PATIENCE AND SPIRITUAL MATURITY

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Late one night on my way to work, there was an unusual amount of traffic and I thought to myself there was no way I was going to get to work in time. I decided to take the next exit until I realized I was only going in circles, unsure of where I was going. I typed my work address on my GPS and it took me right back to where I’d started. It turns out traffic wasn’t that bad and after a few minutes the normal flow of traffic on the highway resumed. I felt a little foolish. I was rash when all I had to do was be a little patient. I eventually got to work even earlier than I feared.

God isn’t a God of short cuts. As wonderful as miracles are we can over rely on them and miss the balance that comes with faith in Jesus Christ. Sometimes faith in Him requires we wait on God’s promise rather than try to rush it on our own. Sometimes we take short cuts or take the easy way because we are worried about being left behind. We feel like the odd ones out and because of peer pressure we succumb to what society is saying rather than finding out the truth for ourselves. We get so impatient we try to convince oursleves that we we are helping God hasten the process when his plans are better than ours.
I learned a long time ago that letting God guide me was a chance to reset my priorities. There is only so much I can handle so when I’m impatient I have to humble myself and allow God to direct me the right way.  If you put your own fears and anxiety in the way it only prolongs the process of getting where you need to be. Just like my experience on the highway.
Rachel

SPIRITUAL MATURITY

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It’s a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Hackettstown. Dare I say, spring has finally sprung and it’s about time too. Then summer will be here in a few weeks and I will complain about how hot it is. Human nature! How fickle we are not to appreciate the simple things in life. Anyway, before I go on and on about the intricacies of the seasons, I’d like to talk about spiritual maturity.

Salvation is a very rewarding experience and the moment I made my decision to dedicate my life to Christ, I realized God really had been looking out for me my whole life especially in the moments I rejected him. It’s one of the more ironic things in Christianity because it implies that you can mess up as many times as you want and God will be there to save you anyway. That is simply not true! Yes, God has given us the power of free will but with that comes great responsibility once you realize HIS gift. Scripture says in

Galatians 5:1

“For FREEDOM Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

The explanation is that once you gain this gift of Salvation you have a CHOICE not to go back to the things that held you back. Value your slavation like the most precious thing you own. You could be struggling with something as big as addiction or as common as procrastination. Whatever it is, you have to realize that you are not battling those things alone in your mind, but you have Christ to guide you along the way. What is the point of going back to things that have no long term benefit to your health or life? Like the verse says, STAND FAST and be BRAVE because you are not a slave to those things anymore.

Part of your responsibility is not just to yourself but to others as well. If you are saved, are you living by example for others to see Christ working through you?

Galatians 5:13

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be SERVANTS of one another.”

If the point of salvation was to shut myself up in a room somewhere and sing “Kum ba ya” all day then I’d be missing the point. This thing called life forces us to be around people. Some of whom we might not like but once you see them through the eyes of God, it makes their faults a lot easier to bear. It does not mean you have to be a punching bag but it means you now have the self control to see beyond what people do to you.

Ultimately you are answerable to God. One of the most misquoted scriptures of my generation is “Only God can judge me.” True. But that does not mean he is exactly happy with what you are doing. Some people misunderstand JUDGMENT with CORRECTION. When my mother told me not to stick a metal knife into a socket she was simply warning me. I refused to listen, waited for her to leave the room, did it anyway and got electrocuted. Lessson learned! All that could have been avoided because there was that voice in my head saying , “Mom, stop judging me. It’s my choice to stick the knife in.” Yes, it was my choice but maybe if I listened to her WISDOM and not my own feelings I would have avoided a more serious outcome.

Scripture says in

Galatians 6:7-8

“Do not be deceived; God is NOT MOCKED, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 Sow to the flesh and reap corruption. Sow to the spirit and reap eternal life.”

So are you measuring your righteousness in the eyes of men or God? Promote love, peace, unity. Extend your grace and forgivness to people who may not even deserve it and that’s how to slowly gain spiritual maturity. Let Christ work through you and let your actions speak for themselves.

Steve.

Paintings by Aisosa.