Summary: We are called to live a life of love. How can learn to do this. Here are four habits to develop to grow as a Christian.
Sermon for CATM - January 23, 2005 - “The Life of Love”
Faith, hope and love. What remains, we are told in Holy Scripture, after all is said and done, is
love. And we are encouraged by scripture to live now as though we are completed in this love.
Eph 5:1-2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as
Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Church at the Mission, as many of you know, has a purpose statement. It is a document that was
prayed over and worked over and over in recent years by the church’s leadership team. And part of this statement says that as a church we are called to experience and share the fullness of God’s love in our community by, among other things, developing Christian Maturity.
But what is that? Why do we think that matters? Why do we think that experiencing and sharing God’s love happens through maturity? What can we do to prepare for this reality? How can we live for love? How can we live a life of love? How can we approach our life in a way that we come out mature? My brother says age is a high price to pay for maturity. He’s
funny but right.
So we’re going to look today at the habits we can develop that will lead us to being like Jesus.
Maturity is a growing-up-into what we shall be.
Maturity is the process of developing habits that lead us to a place of being more like Jesus. I want to look at four habits, four ways of looking at our lives as Christians, four things that the Scriptures lead us to develop in our lives in order to become mature.
Habit # 1- Accepting Your Weaknesses
Rom 7:18-19 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing.
There is a big myth commonly believed by non-Christians and sometimes encouraged by Christians. It is that Christians are perfect people, or that they are very good people. Or that we are above temptation, immune to sins. If you are a Christian, you know that this is not true...or you may be living with the feeling that every Christian other than you is very, very good, while you are quite inadequate as a believer.
I’m here to tell you, if you think this way, that a very important thing you need to do is to realize
and accept that you are part of an imperfect spiritual family on a very human journey. We often
think that we are human beings on a spiritual journey. It is more accurate to say that we are
spiritual beings on a human journey. I think Scott Peck said that.
If we try to sustain the myth that Christians are perfect, we will not grow much, because we are
striving for a standard that doesn’t exist in humans. We will feel most often very defeated in our journey - like second-class Christians. And when things go wrong, as they often will in life, we may be left with a shipwreck. Our faith may not be able to survive the crushing blow of pain that will result. So, we best shed the myth of perfection. There is another way, though, that reflects Paul’s discovery in Romans.
Hudson Taylor, was a highly respected fellow who was the founder of the China Inland Mission, a very, very successful missionary movement. Complimented once by a friend on the impact of the mission, Hudson answered, “It seemed to me that God looked over the whole world to find a man who was weak enough to do His work, and when He at last found me, He said, ‘He is weak enough——he’ll do.’
I put this as the first habit because humility is a very, very important quality, and it is an earmark
of maturity. Knowing and accepting your frailties, weaknesses and areas of vulnerability is most
important because by doing this we remain dependant upon God. And we should never lose our need for God. To think that, or to pretend that we need to be perfect, is to waste our energies. The more transparent we are, the more aware we are of our need for God, the more we will grow into what God wants us to be.
Habit # 2 - Accepting Your Blessings
Our Old Testament reading today was of God’s call to Abraham. Abraham was told that all peoples on earth would be blessed through him.