On Maturity and Exploding Sharks

Let me start off with that this blog is not meant to be condemning, but merely something I think is very important, for myself if no one else, and something to think about. You may do with it as you desire.

There are many different images that get associated with the Christian life- a warrior, clad in shiny armor; a fruitful branch, covered in grapes; a victorious army rising up to oppose the darkness; a quiet, peaceful bride awaiting her redeemer, etc. While these are all awesome, here’s my question. Are we really ready?
Are we really walking in a life that prepares us to be these things? Are we these things?

Or do we just think we are?

As American Christians, we have access to a vast amount of learning from those who have studied before us, as well as churches everywhere. We have the freedom to talk about Jesus everywhere, to have deep discussions about Christ in our small groups, to read books from generations of Christians. We have the ability to read the Bible in freedom, and, many of us have multiples of them, while even having a part of a page of one is both a priceless treasure and a death sentence is many countries.
This kind of freedom, this access to knowledge and the writings of the past is unprecedented in history. There has never been a time like this.

So, what are we doing with it?

Are we maturing as Christians, getting up, fighting, learning, clothing ourselves in the armor God provides and becoming a great, fruitful vine? Or are we taking all this stuff for granted and living off of the anointing of the pastor who spoke in church last Sunday, or the book we read two years ago? And, even more, are we relying on that preacher’s sermon or bestselling book or website to feed us, instead of praying, reading the Bible for ourselves, searching for the truth for ourselves, as God leads us?

All those things are great, but, if we are not letting it change our lives, if we are building what we think we believe or know around the latest big name (or no name) person or thing, what happens when something gets messed up and the person or author has an affair or embezzles a bunch of money or murders someone or simply says something we don’t agree with?

That castle we built our faith on crumbles.

We must make sure that our foundation is Jesus and Jesus alone.

And, (the main point I am trying to get to in a very long way {sorry}), we must mature.

American Christians have access to so much in the way of spiritual development, but we are, as a whole, taking these great wonderful things and watering them down because we do not think we can understand them. Like a Korean landscaper I worked with this weekend who talked about how he has a horrible time teaching many American kids how to rake leaves, because they just seem unable to learn how to do it well.

I’ve felt very much these past several weeks, and particularly this one, that God is saying that the time for being immature is over. The time for maturing is growing short! We must grow up quickly! We cannot afford the time to sit on the simplest little doctrine point and argue about it or not understand it. We cannot afford to doubt and question god anymore. How can we be that great army we like to sing about in church if we cannot follow the Leader? And we cannot follow Him if we are questioning Him about why He says this or that or wants us to do this or that. A disorganized army will not stand. We must know His Voice, and our faith must go deep. We must learn humility, to humble ourselves with Him as our Director, our Ruler.

We must couple the knowledge we have with love. We are drowning in knowledge, but do not have enough love. If I know that every person has a unique tongue print and that orcas kill sharks by making them literally explode (both true, by the way…), what’s the point of just this random knowledge? It needs to affect my life. Not sure how either of those could, but those were the first random facts that popped up in Google….

We cultivate love by choice. By choosing to serve others, by choosing to see God in others, by choosing to glorify God with our lives, instead of glorifying ourselves.

Help us to mature quickly, Lord, so that You do not find us unprepared when You return! The world in melting down, falling apart, and only Your kingdom will stand! Help us to go deeper, to not be shallow, and to love You more, even when it’s unpopular, even when it hurts. Help us to value what we have and to seek more of You. Don’t let us sit still while the world around us burns, taking comfort in Your return, but being unaffected by what is going on around us!!! Forgive us for being like Nero, God. Forgive us.
Give us a heart for the hurting, the lost. Compel us to minister to them, to be humbled because You humbled Yourself for us. Let us cleave to You, not the world, and teach us how to bear more fruit for You. Mature us quickly, Lord, so that we can serve You better, for a greater part of our earthly lives. Amen.

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