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Maturity

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Loyal
It's interesting that these verses are in 1 Cor 13. The "love chapter" of the Bible.

1 Cor 13:11; When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

It's almost as if learning how to really love in a mature way, is one of the things that makes us a "mature" Christian.
There are great many "Christians" who talk about love. But when listen to them, they talk about it the way a child
would talk about it.

Almost 100 times in the new testament alone, some Christians are referred to as "children". Sometimes
as "infants". Now usually this isn't talking about physical age, but rather spiritual maturity.

1 Cor 3:1; And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ.
1 Cor 3:2; I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,
1 Cor 3:3; for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?

There are some who are not yet spiritual "men" (or women). There are some who are still infants in their faith,
and in their walk with the Lord.

Hebews 5:12; For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Hebrews 5:13; For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Hebrews 5:14; But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Another thing that determines spiritual maturity.. is the ability to "discern good and evil".
There are a number of churches promoting homosexuality. Claiming to be "experts" in love and knowing God.
But yet, they have not yet learned to discern good and evil. They need to learn the "elementary teachings" of God
so they can learn to discern the difference. I am using homosexuality in that example, but there are plenty of
other examples.

1 Pet 2:1; Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
1 Pet 2:2; like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
1 Pet 2:3; if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

Peter says here... that new Christians should "long for" (some Bibles say "yearn for" or "desire") the milk of the word
(the teachings of the Bible) so that they can mature (grow in respect to salvation).

... to be continued ...
 
Loyal
There's an old saying. It isn't word for word in the Bible per se...

"God meets us where we are.

But the second part of that saying says....

"But He loves us too much to leave us there."

Just like our earthly fathers, God expects us to become [spiritually] mature.

1st John chapter 2 is a great example of this.
As you read through this, count the number of times you see the phrase "little children".
Also count the number of times it says "young men".
Finally, notice the number of times it says "fathers".

This entire chapter is really about Christian (spiritual) maturity. It's not addressing people who
are different physical ages, but rather at different levels of spiritual maturity.

In verse 13, we see that one of the things that separates a "young man" from a child is that...
"you have overcome the evil one". At some point in your walk you had to deal with Satan.
You made a choice not to give in to him. You resisted him and he fled from you. ( James 4:7; )

In verse 14 it says that the young men "are strong" and "the word of God abides in you",
and again it mentions "you have overcome the evil one".

If the word of God doesn't abide in you. If you don't really know it. If you haven't really
studied it,, then you are still an infant. You should be "longing for" the milk of the word.
If you haven't been tested yet, and you haven't resisted sin yet ( Heb 12:4; ) then you aren't
yet growing in spiritual maturity. At some point... we have to pass the test. ( 2 Cor 13:5-6; )

In verse 13 it says "fathers" have known God from the beginning. The beginning of what?
The beginning of their spiritual journey. The beginning of their passing into maturity.
These are aren't men (or women) who have just passed a test or two... but they have passed
many many tests along the way. They've been with God for a while.

13 times in this chapter it mentions "children".

Where are you in this walk? Have you been tested? Did you "overcome the evil one".

... to be continued ...
 
Loyal
Over 50 times in the new testament... we are called "sons of God" or "sons of the Father",
sometimes we are called "sons of the kingdom", and even "sons of the Most High" as
well as "sons of light".

And so it is. All true believers are sons (and daughters) of God. We all came to Him
as little children. The first hour we became a Christian we hadn't been tested yet.
There's a good chance we didn't really know the Word yet. We may have known it with
our minds, but we didn't know it with our hearts.

Another thing that causes spiritual maturity is discipline. This is almost a dirty word
anymore. Especially in some churches. I've even heard some preachers say things like
"God doesn't discipline us... He loves us too much for that".

... and yet the Bible says the complete opposite...

Heb 12:4; You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
Heb 12:5; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
; “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;

Heb 12:6; For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
Heb 12:7; It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Heb 12:8; But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Heb 12:9; Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
Heb 12:10; For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
Heb 12:11; All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Not all Christians have been through the times of discipline of the Father.
Some are simply too new in their walk to have received it yet. Others are just now
starting to be tested and disciplined.... and some....

...refused to accept it at all. They just say it isn't for them. There are even some "Christians"
that refuse to accept that a loving God would discipline anyone. Especially His own children.
But it says that if you haven't been disciplined... then aren't really a son of God, but rather an
illegitimate child.

God doesn't share His glory with others... but He does share His holiness with those
who have learned to accept discipline along the way.

... to be continued ...
 
