Sunday, 31 January 2021

Spiritual Maturity

 Scripture:  1 John 2 v 13:  "I write unto you fathers, because you have known Him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because you have known the Father."

The Apostle John is dividing believers into 3 groups viz Little Children ie new converts; Young Men ie Overcomers; Fathers ie those who know Jesus by revelation of God the Father.

Little children in spiritual growth know that have had their sins forgiven and been reconciled with their Heavenly Father. They have no serious spiritual experience or growth as yet. Just the wonder of salvation and the hunger to learn.

Little children need guidance and help to put the world behind them and experience the newness of their changed lives. The time is still ahead for them to start overcoming the wicked one.

John calls those who have matured to become Young Men 'overcomers'. It is a long path of different life events that challenge all who are in Christ Jesus. It is the enemy of our souls, the wicked one, the Devil, who tries to frighten, entice or discourage us to abandon Christianity for the so-called safety of the world.  He tries to convince us to reject Jesus and His salvation for all sorts of pleasurable distractions.

Those who survive this onslaught are starting to overcome the wicked one. There are still many things to learn and battles to be won. Bad habits must go, anger must be controlled, fears and doubts must be defeated. 

Since March 2020 we have been in a tsunami of bewilderment since the pandemic caused by coronavirus suddenly forced the whole world into stringent survival mode.  Isolation, masks, loss of life, complete change of our way of life, has given us a bunch of new challenges to overcome.  We have to adapt or die, or take our chances with an enemy we cannot see without a microscope.

Thankfully we have the Holy Spirit producing fruit within us. Jesus is in our hearts and we must allow His nature to replace our fallen nature which is now crucified with Him.  The Holy Spirit is our Teacher and is also known as the Paraclete - One who comes alongside to help.  He can and will help us overcome our fears of being stalked by a virus.

There comes a day when your heart and mind are completely settled. You have entered into your rest. You have arrived at spiritual maturity with an unconquerable and unswerving faith. It does not mean that there is not much to do in reaching the lost but you now KNOW Him, Jesus Christ, in a way that cannot be reversed.

John calls such people "fathers" because a father has weathered all the storms and can use his experience to guide and build disciples. Fathers have the heart of God towards His children and possess the mind of Christ.

Fathers live a holy, pure and spotless life to be examples to the flock of the Lord. When we speak of Fathers, Young Men and Little Children it applies to both male and female believers.  Fathers no longer conform to this world, they are renewed in their minds to conform to the will of Almighty God.

Jesus died to give us life when we were dead in our sins. We who follow Him should give our utmost for His glory. We must surrender all to our King and be a vessel of honour that He can use to pour out His love, grace and mercy to draw sinners out of the world into His Kingdom.

Hebrews 5 v 12 - 14: "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 
14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

This is a different angle from what John wrote about Little Children, here they are called Babes who are fed milk.  They are still learning the basics of being disciples.

Paul, assumed to be the author of Hebrews, was bemoaning the lack of spiritual growth because by the time they should have been able to teach others they were still needing to be spoon fed.  He wants them to be at the strong meat stage where they are flowing in the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and able to minister to the Babes.

John and Paul, Peter and Luke all started out as Babes but they spent time with Jesus and grew into Apostles able to handle persecution, setbacks, unruly behaviour in meetings, discipline and to receive prophecy and revelations.  Our Father's goal with each of us is to bring us to maturity to feed His lambs and sheep.

Are you ready to do your part? You need to grow in your faith and overcome evil to become spiritually mature in these last days.  We should be walking in divine health, avoiding sin, receiving spiritual knowledge and being guided by the Holy Spirit.  

Mark 16 v 15 - 18: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

These are the signs that shall follow believers.  If we can tick these boxes then we are a blessing to our Father and Jesus and will bring much fruit into the Kingdom of God.

Prayer: Heavenly Father  we stand for Jesus and the Kingdom of God on Earth. We must grow in grace and be ready to help others come to know You. Help us to avoid the pitfalls and overcome evil so we are good examples to those still in darkness. In Jesus' name. Amen.