Summary: Spiritaul maturity is a continual pursuit in our lives.
Dare to Pursue
“Life is a Continual Pursuit”
October 29, 2006
Me: Today we are wrapping up our series of “Dare to Pursue.” We have talked about risks, passion, presence and purpose. Today I want to help you to put it all together into the real life experience of following God.
Spiritual maturity is a continual process.
I always had this vision that when I reached certain goals or markers in my life I would be fulfilled. When I was a kid I thought that I would arrive when I graduated high school. As a teenager I thought I would have arrived when I graduated college and got a job. When I got my first job I thought I would have made it when I really had significant growth in numbers of students attending our ministry. When I was single I thought I would arrive when I got married. When we didn’t have kids we thought we would arrive when we did have kids. I constantly was sitting markers in my life that really didn’t have real life application or meaning.
What does it meant to truly arrive?
The same is true in our spiritual lives. We think that at some point there is going ot be a graduation ceremony and we will everything we are ever meant to know about God figured out. That day arrives, but only when we die!! So what are we left with in the meantime?
We: Perhaps like me you have asked the question, “What does spiritual maturity look like?” Maybe you have wondered about what you are trying to become by pursuing Christ. Today I want to let you know exactly what a “spiritually mature” pursuer of God looks like.
God: To help us understand this concept, we are going to look at a passage of scripture that is probably familiar to many of you. It is a letter from the apostle Paul to the church at Philippi talking to them about what a mature believer really looks like. He begins with a warning to the church.
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those men who do evil, those mutilators of the flesh. For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh-- though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.” Philippians 3:1-6
Focus on the truly spiritual.
Paul is warning here against people who say you have to do certain things to really be a follower of God. The early church was divided into the converted Jews and the converted Gentiles. Most of the people at Philippi were converted Gentiles. The Jews were telling them that they needed to be circumcised and follow the Jewish law to truly be a follower of God.
When Paul talks about the mutilators of the flesh that is what he is talking about. He is talking about people who say you need to do something with your flesh in order to have the life God intended. They were trying to add to what Christ had already finished.
We do the same things. When we try to define what a mature believe is, we make a list of all the things the believer does. But does that really signify a changed heart before God?
Paul points out his own life and says that if it were simply a matter of doing the right things, he would have along ago been considered mature in the faith.
Physical thermometers cannot measure spiritual temperatures.
When you begin to try and measure your spiritual life, make sure you are using the right measuring tool.
My wife and I have had the discussion about living the checklist Christian life. You know what I mean: read your bible, check; pray, check; go to church, check; give in the offering, check; tell someone about your faith, 2 checks!!!
What happens when we live this life is the checklist creates a false measurement. All of those things are good, but do they truly measure your heart? Can you do all of those things and not have it affect how you live your life everyday?
Why is it important to make sure we are using the right measuring tool? To make sure we are getting an accurate reading.