It’s Time to Grow Up!

Yes, I've decided it's time to grow up!  Sometimes in life we have a series of events that shake us up and wake us up.  I feel like God has been dragging me (yes, I have been kicking and screaming) through some hard months where I have experienced way more than I could ever type out and explain.  But, you probably know exactly what I am talking about.  It’s those times where we know that God is up to something.  I bet that you have had seasons in your life where you have questioned “Lord, what is going on?  Why am I walking this road? What is it that you want me to do?” Well, I have had an epiphany and - because I promised you I would always be real – I am going to share it with you.  The past few days have been hard for me and many of my friends.  We lost someone suddenly that we loved immensely.  But, as I reflect on the words that were spoken at his Memorial Service and all that he taught me, I realize that I am not living the life that I should be.  I have not mastered what matters, by any means.  You know, I think about how I hope to be remembered.  Well, I don’t want people standing around at my memorial service saying, “Bless, her heart she sure was stressed out.” Or “Boy, that Pam was busy!”  I don’t want my children remembering me with hurt feelings or frustrated or overwhelmed.  What legacy will I leave behind me?  What about you?  What will people remember about you?  Is it worth celebrating?

I have decided it is time to GROW UP! What do I mean?  Well, I mean just what I said.  We all need to GROW UP!  If you take a minute and just think about it - most of our issues, our feelings, our frustrations are a result of our being immature…immature in our faith and in our relationship with Christ.  You see, when we accept Christ – we are like a babe in our faith.  Many of us stay right there.  We die a babe in Christ.  It is great that we know the Lord – however, there is not much evidence of it in our life.  If we want to leave behind a legacy of Godly influence and service – than we have to mature and grow in Christ. What would that look like?  Look what 2 Peter 1:5-7 says…

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

Let’s break it down.  Our faith marks the beginning of our Christian life.  It is by faith that we are saved.

But now we need to add virtue.  Well, none of us are virtuous, are we?  No!  So how do we add this to our life? The only way we can is by following the virtuous promptings of the Holy Spirit who now dwells in us.  To be virtuous is to show moral excellence.  Can we do it?  Well, we are all self-centered and flawed. So, it is easier to not be virtuous, but with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can grow toward being more and more like Christ who lived a virtuous life.

Next, the scripture tell us to add knowledge.  Well, we think we know everything – but we really don’t.  The Bible teaches us that knowledge is wisdom and true wisdom is only found in God’s word.  So to find this knowledge and add it to our faith and desire to be virtuous – we need to study God’s word.  Notice I didn’t say “read your Bible”.  How many of us can attest to sitting and reading the scriptures and having no idea what the words mean?  So, we need to study. I have a Study Bible that explains the scriptures and helps me tremendously to gain understanding.  We can listen to teachings of the scripture by attending a Bible teaching church and watching You Tube videos of leaders who teach Biblical principles. We can study the Bible by going through a written Bible study with a group or on our own.  Learn the Bible, what it says and what it means – just like you would study a subject in school or in your job.  Be full of Biblical knowledge.

Now we need to add self-control.  Oh no!  This one is a toughie!  Controlling our self is our biggest obstacle in growing spiritually. To have self-control we need to master our emotions instead of letting our emotions master us.  But…think about it.  Our emotions run rampant, don’t they?  We feel disrespected, slighted, mistreated, fearful, frustrated, un-loved, and on and on.  Those feelings master us and are the deciding factor of what we will do and what we will not do.  Most of us aren’t in control of our self.  Our self-centered self is in control of us.  But who should really be in control?  You got it.  God should be in control of our self, our center.  And for the life of me, I cannot find a scripture that says “feel sorry for yourself” or “whine and complain”.  Instead let’s replace our feelings and our self-talk with scripture and begin to speak truth into our self.  Let’s surrender and give God control so that we can exhibit self-control.

What’s next?  Well, next we need to add perseverance.  (I misspell that word every time I type it.)  Oh, perseverance is persistence regardless of the circumstances.  Once we have self-control then we are less likely to give up or quit.  These things go hand and hand. We will pursue a life of faith that displays virtue, knowledge and self-control and will not succumb to the temptation to give up because we know that God is in control and will be faithful to use all things for our good.

Next, after perseverance, this scripture tells us to add godliness.  Godliness is a really big word, isn’t it?  Do you feel like a godly woman or a godly man? I just don’t feel adequate to use that word to describe me.  But I have learned that if we are humble, we will never feel adequate to do what God is calling us to do or to be what we know He wants us to be. Being godly is to continually be aware of God’s presence – allowing Him to influence every aspect of our life.  My study Bible says, “We should live for God and not for ourselves.”  Wow!  Most of our thoughts and our desires are all about “Me”.  Change me Lord.  Help me to make my life “all about YOU”.

Next, after godliness we are to add brotherly kindness.  This doesn’t just imply be nice to people.  It is much bigger.  It means to accept everyone as our brother, offering them unconditional love and acceptance.  It is serving and giving.

Which leads us right into the next item we should add - and that is love.  We should love others with God’s love – not based on our opinions or our judgments – but seeing them as Christ sees them. Loving others and putting their needs before our own.

This, my friends is spiritual maturity!  Adding all these items to our life, we will find that we will “grow up” in Christ and become spiritually mature.  Once we do that, then and only then can we live an abundant life – walking hand in hand with Christ.  Then, people will stand around at our memorial service and say, “She was godly.” “He lived a life that glorified God.” “Lives have been changed because of how she lived her life.” “He left a lasting legacy.”

I am ready to Grow Up!  How about you?