Stages: Spiritual Parent: Prayer is my life

By the time a Christian grows spiritually to be a spiritual parent, he (or she) sees prayer as his life. Prayer is not something he has to schedule.  He is constantly talking to God in his quiet time, getting ready for the day, or driving to work. He is praying for work projects and people in his periphery, kids at home in their spiritual growth and school projects and discipleship relationships of other men (or women), who are hungry and hunting in God’s adventure for spiritual victories. Continue reading

Stages: Spiritual Parent: Devotions that embrace God

The spiritual parent knows that devotions are like an iron lung to the person who cannot breathe on his own.  Twice in two verses, John writes, “ I write to you fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning.” (1 John 2:13-14 NKJ) He wrote the same thing, because the capstone of the spiritual parent is his experience and commitment to the Father’s person and will. That is because devotions are more a part of his life than the food he eats. Continue reading

MSG: Strategy for Grace – Stages of Growth – 1 John 2:12-14

Two weeks ago, my wife and I took my mother-in-law to see her sister in Moline, Illinois on our way up to Minneapolis.  While we visited in Moline, I drove them over to the Farm and Fleet store and went with them inside.  I could see that I could easily be distracted looking at all the neat stuff, Continue reading

Danger of the term “Christian maturity”

Danger of the term “Christian maturity”

I’ve asked many people what Christian maturity is and I get a variety of answers.  Some answers describe a person who knows the Bible well. Some add it’s one whose Bible study influences their life.  Some say Christian maturity is obedience to God, i.e. one who goes to church, takes their children to church and no longer carouses.  Some say it is someone who gets along with others. Some say maturity refers to those who don’t do drugs, steal or lie. There is truth in all of those statements. However, there is a message that is hidden by those definitions.  Christian maturity is none of the above.

            Who are some who might satisfy the above definitions?  The Pharisees were not mature and yet they knew the Bible well (distorted as they knew it).  There are some people who are brains on a stick, but they use that knowledge to impress others rather than disciple others.

            There are some who don’t do the wrong things.  That is, they don’t do drugs, steal or lie, but they also don’t disciple other people. They do struggle with worry, doubting God, bitterness toward certain individuals who have hurt them and struggle with not forgiving past offenses.  They consider those acceptable in life, because “everyone deals with those.”  God calls them sins.  Man calls them acceptable.  Acceptable sins are not characteristic of Christian maturity.

There are some who are comfortable in their own setting and don’t care whether other people “get it” or not.  Oh, they wouldn’t say they don’t care, but they don’t take the time to come alongside new believers who grew up having never attended church.  The one who doesn’t do wrong things, do they do the right things? Do they disciple others?

            There are some who say maturity is obedience to God by going to church, taking their children to Sunday School and not carouse.  But a person can do that in his own power for his own purposes.  He takes his children, because he isn’t willing to raise his children to the holiness of God and he expects the church to do it. Obedience is often so vague that it merely means one who doesn’t do obvious sins.  There is little personal sanctification or spiritual transformation.  There is little spiritual accountability. That’s no measure of maturity.

            What is maturity?  It’s often just a nebulous, vague and cloudy term to take a person away from their God given responsibility of the fulfilling the Great Commandment and Great Commission.

Let’s get real.  Christian maturity is one who humbly loves God with all his heart, soul and strength, who is dependent on the Holy Spirit for every thought, word and action, and who submits to the Lordship of Jesus Christ raising up disciples to Jesus Christ.  Christian maturity is not a spiritual infant, who does not know Scripture and is focused on self.  Christian maturity is not a spiritual child, who likes learning Scripture, but is still focused on self and what self wants to do.  Christian maturity is developing in spiritual young adult status, where the person has changed his focus from self to God and others.  He shows this by serving and teaching others.  True maturity is seen in the spiritual parent.

Christian maturity is defined in one way.  It is a spiritual parent who loves God, loves others and is making disciples to Jesus Christ.  If there are no disciples, mentees, or followers, the person is not a spiritual parent and is not yet become spiritually mature.  The person who has not arrived is just as valuable as any other, but he has not arrived to the role of being a spiritual parent like Jesus, Paul and many others.  John calls the mature, spiritual parents “Fathers” in 1 John 2:13.  They know God and are living out the Father’s will.

Are you mature?  Are you discipling others?

Life Bears Witness

This morning, I had the privilege of preparing Logan, Collin and Cody with their dad Brady for the baptism that we’ll have on July 8.  We talked about faith, salvation, baptism and a number of other important subjects to ensure they were ready.  One of the subjects was “what should be true in a believer’s life after salvation.”  After salvation, there should be some kind of transformation, because the unbeliever transforms into a believer, a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).

I illustrated to the boys with a simple example.  I said if the three boys came into my office and took the pictures and objects and threw them against the wall, I asked them if would they be reflecting their dad or someone else.  Collin immediately said, “The devil.” (He’s going to be a pastor some day!)  I said, “That’s right, because your dad would never do something like that.  When you are respectful of other people’s property, you are reflecting your dad, who is in the place of God, and not the devil.”  I went on to say that if a believer did come in and destroyed the office, they would be reflecting what the devil does, because he comes to murder and destroy.  It’s often a reality that believers act like their former father the devil, rather than their heavenly father (cf. 1 John 3:7-8).

Jesus was confronted by Jews who wanted to kill Him for claiming that God was His Father.  Rather than defend Himself, He said, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” (John 10:31)  Obviously, His works reflected the Father and not anyone else.

Whom do you reflect in your works (your life)?  Do you reflect one who is devoted to, pursuing and enjoying the Lord Jesus Christ?  Or do your works (your life) reflect something other than one pursuing the Lord?  Press ahead to Him in His upward calling (Phil. 3:14).