by Pastor Tim Burt</span
Most Christians think they have spiritually grown up and become mature! The truth is, most (yes I said most) haven’t!
Every good parent wants their child to mature and grow up to live a good and significant life. Every good Christianparent wants their child to spiritually mature and grow up, not only to have a significant life, but a life fulfilling their God-given destiny—loving and serving Him one day at a time.
Remember that we are created in the Lord’s image and we are at our best when we try to emulate Him. The Lord wants us to grow up serving Him. He created something called the church. The church is a people-group who knows Jesus as Savior, and has a place and atmosphere to help that happen. Ephesians 1:22-23 (NLT) says, “And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and He gave Him him this authority for the benefit of the church. And the church is His body…” If you are a believer, you are a part of the body of Christ whom He calls the church and who He loves above all things! Ephesians 5:25 (KJV) says, “…Christ loves the church and give His life for it.” Those of us who believe are all a part of God’s church—the universal church inclusive of all believers of Jesus Christ. We are also a part of the local church—a local community of believers that mature and interact together as they learn to influence the world around them for Him.
God tells us in His Word that He gave and put within the church, leaders (like parents to children) to help us grow up and spiritually mature. Ephesians. 4:12-13 (NLT) says, “…to prepare and equip God’s people to do His work and help build up His church, the body of Christ, until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ.”
One of the ways God helps that happen that is critical in developing our spiritual growth and maturity, is to learn to serve others within and through the local church. When we work side-by-side in unison with others in the local church, it forces us to learn to work together to accomplish His will and develop spiritual character as the Holy Spirit transforms our lives into the image of Him. It can at times be difficult because people are people—even when they’re Christians. They still at times act out with unchristian attitudes and behaviors. Why? Because each of us is a work in progress. You might expect every kind of behavior from unbelievers in the workplace because they don’t know the Lord. But you have a higher expectation from Christians. And yet, Christians—each and every one, are a work in progress with different levels of maturity who will at times, do or say something to hurt you—including the Pastor!
If you’ve ever been hurt by a Christian, the devil has tried to take it further and divde you off! The point of offense leads to devilish thoughts of; Chrsitians are such hypocrites. Why do I even put up with this crap? Through offense, he works to get you out of the church instead of learning to grow character and grow up! When this happens—Christians hurting you—why would you keep on? You would because you understand that every Christian falls short somewhere and we are all a work in progress. You want them to be patience with you, so you show mercy and be patient as God transforms their life. This forces you to develop Christian character. You have to learn to be forgiving and overlook offences. You have learn to walk in love and literally to develop every Christian attribute that God’s Word says we should grow in and put on.
We see people quit their job every day. We see people leave their spouse every day! But, Christians are called to learn to live to a higher standard! God doesn’t want you to quit being a part of His church and serving His plan. He doesn’t because it’s part of His maturing process for your life. And two powerful benefits of growing in this is first, learning to work with other imperfect people and love them in the process, and secondly, learning to develop an I will not quit attitude. God teaches us that if we learn to abandon the constant temptation to quit in time of adversity and remove it quitting attitudes from our vocabulary, we’ll instead learn to persevere. Church is the best place to learn that! We learn to love one another despite our faults. We learn to press on to become a victor like Him! Galatians 6:9 (NIV) “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Think about this: Spouses fight, children fight, quarrels happen all the time, but because you are a family, you work it out a day at a time while learning to walk in love as your goal. That’s how it is in the local church. The local church helps you learn this so you practice it in your family! This is God’s will. But if you didn’t know that, you’d quit and miss out on the plan that He has to help spiritually mature you!
If you read the story of Moses, you see that he had to manage all of God’s people. They were spiritually undeveloped and immature—a whiny, ornery, sometimes rebellious bunch. But God still loved them and Moses still had to work with them. There were times where Moses wanted to quit. Yet he didn’t because He loved God and loved the people and knew he had to persevere while praying and interceding for them.
One day God spoke words to Moses that each of us would long to hear from Him. He said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” (Exodus 33:17) This was the same as God proclaiming He was Moses’s friend. Then God revealed Himself to Moses in a special way. Serving God from a pure heart has its special moments and rewards from God.
Learning to serve God’s plan by serving others through the local church is a critical and significant part of God’s plan to mature us. We are family. We don’t quit that plan, we realize that it’s God’s plan to help us grow up and mature with godly character.
We’ve all been hurt by other Christians and we’ve all probably hurt other Christians. But, like family, we hang in there, forgive and have mercy on each other, and purpose to do better as we grow and mature. We all hope to grow up together to bless and influence this world with the gospel of Jesus and with His loving touch operating in and through us. When we do so, we will be the ones that benefit the most from His glorious plan! And will have grown up and become His friend!
Ephesians 4:13 (MSG) “until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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