Confident, yet humble. Changing, yet stable. Contemplative, yet sure. Instinctual, yet experienced and trained. We can identify these as attributes of a mature person. Prideful, erratic, overbearing, selfishness… these are the “red flags” of the immature. The Bible paints many pictures of the mature and immature in Christ; the godly and ungodly. The Bible also tells us that maturity is a process and a connection. No, there’s not a chapter and verse quote that says those words exactly, but we do have examples of the thought. Colossians 3:7 – “You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” Romans 12:2 – “… be transformed…” Ephesians 4:15 – “… we will grow…” These are only a few snippets of the passages which speak of the change in life as we encounter Christ. I encourage you to read these in their entire context so that you may appreciate the whole picture.
A consistent message of scripture deals with change. We all experience this. Our bodies, our emotions, our understanding of things, our families, how we do things, what things look like… the list goes on. I guess what I want you to land on today is a reassurance that comes in the stability of Christ. Our identity in him, - the one who is unchanging and eternal. Sin has a way of keeping us back. We begin to focus on self and issues rather than the creator and reconciler. Our willingness to be renewed and accept God’s work in our life, understanding we can always grow in Him makes all the difference. If we adopt a view of “I’ve arrived” or “at least my sin isn’t that bad.” We will be stymied in our walk with Christ. Listen to how Dietrich Bonhoeffer addressed this issue.
"If my sin appears to me to be in any way smaller or less reprehensible in comparison with the sins of others, then I am not yet recognizing my sin at all. My sin is of necessity the worst, the most serious, the most objectionable. Christian love will find any number of excuses for the sins of others; only for my sin is there is no excuse whatsoever. That is why my sin is the worst. Those who would serve others in the community must descend all the way down to this depth of humility. How could I possibly serve other persons in unfeigned humility if their sins appear to me to be seriously worse than my own? If I am to have any hope for them, then I must not raise myself above them. Such service would be a sham." - Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Communtiy
The Bible says in 1st John 4:13-19: “13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.”(NIV)
Walk in love. Walk in confidence of knowing that God has completed the work through his son, Jesus. I’ll close with this statement from Kyle Idleman’s book; Not a Fan.
“Fans who follow the rules instead of following Jesus find that they are weighed down with guilt. Every time they come to church they find that the preacher has another weight to add to the bar. The keyword for fear and guilt is “do.” We try and do enough to make up for our mistakes and earn God’s favor. Instead of following Christ we are determined to make our own way. The keyword for grace is “done.” Our punishment was taken by Christ. He has made a way where there was no way so we live with a freedom and an appreciation for what has been done.”
Growing with you, In Him - Preacher Tom