Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You useless, ungrateful, blind 'Christian'

Over the next few blog posts, I will be dealing with the subject of spiritual maturity. Today, I will discuss why it is important. Then, I will offer different ways it must be acquired: These are not options - they are spiritual essentials, the diet and exercise of the soldier of God. If you are already active in these things, it is a good start. But, like an athlete, when your spiritual life plateaus, you must escalate your exercise.

Please carefully examine our text. I know it is often tempting to skim Scripture references, since you know I will reiterate the points in my own words, but on the subject of spiritual maturity, examining the Scripture yourself is essential.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 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, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.

(2Pe 1:2-15)

Peter has then given us an outline for spiritual growth: faith -> moral excellence -> knowledge -> self-control -> perseverance -> godliness -> brotherly kindness -> love, which I will employ in the following posts. We are told if we follow this model for spiritual growth, we will never stumble. If we do not, however, we disgrace God and forget that we have been purified by the blood of Christ. We are useless and unfruitful, blind or (at best) short sighted.

I hope that stings. The apostle Peter says with the whole authority of God that if you do not possess those attributes in ever growing quantities you are useless, blind and have forgotten about what Christ did for you. It is a harsh condemnation, but it is true. If you drop the spiritual responsibilities we will discuss in the coming days – you are useless.

As we go through this journey, we are commanded to do it with diligence. Spiritual growth is not something we can take up and drop again as the mood strikes us. Either we make God a priority, or we don’t. If you don’t, stop kidding yourself about being a Christian. You are lulling yourself into a false sense of security. Honestly assess – is God a priority in my life? Can I make Him one?

Let us close with Paul:

When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.

(1Co 13:11)

Too many Christians are content to remain children. They speak like children, babbling in confused language and unable to articulate the faith. They reason like a child, unable to defend the faith from the weakest of attacks, because they have only ever focused on the ‘cool’ parts and the simple. That is no way to live. Therefore, as Peter, I will remind you of them even if you already know them, so you will be able to recall that at any time, if I still live or after I die.

Stick with me in the following days diligently, as we follow the path to spiritual maturity.

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