God expects us as Christians to take risks while doing His work. I would suggest the same is true at the level of the local congregation. I’m talking about the risk of failure. How ambitious are we in the plans we have to do work for God? Do we trust that things will be okay even if we try hard and mess up? This, I think, is a part of faith that requires maturity — the faith that God will stick with us even if we don’t succeed by our standards.
CUTTING THE APRON STRINGS
Moses E. Lard, the great gospel preacher and proponent of the restoration of apostolic Christianity, was born in abject poverty in Bedford County, Tennessee on October 29, 1818. When he was fourteen years old his parents moved to Missouri. At the age of seventeen, Lard could neither read nor write, but later learned to do so. Because of the family’s poverty, he and his brother were forced to leave home at a tender age to make their own way in the world. As Moses and his brother were leaving, their distressed mother said to them, “My dear boys, I have nothing to give you but my blessing and these two little books.” She then drew from her bosom two small New Testaments, and with tears streaming down her cheeks and her lips quivering, she placed the Testaments in the boys’ hands and watched them walk away. The family was never reunited again. At an extremely young age, Moses E. Lard had to cut the apron strings. Continue reading
How many times have you heard it? “I’m not perfect.” Never use your imperfection as a badge of honor! Continue reading
I guess we’re assuming a fresh start, but still knowing what we know now and the maturity we’ve developed along the way still intact. If that’s the case here’s the biggest thing I would do.
I would keep a tighter rein on my tongue. There’s a number of specific places in my past that are embarrassing as I think on them now.
I’m grateful to those in my life who have demonstrated control over this little troublemaker. I’m glad they set an example, not only in deed, but in word as well.
I am reading a book called “Living On the Edge,” on applying what is found in Romans 12 to our daily walk for the Lord. Here is one of the outlines in the book. (Note: I don’t agree completely with everything the author says in his book; but I do feel that with discernment, we can profit from it.
- Its focus in on your relationships:
- Your relationship with God ( Rom. 12:1)
- Your relationship to this world’s values (Rom. 12:2)
- Your relationship with yourself (Rom. 12:3-8)
- Your relationship with believers (Rom. 12:9-13)
- Your Relationship with unbelievers. Rom. 12:14-21
- It is about grace, Romans 12 follows eleven chapters that give us the clearest and most detailed account of Christ’s work on Christ’s work on our behalf.
- It’s practical and measurable. Romans 12 is filled with specific commands (to be fulfilled through the Spirit’s power) that set the bar for maturity in each of those five relationships.
God’s mission for our life is clear. He intends for all of us to live sanctified lives (Romans 12:1-2) that glorify Christ (Ephesians 3:20-21). How we do that is determined by our abilities and opportunities. I use my writing and preaching abilities to reach the lost the lost and help Christians to mature spiritually.
In high school I received from the principal a motivational book that used Jesus’ life as a model. (Those were different times in 1974.) It encouraged us to be well-developed people in every area of life. Luke 2:52 was a key verse: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and with people” (NET).
From that verse, the author (whose name I can’t recall, nor the title of the book — it’s in my parents’ attic) drew four areas of life and put each of them in the side of a square: mental, physical, spiritual, social.
I’ve always remembered that.
Somebody might argue that the emotional side is missing. But the wisdom/mental could take that in, for emotions are the product of one’s thinking. Or even work with it from the social side, since emotions are usually the expression of interaction with others.
However that may be, the idea is to be a complete person. The joke about the geek is that he knows lots of code, but little of people.
For a Christian, having Jesus as our model provides us with a clear objective and, following Luke 2:52, presents us with the challenge of being whole people in a terribly broken world. It is that wholeness, that completeness, that gives us strength and allows us to be servants of good in a realm of evil.
So to answer yesterday’s Nudge, I’m a square. And I pray to have equidistant sides with exact angles, to represent the perfect squareness of wholeness and maturity in Christ.
Just a quick thought, as I’m outlining an Introduction to the Letter of James, “Spiritual maturity translates Christians into victors instead of victims!”
My personal Bible verse for 2010 is Proverbs 12:1. Here Solomon, through inspired wisdom states, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Mistaking instruction for unfair criticism or nit-picking will result in a lack of growth in knowledge and maturing as a Christian. Perhaps the biggest culprit of this phenomena is our pride. We are warned time and time again about pride and told to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord.
I am posting this verse in a highly visible place to remind myself to be humble and take correction.