Yes, you have heard me ramble about some tricks in commercials, and how producers control your thinking. But not all commercials are sinister. One by an investment firm begins with individuals, at work, saying, “When I grow up, I want to….” One hopes to repair old houses. Another will work with children.
As a Christian, I have recently discovered three areas where 'growing up' would be useful. See if you need these same three.
I need to grow up, mature, in my RELATIONSHIPS. Jesus spoke with authority in Matt 5:43-48. He reminded the people on the mountain what they had always heard – to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Then, with godly authority, He said, “But I say to you, … Love your enemies.” He added pray for the persecutor.
I need to practice loving those not lovable, and being persistently prayerful for the persecutor. How? The same way Jesus loved me when I was His enemy, a sinner (Rom 5:8 ). He loved sacrificially. He loved firmly, demanding the best from his disciples. He loved, taught, and prayed for those Pharisees and Sadducees, in spite of the unending death schemes.
Tell me this. When should I start growing up in my relationships?
I need to grow up, mature, in my DISCIPLESHIP.
Paul informed the Ephesians (4:11-14) of the responsibility members have to each other. Members should actively mature other Christians. Maturing disciples are found serving other members of the body (church). They continue until the entire group is “no longer infants,” tossed around by everyone’s religious opinions and tricks.
How do I become a mature disciple? Using the same method I used to mature as a teacher. While at Henderson State University learning to be a biology teacher, I was constantly told, “you will not thoroughly learn your subject, until you try to teach it.” They could not have been more truthful! It was after my second attempt to teach a cells that I began to understand cells. Now, the basics make sense to me and are easy to explain.
I will not mature as a disciple until I start serving fellow Christians. It takes me more than one attempt (I never get anything right the first time.) After I have taught other Christians, after I have visited dying Christians, after I have sit with them in the bleak days after a family loss, after I have humbly corrected their life-errors, after I have spent my life for them will my discipleship mature.
Tell me, when should I begin maturing my discipleship?
When I grow up, I will mature my FOCUS.
The Apostle Paul demonstrated his singular focus. It is in Phil 3:12-15. He had ONE goal in mind. To achieve his goal, he put aside his past as a persecutor, and strained (NIV) toward the goal of obtaining the resurrection from the dead.
Have you watched a lion tamer? He takes three things into the cage: a pistol, a whip, and, most importantly, a stool. Holding the stool by the seat, he points the legs toward the lion. The multiple legs distract the lion. The lion cannot decided which one he will attack. Lions are dangerous when focused, but when distracted, they are no threat.
Is the devil entering our cage with a stool? Has he learned distracted Christians are no danger to him? Let’s see. Tomorrow you get up early, fix breakfast while getting dressed. Then there is work. Then pee-wee ball practice. Then supper fixed. Then persuading kids to do their homework, while you do laundry. Get your teenager to stop texting long enough to answer your questions, find out tomorrow’s schedule, and tell everyone it is time for bed. Finally, you have time to get on Facebook and update your status ("I am drained.") and see what others have done. A quick look at your email. And sometime, somehow, you were taken by how Abney was stalked by a man on NCIS.
Christians lose their focus. Our focus should be in changing our family and society. We lose our focus of showing the power of Jesus to friends. What happened? Those all-consuming activities in life.
Again, tell me. When will I set my focus on the author and finisher of my faith (Heb 12:2)?