Summary: The final message in this series deals with the End Game of our walk. What is the goal, duration, process, and task of this lifetime walk? From John 2:5-6.
The End Game (Our Spiritual Walk #8)
This is the last sermon in a series about Our Spiritual Walk. We’ve talked about where we walk – the broad way that leads to destruction or the narrow way that leads to life. We’ve talked about our preparation for the walk – putting off all that slows us down, and putting on the armor of Christ. We’ve talked about 6 of the Biblical directive on how we should walk – Walk in Light, Truth, Love, our Calling, the Spirit, and as a New Creation. Today we’re going to end the series by talking about the End Game of Our Spiritual Walk.
1. THE GOAL:
What is the Goal … or Destination of our Walk? We know that we walk toward Heaven … an eternity with God. But there is also a Goal or Destination we can attain while we are walking our earthly walk.
1 John 2:5-6, “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
Let’s compare this with a similar passage in Philippians 3:14-17. “… Let us, as many as are mature, have this mind;…To the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind. Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern.”
Two words are used here and they both point to the same principle. Philippians 3 says, “Let us, as many as are mature, have this mind…” Then 1 John 2 tells us, “Whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him…” When we see words like mature and perfected in the New Testament, chances are we are looking at a translation of the Greek word “telios” which can be translated into either perfect or mature.
Telios is the same word that was used in both Matthew and Mark to describe fishermen mending their nets (Matthew 4:21, Mark 1:19). What were these fellows doing with their nets? They were mending holes and strengthening weak places in the nets so that they would be “telios” or perfect, flawless, complete, without defect.
Telios is the goal or destination of our spiritual walk. Like the mended nets, we need to be mended along our walk. We keep walking in order that Christ can MEND us and make us mature, perfect, complete … and then, like mended nets, we will be fully useful. We will be effective in our service to God because he has made us mature. The goal of our spiritual walk is to become “telios” … mature and thoroughly equipped unto every good work.
This is my favorite definition of telios … to be fully equipped for every good work. Just like the mended nets of James, John, and Zebedee were ready to catch fish, the maturing Christian is a useful tool in the Master’s tool box. Most of us will never claim to be perfect … and if we did, no one would believe us. But we can appreciate the goal of becoming more and more mature and useful.
While we are walking toward the goal of maturity in Christ, we don’t ever need to feel we are unable to serve God. God is more than willing to use anyone and everyone who is willing to walk with Him and allow Christ to mend them and shape them into His image. (2 Timothy 2:21).
2. THE DURATION
Now, we know that “telios” is the destination of our walk, what’s the first question that comes to mind? If you’re like me, it’s “are there any shortcuts to getting there?” There are things that can slow our progress and things that can speed our progress, but there are no shortcuts. We can’t cut across and skip the path God has put before us.
I’ve heard Evangelist, Joyce Meyer tell her audience, “There are no drive-through breakthroughs.” The point is that when we seek shortcuts to maturity we set ourselves up for ironic and frustrating delays to the very process we are impatient to complete. Eugene Peterson in his book, Practice Resurrection (p. 133), wrote, “Maturity can’t be hurried, programmed or tinkered with. There are no steroids available for growing up in Christ more quickly. Impatient shortcuts lead to dead ends of immaturity.”
Knowing that I am wired like the rest of you, I realize that taking the slow path to maturity can sound boring. Our over-stimulated minds look at the long haul to maturity the same way we tend to gripe at our microwave ovens for taking so long to cook our food. Isn’t there a two day miracle makeover out there somewhere? Can’t we just sign up for some week-end Instant Maturity conference and get it over with? Sorry, partner, but short order growth is a pipe dream.