The Only Way For Mature Growth
One you know the convincing proof of new identity in Christ – convinced that you are a child of God, you must grow in maturity toward the fullness of this identity.
II Peter 3:18 tell us “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”
This growth is spiritual in nature and can only be done daily. It involves the same choices that all Christians must make. You either choose spiritual death or spiritual life in your daily walk decisions.
Death is the way of Satan and your flesh; life is the way of Christ and His Holy Spirit. The way of Christ is Calvary, the narrow road. Few go this way because of the deep pains along the way.
Jesus wants to (1) reveal, (2) remove, and (3) heal these pains and hurts. His way of Calvary is so healing, loving, and gentle even though at times it may be very painful. The pain will only be temporary as you consistently keep your heart open to His love.
However, you must go through His Calvary cross daily so you can die daily to your flesh. Calvary is where your flesh is put to death. Otherwise, your daily resurrection experiences of the love of Jesus within you will often be just beyond your grasp.
Is not Calvary a symbol of death? Of course it is. Fortunately, it is the necessary death of our flesh, not our spirit. This is what Jesus refers to in Matthew 10:38-39 “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.”
It is only our daily opportunities to crucify our flesh so the life and love of God can be rooted in us more deeply. He desensitizes us to our flesh desires more and more. (Just remember not to carry your cross alone. Jesus is with you and in you carrying it. Let Him carry your burdens. Just rest in His love.)
This is how you grow daily in maturity and character. You have the frequent opportunities to die daily to your already dead flesh. Therefore, the life and love of Jesus in you will grow and flourish. His love will flow from you naturally.
This is the love the fearful, hurting world so desperately needs to hear and experience. God wants to share this love to the world through you. But, first, you must grow in His love – to grow in maturity and character. As you die more to your flesh, God trusts you more to share His love to the world.
Think About It: For you to share the love of God to the world, God must first trust you to handle it properly, to not abuse it.
This is why you are given opportunities daily to die to your flesh desires. After you die to them, you easily become increasingly more dependent on Christ in more areas of your life. Therefore, God can trust you more to share His love to hurting and needing people. Only His love will motivate you to.
As I look back 25-30 years ago when I was a young Christian, I persistently prayed for an increase of spiritual gifts. I sure wanted them to help the body of Christ. My desire and prayers were very sincere. However, I was immature (not in a selfish way); I was not ripe to be used (to fly) in this area. (One can be very sincere, but sincerely wrong.) I did not know it then, but what I really needed was a deeper, intimate walk with Jesus. After all, I was “masking” my severe depression during this time.
Because I was covering up my depression (and all my flesh), God could not trust me to share His love to a hurting world. Why would He? I needed His love for myself first, to heal my own heart and hurts. Otherwise, I definitely would have abused His love.
Basically, my prayer for spiritual gifts was very ego-driven. My flesh would have been so puffed up; I would have bragged and shown off my spiritual gifts. I would always be looking out the corner of my eye to see who noticed “how spiritual I was.”
What an abuse of the love and grace of God! It is now so easy to understand why God never gave me more spiritual gifts. He surely answered my prayer, but in His way. I definitely needed a deeper, intimate love relationship with Him. I am so grateful. He quickly reminded me often of Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
It posibly may be the same for you. How many of your prayers and motives are driven by your flesh? How often do you peer out the corner of your eyes to see who notices “how very spiritual you are”? Only you can answer that.
Be very honest with yourself. Do you not desire the love of Jesus to root deeper into your heart and life? Spend intimate, silent time with Jesus often, especially in His Word. Keep your heart open to His love. The Holy Spirit will reveal your true motives. Do not run away when He reveals more of your flesh desires. Acknowledge them and face them. It is only Jesus permitting you opportunities to die to them.
God is looking for which of His children He can trust more to share His very intimate love with to a hurting world. Do you agree? Do you think you can easily abuse His love and grace? Do you believe you need a deepening awareness of your intimate love with Jesus? You do this as you die daily to your flesh desires for power and popularity in the Christian world, especially the world of spiritual gifts. Only the Lord will show your own specific answers.
Then, I assure you – He will elevate Himself in you and through you because He can trust you more to share His love and grace to people. People will most definitely see the love of God flowing from you very clearly and very easily. You will be ready to fly only as God intends you to fly.