Loyal
In Luke 8:14; we see a part of the parable of the sower. It talks about the seeds that fell among the
thorns. It says these seeds were choked with "riches" and "pleasures of this life" so that they brought
forth no fruit to "maturity".

Sometimes there are things in this life that hold us back. They keep us from growing into
maturity.

In 1 Cor 14:20; Paul exhorts the Corinthian church... "brothers, do not be children in your thinking;
yet in evil be infants; but in your thinking be mature.

There has been a lot of debate about what is means to be "infants in evil". But I think the point here
is to not be children in our ways of thinking, but rather to be mature.

Eph 4:11; And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,
Eph 4:12; for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
Eph 4:13; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
Eph 4:14; As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;
Eph 4:15; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,
Eph 4:16; from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Here Paul is telling the church at Ephesus...
We should be building up one another... until we attain the unity of the faith and the knowledge of Jesus..
to the point we become a mature man. Mature to the stature of Christ.
We should no longer be children tossed around by every deceitful doctrine that comes along.
...and trust me here... there are many of those deceitful doctrines around, some are even here on TJ.

But how would you know this... unless you are a mature Christian, well versed in the word.
Past just the milk of the word, and able to take the meat of the word.

We are told to "grow up" in all aspects of Him (Jesus Christ).

Heb 6:1; Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God

... to be continued ...
 
Loyal
As many of you like to remind me. I rarely post anything without scripture to go along with it.

But this post here is more from personal experience than from the Bible.
I graduated from high around 30 years ago. I have a number of grand-children.
But I went to high-school reunion not long ago.

I noticed many of my friends had become "grown up" somewhere along the way.
Some have been married for a few decades now. Some have become vocationally
professional. Some have children that I have met and they are very well behaved.

... but there are a few others....

They still dress like they did in high-school. They still talk like they did in high-school
(generally vulgar). They still act like they did in high-school. Their priorities haven't changed
much since high-school. Things like getting drunk and smoking drugs are still high priorities
and favorite topics among some of them.

Now since I suspect most of them aren't saved Christians... (only God knows for sure)...
I don't say much about this to them. I'm not even sure anyone else notices this but myself.

I've noticed many people my age (and some even older) refuse to grow up. They are 60 or 70
years old and still still rebellious hippies. Some even wear their hair long, or have piercings,
or wear marijuana promoting clothing, or wear their ball caps of backwards, or wear their
blue jeans a little saggy and low.

Now none of these of these things may be especially wrong or even a sin... but they are signs of
immaturity. Another thing I have noticed about these people that don't want to grow up is
that many of them have a hard time dealing with responsibility.

But this is the thing I have noticed the most.... many of them had some trauma in their lives.
Maybe a death of someone they loved. Maybe a relationship break-down with someone they loved.
Maybe a divorce or separation. Maybe a large financial loss. It isn't always the same thing for
everyone... but it is always something very traumatic in their lives.

It seems that at whatever age this traumatic thing happened at... they just stopped growing
at that age. They maybe 50 or 60 or 70 years old. But they socially, intellectually, emotionally,
and maybe even financially responsible as a teenager.

I have even seen some Christians this way.
This traumatic event in their lives has become what has defined them. They say they will never forgive
someone in their past because of what they did to them. They will never get over mourning for
someone who died in their past. You can often recognize this because it is a favorite topic that
they like to bring up about how they were victimized, or mistreated, or taken advantage of.
These are hurting people. I think much of the un-saved world is in this state, perhaps to a lesser degree.

But I think those Christians... who have really have their thinking changed by God. Those who have had
their minds renewed by the Holy Spirit.... many of them have 'overcome' even this.
It wasn't necessarily the ability to resist sin (alone).. but the ability to overcome the baggage of our
past, that makes us a more mature person. I think this power only comes from God.

... to be continued ...
 
Loyal
"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30

Others may see other meanings to the verse I quoted above and perhaps rightly so, but to me the meaning that comes so clear is what our brother, @B-A-C is speaking about in this thread. Some people want to hold fast to what they have found to be fun in the past or even the present. Others have wanted and want to grow.

The fact is that everyone of us in our flesh is dying, slowly or fast, but nonetheless dying. John the Baptist in the verse I quoted referred to that death of the flesh in the second part: "I must decrease". Really in the things of this carnal nature, "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" we need to die more quickly than the flesh itself is dying.

In the first part of that verse, "He must increase", we need to see the "new man" planted in us, the "born again" man who now has the opportunity to live without dying. This also begins more quickly than the flesh itself dying... or it should:

"And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" John 11:26
 

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