I’ve been offline more than I’ve been online in the past 4 or 5 months, but I am attempting to get up a brief post to participate in an excellent synchroblog with a number of other Christian bloggers all over the world. The topic for the month of September is “maturity.”
I’ve been evacuated twice in the last few days due to Hurricane Ike; thus, I have had no time to reflect on this subject – or so I thought – but then I realized that God had been speaking to me about maturity throughout the trial of the hurricane. There really is much to write on this subject and God says many things about it in the Scripture, but I’m just going to focus on one small part.
James 1:2-4 blesses us with a teaching on what true maturity is. We become mature as we persevere in faith through the difficult times of life. We can know we are maturing the more we are thankful and joyful in every circumstance. This doesn’t mean that we laugh off hard times or are blindly optimistic – quite the opposite. We see maturity in the person who fully understands the depth of their situation and still counts it joy because they see how God is working through the trial. We see maturity when a person faces hardship full in the face and still says “Thank You, God,” because they know God personally and intimately and know that God is always good, always kind, always loving, always holy, always just, and always merciful. We see immaturity when our reaction to trials is complaining and murmuring.
Part of the reason I know God was preparing me for this brief post on maturity is that these concepts were floating around in my two previous posts, written in two different locations while in the midst of our evacuation travel. Please read about the “Bitter Fruit of Judgment and the Blessed Juice of Faith” and how our “Hurricane Hassles Seem Small After International Travel.”
So, how do we know someone is maturing in Christ? We can tell by what flows from their mouth. Out of the mouth flow the issues of the heart. If someone still spends more time complaining about their circumstances than being thankful, edifying and joy-filled in their speech, then there’s good evidence that an infantile faith remains. It demonstrates that we have forgotten (or fail to believe fully) that God is loving us, blessing us, and taking care of us.
I unfortunately hear my own words filled with put downs, complaints, and negative comments all too often. Praise God for His grace and that He is still working on me. Praise God for the encouragement found in places like Philippians 1:6.
Here are the links to all the many others who also have been thinking about and living this subject:
Lainie Petersen at Headspace with “Watching Daddy Die”
Kathy Escobar at The Carnival in My Head with “what’s inside the bunny?”
John Smulo at JohnSmulo.com
Erin Word at Decompressing Faith with “Long-Wearing Nail Polish and Other Stories”
Beth Patterson at The Virtual Teahouse with “the future is ours to see: crumbling like a mountain”
Bryan Riley at Charis Shalom
Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church with “Maturity and Education”
KW Leslie at The Evening of Kent writing about “Putting Spiritual Infants in Charge”
Bethany Stedman at Coffee Klatch with “Moving Towards True Being: The Long Process of Maturity”
Adam Gonnerman at Igneous Quill with “Old Enough to Follow Christ?”
Joe Miller at More Than Cake with “Intentional Relationships for Maturity”
Jonathan Brink at JonathanBrink.com with “I Won’t Sin”
Susan Barnes at A Booklook with “Growing Up”
Tracy Simmons at The Best Parts with “Knowing Him Who is From the Beginning”
Joseph Speranzella at A Tic in the Mind’s Eye with “Spiritual Maturity And The Examination of Conscience”
Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes
Liz Dyer at Grace Rules with “What I Wish The Church Knew About Spiritual Maturity”
Cobus van Wyngaard at My Contemplations with “post-enlightenment Christians in an unenlightened South Africa”
Steve Hayes at Khanya with “Adult Content”
Ryan Peter at Ryan Peter Blogs and Stuff with “The Foundation For Ministry and Leading”
Kai Schraml at Mature Virtue