Lesson 5 -- third quarter 2004
July 4, 2004
© Copyright 2004, Christian Light Publications
Still a babe?
Quite possibly, you can look at your life and see all manner of failings and imperfections. It isn't difficult for you to conclude that you are spiritually underdeveloped and immature. You are quite certain that you are still a babe. And now that you have read the last four verses of Hebrews 5, you have no reason to change your opinion of your own spiritual maturity.
Now you are discouraged! When you read the Bible or listen to sermons or read Sunday School lessons, you get a glimpse of the ideal ...and you fail to see yourself. Right? Have faith! Take courage! Growth is really quite imperceptible most of the time. God does not do His work in you all in a rush.
"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). The expression "will perform" is the continuous present tense, indicating a process. Maturity, perfection, and holiness do not happen in us immediately after His Spirit enters us. God does begin His work in us at that point and gradually, daily, surely, He reshapes us into His image. "Now the God of peace...Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ" (Hebrews 13:20,21).
But how do I grow up?
"Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do" (Deuteronomy 29:9).
There you have it. That's the basic principle for spiritual growth.
Were you hoping for more? I understand. So let's add a bit more.
" Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law...turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest" (Joshua 1:7).
Oh, and let's not neglect the rest of that particular thought.
"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success" (Joshua 1:8).
Growing in Christian maturity is a matter of foundation, focus, and follow-through. Unless God's Word is the foundation and focus of my life, and unless I follow that through with unswerving obedience, I will not grow up in Him.
When we live in disobedience to God's commands, choosing to disregard God in our day-to-day living, we will not grow in maturity. Disobedience and spiritual growth are mutually exclusive. We simply cannot neglect and violate God's Word and still develop and prosper spiritually.
The next time you are chagrined by your babyhood, don't just bemoan your immaturity and don't try to improve in your own strength. Improve your obedience and claim the promises made in these verses.
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