«

»

Feb 12

The Road to Maturity-Part 1

Infancy

There are three Greek words that define our journey in Christ. The first word is ‘Teknion’ meaning infant or toddler. The second is ‘Teknon’ meaning child or youth and the third is ‘Huios’ meaning son. In this three part newsletter I will divulge what the Holy Spirt wants to accomplish in each of these stages so that you can identify which stage you are in and cooperate with Him as He conforms you into His image.

 

Change is a Choice

A believer named Tim Hansel shared the following story:

A close friend of mine was asked back to his forty-year high school reunion. For months he saved to take his wife back to the place and the people he’d left four decades before. The closer the time came for the reunion, the more excited he became, thinking of all the wonderful stories he would hear about the changes and the accomplishments these old friends would tell him.

One night before he left he even pulled out his old yearbooks, read the silly statements and the good wishes for the future that students write to each other. He wondered what ol’ Number 86 from his football team had done. He wondered if any others had encountered this Christ who had changed him so profoundly. He even tried to guess what some of his friends would look like, and what kind of jobs and families some of these special friends had.

The day came to leave and I drove them to the airport. Their energy was almost contagious. “I’ll pick you up on Sunday evening, and you can tell me all about it,”I said. “Have a great time.”

Sunday evening arrived. As I watched them get off the plane, my friend seemed almost despondent. I almost didn’t want to ask, but finally I said, “Well, how was the reunion?” “Tim,” the man said, “it was one of the saddest experiences of my life.” “Good grief,” I said, more than a little surprised. “What happened?” “It wasn’t what happened but what didn’t happen. It has been forty years, forty years and they haven’t changed. They had simply gained weight, changed clothes, gotten jobs…but they hadn’t really changed. And what I experienced was maybe one of the most tragic things I could ever imagine about life. For reasons I can’t fully understand, it seems as though some people choose not to change.”

There was a long silence as we walked back to the car. On the drive home, he turned to me and said, “I never, never want that to be said of me Tim. Life is too precious, too sacred, too important. If you ever see me go stagnant like that, I hope you give me a quick, swift kick where I need it for Christ’s sake. I hope you’ll love me enough to challenge me to keep growing.”

 

Be Perfect as Your Heavenly Father is Perfect

Tim Hansel’s story should challenge each of us to ask ourselves, “Am I allowing Jesus to transform me into the person He wants me to become?” or “Am I choosing to remain unchanged?” In Matthew 5:48 Jesus made a disturbing statement: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” At first glance this verse seems to say that we must be “sinless” like God. This is not what the word means. When used of persons the word “perfect” simply means attaining the full limits of stature, strength, and mental power within their reach. It conveys the idea of full; completed growth or spiritual maturity as contrasted with childhood.

So, what was the Lord saying when He called us to perfection? He was saying that with His help He desires for us to grow up and mature in character, purpose and mission. How do we do this? How do we grow from a place of infancy in Christ to childhood to maturity?

 

 

First Steps

A person who is “born again” starts a new life similar to that of a newborn infant. Three guidelines that promote good health in babies can be adapted and applied to a Christian’s spiritual growth:

 

  1. Drink Milk

 

1 Peter 2:2-3 says, “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.”

In this Passage Peter encourages newborn believers to consume God’s Word like they would drink milk from a mother’s breast. Every believer needs daily intake of God’s Word if they are to grow and mature in Christ. The Bible is God’s blueprint for living. It is God’s roadmap for success. It is every believer’s foundation. It is nourishment for the soul.

 

  1. Get Cleansed of Your Spiritual Poop

Acts 8:4-8 records, “Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.”

After the Samaritans received Jesus as Messiah God began to deliver them of their spiritual poop. In the natural every baby poops and pees. In the spiritual realm newborns in Christ need to be cleansed of a wide spectrum of strongholds (pee and poop) including addiction, anger, bitterness, fear, lust, rejection and more.

Many new believers don’t mature in Christ because their strongholds have not been extracted. If a new believer’s strongholds are not dealt with, the enemy will be able to interfere with their spiritual growth. This is why taking “Finding Freedom” and “Healing Hearts” is essential for long range spiritual health.

 

  1. Place Yourself Under Parental Care

 

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 states, “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.”

Paul, Silas and Timothy (see 1 Thessalonians 1:1) did not lead the Thessalonians to Jesus and then leave them to fend for themselves. They understood that these baby believers needed to be spiritually parented and cared for over time. Because of this they nurtured the Thessalonians to spiritual maturity.

Every new believer needs to establish the daily habit of bible study and get cleaned up from their past. But if a new believer is to mature over time he/she needs spiritual parents to protect them, pray for them and help them overcome their trials and challenges.

 

Foundations

The world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa opened in Dubai January 4, 2010. At a staggering 2,717 feet tall – more than half a mile high – it easily overshadows the previous tallest building (Taipei in Taiwan is but 1,671 feet tall) and it stands double the height of the renowned Empire State Building.

Built at a cost of $1.5 billion the Burj Khalifa captured several other world records including:

*Tallest man-made structure (2,121 ft);

*Building with most floors (160);

*Highest elevator and world’s fastest elevators (40 mph); *Highest outdoor observation deck (on the 124th floor); *World’s highest swimming pool (76th floor).

While most attention focuses on the Burj Khalifa’s height, perhaps more important is what lies buried beneath the building. Without a solid foundation, the world’s tallest building would become the world’s longest pile of rubble. Extending 164 feet deep under the Burj Khalifa lies 58,900 cubic yards of concrete weighing over 120,000 tons. It took a year just to build the foundation.

So it is with great lives. What people see – what we marvel about – are the great heights to which some people seem to soar. Yet, supporting any truly great life is a solid foundation.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-25, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock”.

Foundation matters. We cannot start wrong and expect to finish right. Next week we’ll explore what God downloads in the “Childhood” phase of a believer’s growth and development. In the meantime, ask yourself if you have been grounded in the Word; cleansed of your strongholds and presently have someone more spiritually mature pouring into your life?

 

 

Having faith for an all Christian Hawaii,

 

 

Pastor Rob

 

 

 

Questions to Ponder

 

  1. Have you made the commitment to read and study the Bible on a daily basis?

 

a) Why or why not?

b) If someone could help you establish the daily discipline of getting into the Word would you be open to their help?

 

  1. Have you taken “Finding Freedom” and “Healing Hearts”?

 

a) What is your greatest area of struggle?

b) Do you need additional cleansing prayer?

 

  1. Do you have someone who is more spiritually mature than you helping you to grow in Christ?

 

a) Are you a member of an Ohana Group?

b) What, if any, are the issues that are holding you back from asking someone more spiritually mature to help you?

 

-Shame?

 

-Fear of rejection?

 

-You believe they are too busy?