Growing and maturing in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ is an important task that Christians too often overlook. I can’t tell you how many Christians I know who are saved and satisfied with their “get out of hell” card. When we are saved, the indwelling Holy Spirit brings with Him gifts of grace from our Lord meant for the building of God’s kingdom:
“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (Ephesians 4:7)
The Joy Boy preachers preaching from the NTFV (New Touchy-Feely Version) Bible, promising your best life now either do not understand or fail to teach that we are not gifted for self-gratification. Rather, we have been given unique spiritual gifts for the building up of the Body of Christ:
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)
Our example of how to live our lives is provided by Jesus. His life on earth is a pattern for us to follow. All He did was in obedience to and for the glory of His Heavenly Father. Through His grace, Jesus has given us access to His gifts so we can edify His bride. All our actions, even those of church discipline, are to be done in love and to bring Christian maturity. Look again at Ephesians 4:15:
“… but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ…”
So if I am using my spiritual gifts for my own edification and gratification, I’m completely missing the point of them and definitely not maturing as a Christian. Oswald Chambers puts it this way:
“Am I building up the Body of Christ, or am I looking for my own personal development only? The essential thing is my personal relationship to Jesus Christ – ‘That I may know Him.’ To fulfill God’s design means entire abandonment to Him. Whenever I want things for myself, the relationship is distorted” (emphasis mine).
Is your relationship with Jesus Christ distorted? Have you fallen from grace? The devil will encourage you to give up, tell you that you will never attain to the level Jesus expects of you. Satan will try to convince you that you are not equipped for such a lofty goal. Understand that while the evil one knows he’s lost you for eternity, he will do everything in his power to have you arrive in heaven crippled.
If that is you, do not give up! Keep on keeping on. Paul described it as pressing toward the goal:
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.” (Philippians 3:12-16)
Beloved, the greater our maturity in Christ, the greater our appetite becomes for the deeper truths of the Gospel.
More on that next time…
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Copyright © 2013 David Jeffers