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Summary: The Shadow Christian, as we will call him, was a cranky guy. He did not smile easily, and when he did, the smile often had a cruel edge to it, coming at someone’s expense.

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Refining Christian Maturity Pastor Allan Kircher

“Snap the chains”

“They cried to the Lord in their troubles, and he rescued them! He led them from the darkness and shadow of death and snapped their chains” (Psalm 107:13-14, TLB).

Are you crying out to the Lord this morning? I cry out everyday for direction and guidance. None of us will ever be able to do it on our own.

The Christian who earnestly recognizes this and goes the heavenly Father is growing.

This is the difference between a maturing Christian and a stagnant Christian.

The Shadow Christian, as we will call him, was a cranky guy. He did not smile easily, and when he did, the smile often had a cruel edge to it, coming at someone’s expense.

He had a knack for discovering islands of bad news in oceans of happiness.

He is the one that sits in the pews on Sunday morning, minding his own business, clocking in the one hour that his soul requires to have peace with God.

The shadow never changed……His native tongue was unwholesome and not uplifting in spirit.

It was just as detrimental to his walk as others when he spewed out complaints, gossip, sarcasm and a dry sense of humor that spoke sincerely of how he really felt.

He was projecting his self-image, the real person he really is.

Occasionally, the shadow’s joylessness produced unintended joy for others.

There are periods of time when the shadow’s primary complaints centered around the music in the church, “there are too many songs,” or “it’s too traditional, or too loud.” Or the preaching is not long enough, or the service is too long.”

The shadow was not changing. Once an idle, complacent young Christian, the shadow grew up to be an idle, complacent old Christian.

The shadow could not say proudly at his deathbed that he has fought the good fight, he has kept the faith, he has finished the race.

His regret consumed him as his life flashed before his eyes and he knew his

Despondent ways were not the ways of his heavenly Father.

Welcome to Refining Christian Maturity…..

Step one: Made a humbling decision that I am completely helpless to do anything good in my life.

I know nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have a desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out (Romans 7:18).

First is the “reality step”…..Realize I’m not God that I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.

The great thing is all of our lives are unmanageable.. Because were human.

“In reality, I realize that I have problems I can’t seem to control.

Am I going to let my past failures prevent me from taking this road to maturity?

Am I afraid to change? Or, what are my fears of the future?

Open your Bible’s to Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

There are two things I would like to point out in this verse.

God has a particular race, a unique plan, for each of us. A plan for good, not a life full of dependencies, impurities and obsessions.

We need to be willing to get rid of all the unnecessary baggage, the past failure, in our lives that keep us stuck, again, it says let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up.

Many of us are stuck in bitterness over what someone has done to us or what we have done to them.

Or stuck in bitterness over something that has happened in the past or even just this morning.

Don’t allow things to live rent free in your head. They stay in there and periodically they come up again and again reminding you that you are not the Christian you should be.

Reading God’s word and following His teachings will allow you to find the courage and strength to move on in maturity.

Isn’t that what we all desire in life. To grow in Christ Jesus. To have the peace of mind that God is in total control in our life.

But as you travel your road through sanctification, God will help you find the willingness to be free of the hold on your life.

We cannot hide from ourselves.

The greatest hold-up to the healing for my hang-up is me.

The greatest hold-up to the healing of your hang-up is you.

It starts by being radically honest and saying “I’m the problem”

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