It’s Time to Grow Up!
Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I d Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (NIV).
Friend To Friend
I have recently begun working out with weights. Since I am a novice in this area of fitness, I asked my son, Jered, to help me get started. A rugged football player as well as a carpenter who is well acquainted with the fundamentals of weight training, he graciously volunteered to be my personal trainer. Little did he know the challenge that lay before him.
When I first started a regular exercise program, I naturally experienced some soreness. I was just not prepared for every muscle in my entire body to scream out in painful protest! Honestly, my initial reaction was to stop. I wanted to do what was easy, comfortable and painless but still attain the toned body of a professional weight lifter. Right!
Jered had no mercy. He was absolutely committed to my physical success and long-term health. He drove me onward, constantly encouraging me to keep working those muscles even through the pain and discomfort. One glorious day, he pointed out that those once painful muscles were no longer sore and much stronger as well. He even suggested it was time to increase the weight I was lifting because that beginning workout had become too easy. I had indeed come a long way, baby! I want to accomplish the same thing in my journey with God!
I want to be spiritually fit and mature. When I was a child, I spoke, I thought and reasoned as a child, but as I grew, my thought life and heart desires naturally matured as well. Our thought processes illustrate themselves in our desires. A mature believer has mature desires. A “baby” believer naturally has childish desires. It is sad and unnatural for a longtime believer to have new believer traits, habits and desires. Proverbs 3:7 warns “You should not be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn your back on evil” (NLT).
When we come to the place where we are willing to give Him everything, a wonderful process begins. He trains our immature desires to line up with His perfect ones. When we begin to seek His will by laying our desires and plans at His feet - yielding to Him - He shapes our will until it becomes His will.
The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a Spiritual Trainer of sorts. He will lead us in the right spiritual exercises of life that will make us stronger and more mature. Many of those exercises involve the submission of our will and the yielding of our desires to God. As we allow the pain and stress of daily living to “stretch” us spiritually, we will grow and mature until one day we will realize that His desires and our desires are the same. Mature desires - Godly desires - desires that are in line with His will are the desires of a believer who is growing in Christ.
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (NIV).
“Delight” literally means to enjoy. We can come to God with an attitude of joy, knowing that He is a Father of love who wants what is best for His child. His plan is absolutely the best one we could possibly imagine or accept. We can delight in His love, trust in His goodness and enjoy a growing love relationship with Him. A heart fully and joyfully submitted to God will produce mature desires.
High in the Alps is a monument raised in honor of a faithful guide who died while ascending a peak to rescue a stranded tourist. Inscribed on that memorial stone are the words, “He died climbing!” A maturing, growing Christian should evoke the same attitude and desire. The apostle Paul tells us that it is time to “put away” childish things. As our children grow older, we train them to pick up their toys, to put away things that are not needed, to obey house rules and to leave behind what is childish, straining toward what is ahead. Right now, you have the same choice to make. To “put away” indicates an understanding of what needs to be left behind but also a willingness and commitment to do so. The question is, are you ready to grow up in Christ?
Lord, I am so tired of being a “baby” Christian. I want to honor and please You with my life, my attitudes and my habits. Please reveal every childish way in me and then help me to do something about it! Please give me a hunger, thirst for Your word, and teach me how to apply it. I really do want to grow up in You!
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Identify and make a list of the childish areas in your life. Surrender this list to God in prayer. Taking one area at a time, ask Him to help you “grow up.” Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I truly understand that God wants me to “grow up” in Him?
- Am I willing to give the Holy Spirit free reign in my life?
- Am I willing to seek Him daily through His Word and through prayer?
- How can my desires become His desires?
- Read Ephesians 4:11-19. As you read this passage of scripture, think about the benefits of maturing and growing in Christ.
More From The Girls
I can be such a spiritual baby. I am battling attitudes and habits today that I battled years ago. Even as I wrote this devotional, God said to me, “Mary, it is time for you to grow up in these areas.” Therefore, I wrote every word you just read to me as well. My prayer is that we grow in Him … together!
You can read Mary’s complete journey from darkness to light in her book, Hope in the Midst of Depression. (Coming Out of the Dark is also available on CD or as an MP3 download.) Mary also has a weekly online bible study, Light for the Journey as well as E-Book Bible Studies on managing fear, dealing with stress, learning how to control anger and how to weather the storms of life. Check it out!
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