17th Sep, 2008

Still Complaining?

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

Responses

I like this. Maturity is not about what life throws at you. Instead, maturity is about how you handle and respond to it. I’m glad you decided to take part in the synchroblog and write about what God is showing you now through your circumstances.

-Alan

ouch – that hurts :>)

Liz’s last blog post..What I Wish The Church Knew About Spiritual Maturity

Wow, what a ride you have been on lately. I think your take on maturity is spot on brother!

PS
The link to my post is incorrect. If you don’t mind, could you change it to http://www.morethancake.org/2008/09/intentional-relationships-for-maturity.html

Joe Miller’s last blog post..Synchroblog: Intentional Relationships for Maturity

Alan,

Thanks. Your writing is always excellent and well thought out – even while being extremely prolific! I always appreciate your posts and comments.

Liz, I find I often write for and to myself and, prayerfully, it is God speaking to me, teaching me and shaping me. Perhaps that “helps” bring a bit of conviction. 🙂 If it speaks to anyone else then that is just gravy.

Hi, I think my reply got lost in cyberspace. In short, I agree with Alan.

Joe Miller’s last blog post..Spirit-Led NOT “spiritual”

bryan, yeah, when the rubber meets the road in times of trial, so much is tested. thanks for sharing

kathyescobar’s last blog post..what’s inside the bunny?

Hi Bryan–
By our fruits…and too often, the fruits of my thoughts are complaints and no joy. Thanks for the call to attention…

I especially liked your post from yesterday about Pat. I am praying for Pat, as his life depends on it, and in some odd way, mine does too…

Thanks, Bryan–
Beth P.

Joe, my spam editor picked up your first comment because of the link. I’ve corrected the problem so that it links properly.

Beth, thanks for praying for Pat.

I too struggle with having a thankful heart. Complaints sure seem more easy to think about.

Kathy, thanks for coming by and commenting. I really enjoy reading your blog.

We start with the test – how we respond is the key!

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