Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Spiritual Puberty

I have a teenager at home. Wow…I can’t believe I just said that… but at 14 years old, Grant is just that, a teen. And even though he is the sweetest, SWEETEST guy ever…he has his moments on which he act his age. What can I say? He can’t help it…and I must remember that. Eventually, this too shall pass.

The thing is that he is not the only one in my house who acts like a teen. Actually, more often than Grant, I am the one behaving like I’m going through puberty.

Of course I’m not talking about physical puberty, but spiritual. I show my lack of maturity on the subject of the Spirit when I lose it and give free rein to my emotions, mostly anger, fear and worry.

Unlike physical maturity, which just happens without much we can do either to hurry it along or stop it all together, spiritual maturity doesn’t come automatically. Its growth depends directly on the effort we put into cultivating it. Its development depends on how intentional we are about nurturing it.

For instance, if we go adrift, semi-unconsciously riding the cultural current of today’s world, our spiritual maturity would be thwarted. The pattern of this world is not the most conducive to the growth of the soul; hence, the need NOT to conform to it. (Romans 12: 2) On the contrary, we are called to “put off our old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of our minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4: 22-24) This way we would be able to stop living on the “futility of the thinking” of our former ways.

Who do we achieve such state?

Paul gives us an outline to strive to in Ephesians chapter 4. The following list is a compilation of the principles that he instructs us to follow:

1. Remember that The Lord is Sovereign and we belong to Him. (v.1) Remember that there is: one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (v. 6)

2. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (v.2)

3. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (v.3) Remember we are one: There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism. (v. 4-5)

4. Put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor. (v. 25)

5. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (v. 26-27)

6. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. (v. 28)

7. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (v. 29)

8. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
(v. 30)

9. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 
(v. 31)

10. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (v. 32)

Of course this is not to be taken as a legalistic list of do’s and don’ts. No one can actually achieve the level of holiness the Lord demands of us without the Holy Spirit directing our path and infusing us with His presence, wisdom and strength. Alone, we fail. But His unfailing Grace delivers us over and over and over again.

In an effort to be intentional on my focus on Spiritual Maturity, I think I will try to explore each of these 10 principles Paul offers us to help us “live a life worthy of the calling we have received.” I’m not sure what this journey is going to look like, but I do hope you join me so we can discover, together, how to finally say “good bye” to puberty and begin to grow up in Christ. After all, I don’t think there’s much room for more than one teenager at a time in our house!

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