As we continue on this journey of growing in spiritual maturity, we should look at what it takes to “be taken forward to Maturity” We also should look at some FACTS about growth & Maturity. Pastor Phil Ayers and I were talking one day and he shared an equation with me. The equation is below. It’s funny how this so often is viewed as common sense………but the key is realizing that it is truth. Something I like to call “A Truth in Life”. I call it that because, I believe, there very few, if any exceptions to this truth in life.
GROWTH & MATURITY TAKE EFFORT. It is important to set goals and direct our energies toward achieving them. We need to train ourselves and develop our skills. We need to work hard to apply the wisdom and teachings of Jesus to our lives.
We all know people who sit back and wait for life to happen to them…..and they wait…and wait. They often wonder, why are they not achieving their dreams? We know why, right?
I have not been to Seminary……but I didn’t let that stop me…and I didn’t wait. What I did was study and apply God’s wisdom, sought out the advice and counsel of my pastors, prayed, and developed skills to speak in front of people. I developed skills to write. Recently I have aspired to also be a writer…..I’m not sitting back and waiting for it to happen. I’m writing every day!
God can work with our efforts….He has a hard time, I believe, working with our just sitting back and waiting for things to happen. I would hope that we are the same way with OUR children (indeed, we are God’s children). We want to see them put out the efforts to achieve their dreams don’t we?
GROWTH & MATURITY TAKE TIME. Children are not born full grown, and I am glad they’re not, they need time to learn, to experience things, to make mistakes and learn from them. They need time to grow in their experiences.
Time, I believe, in a spiritual sense, is often the biggest impediment and temptation that draws us away from growth and maturity. We see the wall of time before us and we simply don’t want to experience it, do we? We belong to the “fast food” generation. If we are wise, will understand this formula of “Effort” divided by “Time” + “Change”, multiplied by God and prayer = Growth and maturity.
Hebrews 12:10-11 (The Message Version)
10 While we were children, our parents did what seemed best to them. But God is doing what is best for us, training us to live God’s holy best. 11 At the time, discipline isn’t much fun. It always feels like it’s going against the grain. Later, of course, it pays off handsomely, for it’s the well-trained who find themselves mature in their relationship with God.
Another FACT about Growth & Maturity is that they both take CHANGE. We all like change, right? Actually, many people don’t like change and resist it. Many of us resist change at all cost, why? Because change means leaving something behind, the familiar. Sometimes it means leaving people or places or things behind.
Change can also mean seeing new things–meeting new people–going new places–change can be very exciting! Change doesn’t necessarily equal growth–but growth always equals change! There can be no growth without change.
So what changes must take place to grow as a Christian? Well, it depends. Maybe you need to change your schedule around so you can consistently spend time reading the Bible and talking with God. Or maybe you need to work some form of service or ministry into your life–helping others. Maybe you need to implement some spiritual disciplines in your life, like worship, maybe solitude, maybe trusting in your finances through tithing, maybe prayer. Maybe it’s something specific that God has impresses upon you.
I don’t know the specific answer for you. But what I do know I know is that if you want to grow you will have to change some things in your life.
Do you see anything wrong with this formula? I do!
I think I’ll stick to God’s formula! It works!