THE SECRET PLACE
Abiding under the shadow of the almighty
THE CHRISTIANS GREATEST NEED
“Well brother that is a very broad statement! I would think there would not be anything higher than love.” I see where you are coming from and in no way would I disagree. However, there are such things as foundations and principals that are developed through what is called, “divine order”. There are many spiritual fruits and specific attributes that make up the identity of Christ but as in all things there must be the plowing of the ground, the sowing of the seed, the care of the young growth, the development of the plant, watering, weeding, pruning and of course time to allow the plant to M-A-T-U-R-E. Many times, I believe Christians are convinced within their own mind they already have the complete “structure” of love, and believe that Agape love is just an automatic part of the salvation package. It may be true that being born-again creates a new spirit and the potential to “develop” this new seat of the soul, however, to presume that spiritual maturity is manifested without determined labor and sacrifice, is to be deceived. The fruits that we are so familiar with and are so desperate to see manifested do not appear with immaturity but rather are noticed when the plant becomes strong and stable enough to produce its purpose. And so it is with the Christian life. We begin to reflect the image of Christ when we have devoted our life completely to Him. Maturity is not necessarily going to church, reading religious books, giving money, doing good deeds, being baptized, graduating seminary or demonstrating spiritual gifts. I know people who do these things and they still live carnal and are babies in God. Spiritual maturity begins as we willingly lay down our will before His throne and sincerely crown Him the Lord of our life. It continues to develop maturity when we embrace the revelation of the reverential holiness and fear of God.
“So brother, I have been a member of the First Church of God for 40 years, does that not prove that I have spiritual maturity?” Well, I hope that we would all become more mature as we grow older, but as I was saying – even age or years of service has really nothing to do with being transformed into a new person. Being aware of the Father, being filled with The Holy Spirit and allowing Jesus Christ to be our Lord is not really about bumper stickers, t-shirts, necklaces with crosses or cute little trinkets. It is all about understanding the knowledge we have about God – and obtaining the revelation so that we might know Him personally. Amen! The Pharisees had lots of religion but were void of spiritual maturity because they did not have an intimate, personal relationship with God. They knew all “about” Him but did not know Him, similar to how we may learn all about a famous person in history but never worked with them, lived with them or spent any time with them.
The person who loves to argue about doctrine but never takes the time to pray has no spiritual maturity. These are the usually the most involved and the most popular in the congregations. They are ready to fight at the least little thing that presents a possible change from their comfortable traditions but they never consult the Lord to see if maybe it is HE who is initiating the change. We realize there are people that have been involved with religion for most of their lives but have never “grown” into the responsible representative of God’s Kingdom. The exterior has become older but that does not mean they have advanced in wisdom or faith. Mature Christians are not always identified from their much speaking or hyper participation, but rather from a quieter and more stable approach to every situation. This is the result of spending time in prayer and fellowship with the Father. On the other hand, a person that is controlled by a religious spirit can be found constantly judging and criticizing the music or the preaching yet has never attempted to do it themselves. What about the bragging Christians who will blow their money on every silly, wasteful thing they come in contact with, yet never think about helping someone in need? What about those who are always trying to pull splinters out of other people’s eyes and never realize they have a log on their own eye? What about those who think they know everything about the Bible but have hardly ever read it let alone have ever studied it? What about those who scream, shout, jump, and dance at a ballgame, but never move an eyelash when they are in a praise and worship service? What about those who claim to be at the head of God’s table and on the cutting edge of wisdom and maturity yet become easily depressed, discouraged, angry, unforgiving, mean, aggressive, lustful, jealous, envious, hateful, a gossip and controlled by their carnality? There is not enough space to describe the consequences from spiritual immaturity and it is easy to comprehend that maturity is no doubt the Christians greatest need. Selah.
So, what else can be noticed about a mature Christian? Well, I believe a good place to further our understanding of the word would be the dictionary. Allow me to list several of the attributes of the word mature; “fully developed, duly careful and adequate, complete, ripe, full-grown, seasoned, perfected, refined, polished, readiness, consummation and bring to fruition.” I believe that volumes can be written about the importance of allowing Christ to re-mold us and re-create our conscience so that we can be transformed into His image. One thing that comes to my thoughts is how maturity establishes the foundation of our identity as a Christian. The stronger and more seasoned we become in knowing who God is and who we are in Him, the more confident we will be to trust His promises. Those who read and absorb His Word are less likely to be persuaded to follow the views of the world. I realize that in today’s environment of social issues, there is a growing acceptance of freedom to live however one pleases without the rules of truth that establishes the limits of human behavior. Through the last several generations, the convictions of our society have deteriorated and unfortunately the respect for God’s Word has been discarded. What was once regarded in “general” as a message from heaven is now being laughed at and seen as a fable. Our grandparents and even our parents held the Bible in high esteem, honor and admiration as a compass to lead one’s life and teach them how to live. However, The New World Order of today has scarred the conscience of the masses and has intentionally taught the erroneous errors of dark knowledge. Satan’s evil demons have influenced the attitude of our religious and political landscape with a false truth and are now leading the blind and arrogant into the depths of a hopeless hell. So, what does all this have to do with spiritual maturity? Let us continue.
I recently received a comment about this year’s series of weekly articles and they pointed out how often I have mentioned the gay lifestyle. Even though this advice was coming from another Christian, I was literally being warned to stop making negative comments about this issue or face the consequences of everyone blocking me from their mailbox. It was being explained to me that the old thinking about sin was not being embraced by the people anymore and that society was going to not only win this battle but force all Christians to accept them as perfectly normal. In other words, the conservative diehards were going find themselves preaching to the walls because the masses were tired of hearing someone beat a dead horse about issues that cannot be changed. Of course the end of the conversation was that all Christians should just love and tolerate people no matter what they believe or do. Now, did that message come from a mature saint whose intent was to pass along God’s way of thinking and obeying? Or was that a fear based opinion that has decided to compromise instead of standing for God’s truth? I believe this is a question that needs to be answered because we are all standing at this door. Many of you have already been faced with trying to discern God’s will concerning difficult social issues and definitely becomes more personal when a loved one becomes entangled in its power. What would Jesus do? Well, I have noticed that He did not hesitate to mingle with the sinner but is that not because He knew they did not know God’s truth? Is it not different when someone knows the truth yet intentionally disregards it in order to willfully sin? Yes, Jesus forgave people – but He commanded them to go and sin no more. In other words, God is compassionate toward the ignorance of truth, but He is also demanding in His promise to judge according to the disobedience of what we know. In this particular article I will throw this ball into your court and ask that you consider these questions carefully.
This leads me into asking even more questions about how we are seeing our personal mission and destiny. Is there not supposed to be a noticeable difference between a Christian and a non-Christian? I will never believe that God’s original plan for His people were to live as undercover agents. How will people who desire to know more about God – know who to turn to if we are hiding in the shadows? How can God be pleased if our desire is to blend in and not stand for what is right? You would think the more spiritually mature we become, the more confident we would be to stand strong in the face of error. The church is losing its reverential fear of God and is replacing it with the love of the world. The church world may appear healthy on the outside but are becoming skeletons on the inside. Allow me to quote A.W.Tozer, “The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.” Let us consider in closing that if we compromise in any area of God’s will, we will end up being considered a supporter of sin and an enemy of God. Where will our compromising end? Selah. The world loves a “non-resistant” path to the pleasures of sin. This is why the world HATES Jesus and the outspoken Christian who refuses to play patty-cake with the lies of Satan. I thought the calling of mature Christians was to blow the trumpet in Zion and sound a holy alarm. Hmmmm.