Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Time For Us To Grow Up

There is nothing consistent or permanent in life. As a child we thought everything was eternal; our family was always going to be the same; we will always live in the same place, have the same friends, do the same things. That is the limited perspective of a child but as we grow older we begin to realize how temporary everything is. There is nothing consistent or permanent in life. Everything changes.

Well, that's not exactly true but to make my point let's assume it is. We are told that even important matters such as the gifts of the Spirit are only temporary:

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. (1 Corinthians 12:8)

These will not disappear because God will remove them but instead because they are a temporary part of our 'childhood'. We can't forget that we are growing toward a goal, a purpose. It is sad in life that many people stop maturing at a certain point. They reach that point in life where they become satisfied and then they just exist. There is no progress, no more learning, no more revelations, no more growth. It is the same spiritually but we have to beat that because we have a greater goal than this place:

For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. (1 Corinthians 13:9-10)

That is the scary part when it comes to many Christians; they fail to accept what we have here so how will they ever handle the perfection that is coming. The manifestation of the Spirit is only a small taste of our new creation state of being. When Jesus comes to call us home everything will change for us when he brings us into perfection. If we can't handle the gift of healing in this place how will we ever accept what we will become with perfection? We are suppose to be progressing in our maturity, growing toward the whole measure of the fullness of Jesus, yet we can't even bring ourselves to know the Word of God. We have to at least get to the point of knowing that we need to mature:

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:11)

Yes, we are only children in this place but Jesus will be bringing us into full adulthood. We can at least be mature children here with all the limitations of a child. We know there is a difference between a toddler in diapers and a ten year old who has learned to do most things for himself. I don't want to be found in a diaper when Jesus returns. But we also acknowledge that a ten year old does not have the knowledge or ability of a 40 year old:

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

The last part is what I am really desiring; to know God as well as he knows me. What an incredible thought. To know everything about him and to live in eternity with that knowledge. Childhood is such a short time of our life compared to adulthood. This place is such a short period of our existence compared to eternity. That needs to be our perspective here, that we are being prepared for eternity, for adulthood. So what's a little bit of hardship and pain in comparison to knowing the greatness and glory of our Lord?

The question remains, what does maturity look like in the context of this place, in the context of childhood? It is when we realize what is truly important in life. It is when we let go of the things that hold our progress back and makes us less than what we were created to be. It's when we cut the things out of our life so that the things that are most important are able to grow in us:

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  (1 Corinthians 13:13a)

We know we are reaching that maturity when we not only understand but live the truth of life:

But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13b)

The fact is that in those who are progressing toward maturity the truth of love prevails over everything else. If there are things like fits of rage, jealousy, envy, pride, hatred in you then you know you have a lot of spiritual growing up to do. Love overpowers all of these things when we are mature enough to allow it to have full reign in our life. "Love never fails" becomes our reality not our wishful thinking. In the mature faith, hope and love are the basis of everything they do and say but it is love that makes it all possible.

Not everything changes in life. Faith, hope and love should be the permanent and consistent elements of our character. Love should always prevail in every situation. It's time for us to grow up.




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The rest of the series on 1 Corinthians 13


The Single Greatest Lesson That All Other Things Are Built On
















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3 comments:

SHCAKerwins said...

Even though as a teenager we have to mature more often and let go the childish stuff into the past.

ShcaChelsey said...

I have to say, indeed, you are right Pastor Paul. There are lots of people in this world who stop maturing and just had the maturity of a 10 year old. Can you imagine a 33 year old acting like a 10 year old?!

As we grow older we lear more and more things and we become more mature. One thing that won't change as we grow up is hope, joy and love, just as you said.

SHCA-Cf said...

Nice blog, & I agree with you. sadly, I have nothing else to say...