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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Attaining Christian Maturity

Now if I ask you, what conditions must be in place for a suckling or baby to become a full grown man, you won't think twice before you mention certain things like good and regular feeding, right? That's right but obviously not all. Let's use this physical reality to explain the spiritual.

1) Good Diet and proper feeding


1 Peter 2:2"like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation"


You know starvation can ultimately lead to death and improper feeding can cause such diseases as kwashiorkor, obesity etc. A baby Christian is expected to grow, but growth in the spirit is not automatic or instantaneous. Some conditions must be in place to make this development rapid. There is a need to constantly draw strength and nutrient from God who is our sufficiency. Reading the bible, healthy religious discussions, listening to good sermons etc are means by which the spirit man gathers strength. There is an inspiration that settles in the dreg of our soles when we hear the Word of God.


2) Relationship


A child who grows in isolation will definitely end up having certain characteristics of his human nature underdeveloped. It is not Oloyede who says so, this is a scientific fact. Therefore, for a baby to grow healthy and strong, there is a need for relationship hence, he may for example never acquire the ability to use language. So also in Christianity. There are three strands of relationships a healthy Christian should have.

A) Relationship with God


John 17:23
"I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me


This is by far the most relevant relationship any Human being can have. This is a life in constant fellowship with the majesty of heaven. When God says I know my sheep and my sheep knows me, He is talking about relationship. When you take a step towards God, He will take a thousand more towards you. You must seek to know Christ more not just about Him. You must find Him and in the bid to find Him, He will find you instead. When was the last time you bent the kneel in prayer asking with a sincere heart to know Him more?

Though God has promised His overwhelming presence to us, but there is a dimension of God you cannot experience until you are an ardent and passionate seeker of God.

B) Relationship with fellow Christians


1 John 1:5-7
"If we say that we have fellowship
with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."


An isolated Christian is easily frustrated and discouraged. Just like the folktale about a lion growing among sheep. He ends up becoming just like them. You are just the product of the relationship you cherish. If you have friends who are lovers of God, whose growth are constant and progressive, you will be motivated out of mediocrity. If your religious association sees nothing bad in immaturity, you may end up revolving around the cyclic continuum of immaturity. Are your friends mediocres, is the message from the pulpit of your church making you comfortable as an average Christian, are you beginning to theologize immaturity as something acceptable, you may end up not getting out of that circle. Surround yourself with good friends who are friends of God, in whom you can see Christ.

Colossians 3:16
"Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God."


You cannot underestimate the roles these ones will play in giving shape and meaning to your Christian life.


C) Relationship with the World


John 2:15-17 King James Version (KJV)
Love not the world, neither the things
that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.


All Christians who desire to be like Christ must first give a defined relationship with the world. I mean the systems and the institutions of the human realm. Those who have decided to follow Christ may sometimes encounter clear opposition from the world. You must first count the cost and choose who to please always (God or man). If not, you will end up compromising so easily. Just like the other day when I resumed work at around 7:35am and as usual, I was among the first to resume. But as we were registering our names, I wrote the correct time, but a colleague quickly corrected me to change it to 7:25am. I don't understand why but I just told him it is impossible to do so. The world will always encourage you to comprise or give up on some godly standards, you are the one who will know where your allegiance is truly placed. If it is with Christ, then don't expect to always be in good terms with the world.


3) Time


You don't expect a new born baby to be as matured as a 40 year old man in a day right? So also is a new Christian. This growth we are talking about is not automatic or instantaneous. It is a continuous process, progressive and accumulative.


2 Peter 1:5&6"Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness"


In our Christian walk, we sometimes face disappointments, failures etc. We fall into errors, make mistakes, rise and fall, some even fall back into the life of sin totally again. All these struggles are building in us strength for a better and more stable life. The reason why young Christians fall so often into sins is because God wants them to learn to trust Him totally, not in there own abilities. This is usually a very hard lesson and critical stage in our walk with God. We cannot obey the laws of God by mere determination or decision, such will fail woefully and miserably. We must depend solely on God daily. We must tell Him to help us live that life that gives Him glory. When will fail it fall, we should not just sit remorseful in solitary corners disappointed in ourselves, but we must as a matter of lifestyle go to God for help and grace to live a better life. Since growth doesn't happen in just one day, you are expected to grow everyday. In fact, there will never come a time when you will reach the climax of Christian growth. Anybody that stops growing starts dying.

4) Imitate Christ


1 Peter 2:21
"For you have been called for this
purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps."


let Christ be your role model. Let the express image of the pattern Son be your motivation. Seek to live each day like Him. To talk like Him, pray like Him, sing the kind of songs He will sing, go to places He will go.


1 John 2:6
"the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as
He walked."


5) Crucify the Old Man


"We know that our old man was crucified with him so that  the body of sin would no longer dominate us, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin." Romans 6:6


 This is a bit longer and you may want to study more about Self or the Adamic nature or the lawless man in the Bible. There are a number of good Christian literatures as well that discuss this subject in simplified details. This is the natural life in everyone who finds it impossible to please God. They find it hard and difficult to be subjected to God. No matter how good this life may sometimes claim to be, it will not stand the test of time. We all must trust in the finished work of Christ as the ultimate end of this nature and therefore bring our flesh under subjection to God no matter how displeasing. When the eyes lust, and the heart becomes proud we must not forget that our bodies are under new management now. The life of the flesh must not therefore dominate us since we have been given victory at Calvary over the dominion of sin and Satan, so we have the right to say no to the flesh and it will obey. Our body is the temple of God where God resides.


Amen

For your questions or counsel
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Written and Complied by Olatuja Oloyede




© Olatuja Oloyede

June, 2017
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