Sunday, December 13, 2015

ABC's of Godly Character - M

M is for Maturity! Are you a mature or immature person? Christian Maturity is something that develops with time. It is a process that begins when a person accepts Jesus as their Savior. The Apostle Paul said that spiritual growth is an ongoing process in Philippians 3:12-14 "Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own…But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." In order for Christian maturity to develop in our life, we must make a choice to learn God's Word, allow God to renew our mind, and then be obedient to what we learn. Romans 12:1-2 says, "present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” As we mature, we should learn to walk obediently with God. It is making a choice to live by God’s ways instead of the world’s ways. Step by step, day by day we must deliberately make a choice to choose the right path. It won’t be easy. We will have growing pains, but reaching maturity is worth the battle. We mature by choosing to apply God's Word in everyday circumstances. As we walk step by step, applying God's Word to our life, we will grow spiritually. Are we at the same place in our relationship with God as what we were when we first got saved? Can we look at our life, or can others and see that we are more in love with Jesus today? I can look back on my life and see growth. When I was a child my “Bible reading” was when I was in Sunday School or when my parents done devotions with us. As a teen, I started reading my Bible more on my own. My Mom and I would read the Bible aloud across the hallway to each other and say our prayers before we fell asleep in our beds each night. Then I decided to read the whole Bible for myself. It took me almost 2 years but I done it—2 years meant that I only read it about 10 minutes a day. Was that my best? Was 10 minutes a day all I could give to my God, my Savior? Mature…I think not! Now I am so in love with God’s Word that I want to read it again and again. I learn something new each time I read it. Just reading it to say I have done it isn’t growth, though, we must want to apply and learn from what we read. Reading it to check it off a list or to say we have read through it "x" number of times may not mean we are absorbing it and learning to apply it.  A couple of years ago I read through the Bible twice in one year, does that mean I am mature now? No, we never totally mature in our Christian faith. We always have room to improve. I can tell you, the more time you spend studying God’s Word, the more you will want to do it. So let me ask you some Spiritual Growth questions. Is reading your Bible a “want to” or a “have to” decision? How often do you pray? Do you ever read your Bible besides when studying for Sunday School or church? Do you study your Sunday School lesson? Do you pay attention in church and try to learn or are you busy on your phone, clipping your fingernails, or sleeping? Have you ever read a whole chapter of the Bible? What about a whole book of the Bible? What about all 4 Gospels? Have you ever read all of God’s Word? Take time to honestly evaluate your Christian Maturity. Do you enjoy God's Word? Are you still milk fed like a baby or are your growing? Spiritual maturity should be a priority for us. "Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:13-14). As a believer, we are not to always be milk-fed. Instead, we are called to chew on the "meat" of God's Word. Discover God's truth by in-depth Bible study and feed ourselves spiritually.

Prayer starter: Dear Lord, please help me to grow in my Spiritual Maturity. Help me to put away childish behavior in my life and mature in my relationship with You. Help me to fall more in love with Your Word. Help me develop more of a desire to learn about You and to talk to You. Help me press on and continue growing more like You every day of my life.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to set a goal of how much time you are going to spend reading God’s Word and in prayer. Work on your growth process today! You are responsible to make a choice! Will you choose to use and apply God's Word to your life?

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