Friday, May 6, 2011

Growing to Maturity | Part V

We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ. We shouldn't need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God. And we shouldn't need to keep teaching about baptisms or about the laying on of hands or about people being raised from death and the future judgment. Let's grow up, if God is willing. (Hebrews 6:1-3)  (CEV)

As the writer gives us this exhortation, he suggests three things that are necessary if we are to reach Christian maturity.
  1.  Maturity Requires a Great Departure
  2. Maturity Requires a Firm Determination
  3. Maturity Requires a Sovereign Dependence

Having talked about the destination and determination, the writer now talks about the dependence of a believer when he says he will go on to maturity "if God is willing."  It takes that kind of perspective to mature.  Our life depends upon God's presence, strength, power, and his will.  God has a plan for every one of His people.  His design and purpose are intertwined.  Those who have lived godly lives have learned the secret of depending upon God for every need of life, even the ability to grow in Christian maturity. 

The apostle Paul prefaced his desire to visit Corinth by saying, if the Lord permits.  (I Corinthians 16:7).  James warns us about planning our future without taking God into account when he says: Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that."  James 4:13-15

All of life is to be lived in dependence upon God.  Note that this dependence is not “if others permit,” “if leaders permit” or “if teachers permit.”  We are not to be dependent on men but God.

One spring our family was driving from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa, Florida. As far as the eye could see, orange trees were loaded with fruit. When we stopped for breakfast, I ordered orange juice with my eggs. "I'm sorry," the waitress said. "I can't bring you orange juice. Our machine is broken." At first I was dumbfounded. We were surrounded by millions of oranges, and I knew they had oranges in the kitchen--orange slices garnished our plates. What was the problem? No juice? Hardly. We were surrounded by thousands of gallons of juice. The problem was they had become dependent on a machine to get it. Christians are sometimes like that. They may be surrounded by Bibles in their homes, but if something should happen to the Sunday morning preaching service, they would have no nourishment for their souls. The problem is not a lack of spiritual food--but that many Christians haven't grown enough to know how to get it for themselves.
Leroy Eims, The Lost Art of Disciple Making.

We need to move on to Christian maturity; and we can if God strengthens and helps us.  None of us need to wonder about the goal of our life.  We are to become like Jesus Christ.  But it takes a departure. It takes determination. It takes a sovereign dependence if we are ever going to reach that goal.

Scripture to Claim:
Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established. The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Proverbs 16:3-4a

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