
Many of us think we are actually somewhere that we are not. Like myself, I consider myself being a Child and having Childlike Faith. My Spiritual Father in the faith has been encouraging, correcting, disciplining, and helping me transition into Spiritual Adulthood. Since I am already an adult by physically standards, I am being disciplined and learning from a man much more mature than myself (my Pastor & Elders).
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.
This level of submission has allowed me to break down and put the death the fleshly desires of selfishness, pride, lust, rebellion, arrogance, and replaced it with appreciation, humility, gentleness, kindness and most importantly love in its place.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.
Do not be deceived brothers and sisters, there will always be something to learn from Jesus and The Holy Scriptures. While you are maturing spiritually, there is an everlasting relationship between you and God. At any level, your heart can get choked out by the world if you let it.
14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.
Walking with Christ is not an indefinite cycle of pleasant times, nor all hardships. Just like Exodus for the Jewish people, there comes a time when we are called out of slavery of the world and move across the immovable sea. And when you have been set free, what will you use your freedom for? Will you use it to become a slave again to sin or righteousness?
What happens next is what is in your heart.
©Jeremy Riddle, Christian Musician
Just like the Israelites, we can get set free from spiritual slavery and instantly start worshiping God in the way WE think is best (i.e. Israelites & Golden Calf). What we haven’t realized is that God has a prescription on what and how we are to travel towards the promise land. The journey to the promise land isn’t easy. Just like the Israelites we go into a desert, on a journey toward the promise land.
Ultimately, God brings us to the place he wants us to go in and inhabit. He is for us…not against us.
So how do we respond??
We scout it out, look at the promise land, see how beautiful and bountiful it is. Our hesitation is out of fear, but we can do this with The Lord. We can go into war to get it. We have to enter through war to get it. Although this story is thousands of years old, many people are transitioning to fighting the good fight of faith to enter into the promises of God.
Our story here teaches us something about our Spirit Man. Jesus did not have the New Testament when he did his ministry, you know what he used?? The Old Testament ~ the Israelites needed someway to discern what was God and what wasn’t God
Christ became the fulfillment of the Old Testament by waging war for our hearts. Jesus was and is the deliverer that rescues us from the hands of our enemies. All we have to do is align ourselves to Jesus and declare war on the sinful nature within us and DO WORK SON!
Spiritually, it is no different.
So then, let us stay ready to take the promise land at every given circumstance. Let us take every thought captive and align ourselves to righteousness.
If you stay ready, you will never have to get ready.
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
- How mature we are does not determine on those around us, it is us and our obedience to the word of God.
- Identify where you are at in your spiritual walk by looked at the word and putting your spirit man in the story.
- Take an honest appraisal of your life story and how it resembles to the Israelites.
- Jesus is the fulfillment of the Old Testament and is apart of every story.
- Be ready to respond, deny yourself, and go to war against the sinful nature.
AB aka Coach Pineapple