Autumn Leaves 3 Column

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Maturity in Spite of Me

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”  Ephesians 4: 14 – 15

I wanted his approval and good will more than I wanted to be holy.  I wanted to be held in high esteem, so I tolerated bad behavior and foolish jesting at the expense of others.  My desire for acceptance was greater than my desire for God.  These are my sins…confessed, repented of, forgiveness requested and received before the Lord and the appropriate individuals, now shared to make this point: spiritual maturity is attained slowly but surely in spite of self because God is mightier than foolishness or sin.  He will finish His work in us.

As many of you [readers] are aware, relationships are extremely important to me.  But as I reflect, those relationships were not more important to me than my standing before particular individuals.  Through the consequence of the loss of those relationships over the last few years, along with the humbling and difficult work of repairing them, the Holy Spirit is doing the transforming work required to make me “grow up”.  Spiritual maturity requires hard work!  And I believe relationships are the means by which Jesus is transforming me, and you, to spiritually mature people who resemble Jesus. 

Truth in my inmost being was required first: truth about who God is and His mighty power used to make me holy through the circumstances of this life that His sovereignty allows.  Truth about my sins: my desires, my will, being more important than the will of the Savior who rescued me from the pit of hell.  Finally, I had to be honest and recognize that my life in Him is to reflect and pursue kingdom purposes; “His kingdom come, His will be done”.

My next step was in observing others through the Lord’s perspective: each individual is His creation.  Therefore, I had no choice but to respect each individual and their opinions, cull the wheat from the chaff and pray for wisdom and understanding to confront my sinful behavior and make amends where I could.  Restoration is the work of God and I am to join Him in that work.

Finally, I must continue to apply the above steps willfully and intentionally if I am submitting to the work of the Holy Spirit.  Today I am celebrating God’s faithfulness, love, mercy and eternal presence in my life.  I still have a long way to go in this process of maturity and I won’t be surprised if I have to practice these steps many times to get it right!  But I’m in this for the long haul…to become like Jesus, to be presented as blameless before my holy, righteous God.  Amen.

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