Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Tuesday November 1, 2016

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Let’s get growin’, Amigos!

Have you ever read a book that changed your life, and you knew it? I remember being in Tulsa in 1980. I had just received my books for my first year in Bible school. Less than a year earlier my life was changed by a little book by Billy Graham called “How to be Born Again.” Now I was training for ministry. In my stack of books, I saw a title by Kenneth E. Hagin: “Growing Up Spiritually.” I sat on the bed and read the whole thing, weeping most of the way. It seems a worthless, angry, self-centered mess could grow up and become a reflection of the love of God in Christ. I had a life goal.

Living free in Christ requires me to recognize the need to grow up spiritually. Thank God for the new birth, for salvation by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ! But there is more. The challenge is recognizing my own immaturity, then establishing practices and priorities that help me grow up. So what does maturity look like? Here are 4 quick ways to assess your maturity:

1. Are you touchy and argumentative? Then you need to grow up. Mature Christians have learned to disagree without being disagreeable, to contest an idea without demeaning the one who holds it. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 / James 3:16

2. Are you easily swayed, constantly following the next big trend in the Christian world, or do the opinions of others cause you to doubt your salvation? That usually means you are not well-founded in what you believe: stability comes from knowing what you believe, and why you believe it. Ephesians 4:13-14 / Colossians 2:6-10

3. Do you hear but not do? It is a mark of maturity to apply what we learn from His Word. It is easy to cheer on the preacher and dance with the band, but applying the Word to life requires discipline. Hebrews 5:12-14 / James 1:22-25

4. Does your tongue defeat you? If you had a transcript of what came out of your mouth each day, would it be Christian reading? It is a mirror of your heart and a gauge of maturity. James 3:2 / Matthew 15:17-20

There are more, but these give us a good place to start.

Somebody Said: “You cannot put earthly things above spiritual things and grow spiritually.” “Kenneth E. Hagin

Scripture Reading: Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. (1 Peter 2:1-3 NKJV)

As with any newborn, there is a process of growth that leads to maturity, a movement from carnality to spirituality, inside out. I had to commit to the process and establish some priorities and practices that enhance growth. Priority number one was putting the Word of God above everything else in my life. No Word, no growth. If you located some symptoms of immaturity in the list above, how about we commit together to get in the Word this week and get on the growth track.

Pastor Virgil Stokes

Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson



For more on living free in Christ, join me on YouTube for Principles for a Transformed Life

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