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Monday, September 21, 2015

Spiritual Maturity

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV).

We live in a quick fix society. We don't like to wait for anything. Patience is something that is foreign. Whatever we go through, if it involves any discomfort or pain, we want it to end immediately. Commitment and perseverance are virtues that have fallen by the wayside. “Superficiality,” writes Richard Foster, a Quaker author, in his book Celebration of Discipline,” is the curse of our age. The doctrine of instant satisfaction is a primary spiritual problem.”

Society also teaches us that whatever is wrong in our life is not a result of anything we have done. “Don't blame yourself,” society forgives, “someone else caused this to happen. You couldn't help it.” It is time that we take responsibility for what we are, what we believe, what we say, and how we act. We are not responsible for circumstances over which we have no control, and it would be self-defeating for us to analyze the cause of each one. But we are responsible for how we respond to failures, trials, problems and life. We are totally responsible for our reaction.

Spiritual growth in Christ is convicting. It doesn't allow for excuses. It tells us that we take responsibility for our bad attitude or fly-off-the-handle reaction. We learn from our failure, and if we are responsible for a problem we make every effort to not create that problem again. Spiritual maturity tells us that the next time we are faced with circumstances, either of our own making or not of our own making, we will react in a mature way. In all our relationships (no matter what the circumstance) we will exhibit the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

The only way that we can have the fruit of the Spirit alive in our lives is to be transformed from within. We allow our selfishness to be crucified with Christ. We allow our rebellious spirit to be crucified with Christ. We allow His pruning to mold and shape us into His perfect will. When we are willing to make this selfless journey and allow the Holy Spirit to transform the way we think and act–when we are willing to accept responsibility for our actions and reactions–when we realize the sacrifice that is necessary for spiritual growth, then we have begun the journey to grow deeper in Him. “The desperate need today,” Richard Foster concludes with his thought about superficiality, “is not for a greater number of people or intelligent people, or gifted people, but for a deep people.”

Are you tired of quick answers that offer no lasting peace? Are you tired of an attitude that never seems to change? Take responsibility for who you are, and ask Him to continually make you new. Allow His Word and the Holy Spirit to re-create, stretch and mold your character. You will discover that “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom” (2 Corinthians 3:17). Spiritual maturity breaks the need for masks. It sets you free to believe and know the person He designed you to be. And if you grow spiritually, you are free in His design and purpose. Society may not grasp your freedom, but you will know that you are indeed free.

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