Last week we in looked at spiritual immaturity which was the 2nd in this series of posts that go together. This week let's see ways we can grow up in our faith. As I noted last week, the goal of a Christian is to mature or to pursue maturity instead of going back to the initial basic elementary rules of Christianity. The next few weeks we will begin to look at each of the following and see how each component will help us grow up:
1. Cooperate with the Holy Spirit
3. Believe / Faith
4. Steady Diet of the Word
5. Focus, Immerse and Obey the Word
6. Learning to Dress Ourselves
7. UNITY - Become God and Others – centered
So on the contrary, let's consider things that may be hindrances to us growing in Christ:
· There may be STUFF we have held onto in our past.
· There may be unconfessed Sin / ours or unforgiven sin of others
· Trauma, tragedy, abuse, victimization
We need to deal with these things before the Lord so that we can move on and grow up. We need to begin to reflect the character of God in our actions and responses. I do not believe that any of us want to discredit the gospel of hope that is in Christ.
Regarding hurts done to us that we have not forgiven, I have heard it said many times that holding on to offenses toward others is like taking poison to punish the other person, but we are the only ones that gets hurt. Hanging on to offenses and refusing to forgive over time develops into bitterness – bitterness is the poison. Remember there are counselors, pastors, crisis centers and even other fellow believers who can walk with us and help us through the stuff that is holding us back.
However, once we have dealt with our past, let’s do as Paul said, “Forgetting the past and pressing on toward what lies ahead.” Let’s free up some space in our head and heart so we can begin to GROW up in the faith.
If we do not deal with our past, we will be stuck there, and many others will be hurt by us. Why, because hurt people will hurt people. This is part of what discredits the good news of the gospel and the church. Many of us have been hurt by a “well intended” Christian. How many of us have hurt another person because of your past injuries that haven’t been healed? There are many people hurt by the church and by fellow believers. (I have heard it said that a church is like a hospital for believers.) But let’s not stay sick. Let’s allow God to heal us by His Spirit. If we are to be effective ambassadors for Christ, we need to be healed.
But if we are to be Christ’s ambassadors, we need to prepare. We need to train, and we need to focus. It is time to GROW UP IN OUR FAITH!