STEPPING UP TO SPIRITUAL MATURITY
Whenever we become Christians we are to begin a transformation in our life.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
However this transformation does† not happen overnight. This does not set well in the society we live today. We have been trained to believe in instant gratification. All you have to flip through the channels† late and night and watch some of those infomercials. Most of them have something to do with make you a lean mean fighting machine. They hire some buff model who has worked for years developing physic and then they try to play off in your mind that you can† look just like that model with in few months if you simply use their product 3 times a week 20 to 30 minutes at a time. Another example would be the fast food restaurants. You can run the drive thru and have you supper with 5 min† and if it take 10 min boy we began to lose our patients and get mad because we have been trained to expect instant gratification.
However, we cannot have that kind of mentality when it comes growing as Christian.
1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,† 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,† 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Peter describes† the new Christian as babe. I think everyone in here can understand this concept. When a baby is born it can do little on it own it as to have it mother and it farther to care for it. As time goes by the new baby begins to learn new things. For instance they usual learn crawl first then sit up and finally learn how† to walk on their own. The also move from milk to more solid food as the mature. This same concept is true with new Christians they must grow in spiritual maturity one day at a time there are no shortcuts. Being a Christian is a lifetime commitment and every Christian no matter how or old they may be should always striving to grow.
2 Peter 3:18 †but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If we a child that was not growing physically as it should we would be very concerned and we do just about anything to give them medical attention they need to grow. In the same manner we should very concerned with Christian who is not growing spiritual and try to help them as much as we† possible can. Its really sad when some become Christians and they simply do not desire to grow and they become stagnate.
The writer of Hebrews ran across Christians just like this.
Hebrews 5: 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.† 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.† 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.†
So you see there is great need for every Christian to grow and to mature in Gods word so that we can be a prepared people that is pleasing to God.
Ephesians 6:13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.† 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,† 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;† 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.† 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
Now that I have pointed out how important it is that we all grow lets us now† take a look a 4 ways to step up to spiritual maturity. Our four steps come from
Ezra 7:10 †For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the
Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in
1. We must prepare our hearts
Preparing your heart is one of the most important steps to become spiritually mature because if you donít the desire or right mind set to do Gods will then you are going to fail and your going to fall away from God. You see it takes dedication and commitment to learn more about God and do his† will.
Luke † 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,'
You have to prepare give all of yourself† to God.
Proverbs 23:7 †7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is heÖ
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.
Whatever you harbored in your heart is what going guide your life.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 ††4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds,† 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
If you do not fully† prepare your heart to serve God you will find very difficult to remain faithful. We can learn about 4 different types of hearts in the parable of the 4 soils.
Luke 8:4 And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable:† 5 "A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it.† 6 "Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.† 7 "And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it.† 8 "But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold." When He had said these things He cried, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Luke 8:11 " Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.† 12 "Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.† 13 "But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.† 14 "Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.† 15 "But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
What kind of heart do you have this morning? Are you stubborn like the wayside soil and donít allow the† word of God† to sink. Or are you like the rocky soil you once were excited about the word of God but lacked commitment and now have just withered away. Maybe your like the thorny soil and you heart is only kind of prepared for God but you allow the world to choke Gods word. In order to be pleasing to God and to be successful at becoming spiritual mature we must a heart like the fertile soil that is fully prepared for God so that we grow in his grace.
2. We† are to† seek† the law of the Lord.
In order to grow in anything weather it be the word of God or be a new job or new hobby you must seek out information and study it so you can become knowledgeable. Now that you have prepared you heart for God and have passion for doing his will we must seek out his† will by studying his word.
Psalm 119:10 With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!† 11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!† 12 Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes!
David even though he fell short of Gods will from time to time overall he loved God so much and tried his best to seek out God commands† and it even says he has hidden it in his heart. We should be the same way seek his word and hiding it in our heart because Gods† word is precious.
Psalm 119:127 †Therefore I love Your commandments More than gold, yes, than fine gold!
There† is nothing in this earth that is more valuable than the word of God because it will leads us to eternal life.
Matthew 6:19 " Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;† 20 "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.† 21 "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus was letting the people know donít make monetary gain you focus life instead make heaven your goal and it will be treasure.
"But seek first the
There are no shortcuts to study Gods word you just have to roll up your sleeves and get to work studying Gods every opportunity that you have. There not many of us that would miss a meal to feed our body when it hungry but how many times to skip opportunities to feed our selves the word of God when we are spiritual hungry? Paul tells TimothyÖ
2 Timothy †Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. †
Are you studying the word of God on daily basis? If neglect to feed yourself spiritual† notice what can happen to the child of God.
Hosea 4:6-9 ††My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.† 7 " The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame.† 8 They eat up the sin of My people; They set their heart on their iniquity.† 9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And reward them for their deeds.
3. We must do the commandants† of the Lord.
Its not enough to just know the word of God you must also obey what you have learned otherwise you will not grow. Let me give you a worldly example. Lets say that you read up and study how to do heart bypass. You can learn all the ins and outs and learn all the technical names but would you want this person to perform the surgery on you when they† have never cut a person open before? Of course not. You want the person that has both the knowledge and experience one who has already done several heart surgeries. Its† one think† to have knowledge itís another think to practice it and to gain experience from it.
James put it best in..
James 1:21-25 †21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.† 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.† 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;† 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.† 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
If want to become mature you must practice† what you have learned in the word of God. If are not doer of the word then James tells you† are deceiving yourself. Jesus had very important question for those who were not being doer of the word.
Luke " But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?† The word of God tells us many times in one way or another that if we love God we will obey his commands. How can we say the Love God and call him lord lord if we do not obey his commands. Notice what Jesus goes on to say inÖ
47 "Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like:† 48 "He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.† 49 "But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell. And the ruin of that house was great."
Friends† you have a choice you† can† either be a doer of Gods which will lead you to spiritual maturity or you can do nothing and find yourself swept away with life of sin† which lead to your destruction.†
Sometimes† following Godís command can† be very difficult for us especially when it comes to us giving up what we hold dear to our heart but if we are going to be pleasing to God we must sacrifice† those things so that these temporary things† do not separate us from God. Notice what the people of Ezra time had to do.
Ezra 10:2 And
Shechaniah (shek-uh-nigh-uh) the son of Jehiel, (juh-HIGH-uhl) one of the sons of
God had commanded them not have foreign wives but many them disobeyed this command and married them† anyway. But now they realize that this was wrong and even though I am sure they love their foreign wives they were showing that they God more so the sent these wives away so that they† could be right in the site of God. To many today fall away from God or will not become a† Christian because they are unwilling to give up what they† hold dear.
Matthew 10:37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.† 38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
We must love God first by† obeying his† commands then let everything else come 2nd, 3rd etcÖ
4. We must share the truth with others.
Mark †"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
All of us should be prepared to teach those who ask us about God.
1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
Whenever you teach someone about the word of God it helps you to become spiritual mature because you learn how to speak to a person† more effectively each time you do it. A person who teaches learns a great deal more from their preparation those who receive the teaching. Try to use every† opportunity you have to teach others about God either by example in the way you conduct yourself or sitting down opening up the bible and sharing the good news with them. Parents are teach their children about God.
Ephesians 6:4 ††And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.†
Paul taught Timothy to teach the word of God to others so that the word of God would be taught from generation to generation.
2 Timothy 2:2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Listen to the 4 steps to
spiritual maturity one more time from Ezra †For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the
Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in
If you will work these 4 steps in you Christian life you continue to grow and become more spiritual mature everyday.