Monday, April 23, 2007

Bible Promises: Spiritual Maturity

(From the Bible Promises series found here)

Every once in a while I run across something online that I wrote maybe 5 or 10 years ago. The first web page I created in 1997 is still online (carlarolfe.com) and some of my older writings are there. I’ve updated many of them, removed many of them, and changed things around a bit, but some of my earliest Christian thoughts are there for the whole world to see. There’s even an online archive of a discussion forum I was on back in 1993, before I was saved – and no I will not be pointing anyone to that link.

Whenever I come across something I’ve written long ago, I cringe. I don’t make it a secret that I used to be a charismatic, and when I read my old writings sometimes I secretly wish I could sneak in and edit them when no one’s looking so that no one knows how much of a doctrinal dummy I was, years ago. (Which is not to imply all charismatics are dummies, it simply means that I was one, once, and I was also a doctrinal dummy). Whenever I have re-written something that I first wrote many years ago, I make it clear that I’ve updated it and edited it, so that no one thinks I’m trying to be Mrs. Sneaky Pants – making it appear as if I did it right the first time around.

I suppose not everything I’ve ever written was filled with error, but those earlier Christian articles stand as a testimony to God’s grace in my life to continue to “grow me up” in Him. As unpleasant as it can be to see where I was 5 or 10 years ago, it’s also a good thing because I see how far I’ve come. Oddly enough the more I see that, the more I see how far I still have to go. Amazing how that works out.

When we “get saved” or when we become converted to Christ, for most of us it’s a literal matter of being in kindergarten. We just don’t know much of anything outside of the gospel that we heard that transformed our lives. We ask a lot of questions (either openly or privately with someone) and we often make some very ignorant statements. It’s just the way it is.

Recently my husband and I were having a conversation about a Christian singer’s music. I made the comment that in the more recent material, the tone of the songs and the emotion in the voice is seasoned with life, and all that comes with that. Going through painful trials down in the valley and and then being restored with unspeakable joy up on the mountain, and having that Christian maturity that ongoing sanctification brings with it, makes a big difference in the way you sound – no matter if you’re speaking, singing, or writing. The more growth & maturity, the more obvious it is that the person ‘has been there’ and knows what they’re talking about.

Here are just a few of the Bible promises, that tell us He will be faithful to ‘grow us up’ in Him:

• That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ. (Ephesians 4:14-15)

• And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:3)

• But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (Proverbs 4:18)

• I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:3-6)

• But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2Peter 3:18)