authority and humanity
3) spiritual maturity
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called
me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such
a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too
God will make clear to you.
Consider it pure
joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you
know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance
must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking
Spiritual maturity and God's Word.
It should be obvious
by now that whatever your position before the Lord, you fall short of living
out his desires of you. Everyone, including very mature believers, continue
to sin to varying degrees in spite of their best efforts. After persons
receive Christ, they can still sin because, from the spiritual aspect, the
spirit which God made to come alive inside of them is like a newborn babe.
It has great potential, but it needs to be fed, matured, and exercised.
For now the re-born
spirit resides in the midst of the old body and has to contend with all
its old habits and patterns of thought. Furthermore, the power to overcome
sin does not have its basis in believers' efforts, but in God's strength.
Therefore, believers' lives need to be spent seeking God's strength and
feeding their spirit with his spiritual food.
-- SPIRITUAL FOOD: YOU ARE WHAT
Food for the spiritual
nature is God's Word. This is what believers need to be taking in. However,
believers cannot expect their new, spiritual nature to take command over
their old nature if they keep feeding the old nature with the things it
desires; things like selfishness, materialism, pride, and lust. These only
serve to strengthen and prolong the old nature, and are the antithesis of
the godly attributes which the new nature is warring to reflect.
Realize that sin
will continue to plague believers because the spiritual and natural desires
will be in contention as long as the old body lives. But by continuing
to believe in the power of God to change lives, by maturing in the Word,
and by confessing and turning from sin as the Lord has commanded, believers
will find themselves sinning to a less and less degree. This struggle, no
matter how difficult, will prove to be worth our best effort on the day
we stand in the unveiled presence of God. Only then will we appreciate that
the struggle was worth it because we will see that God is worth it.
NEXT: Biblical authority
and humanity - part four
Conclusion: A story of the S.S.