My friends, it is time to grow up. It is time for us to stop playing Church and to clothe ourselves in the maturity of the Spirit. It is time to set aside the uncertainty of childhood and step into the boldness that comes with the knowledge we have been given in the Word by the Spirit. It is time for us to start acting on the promises Jesus has given to us.
Face it, we might be greater in number compared to the early Church but we certainly are not greater in power, at least in North America. In other places of the world the gospel is preached in the reality of the power of God. Power is demonstrated daily as the Church walks in faith, acting on the promises Jesus gave, to overcome every obstacle in their path. In the face of suffering the Church grows in many places in this world but in North America, if it becomes an inconvenience, we quickly set it aside. We are immature, easily distracted, have no perseverance and we don't believe in the power of God. Listen to what the writer of Hebrews puts out there:
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so. (Hebrews 6:1-3)
Read that again and take note of what is considered the elementary teachings:
- repentance from acts that lead to death
- faith in God
- instructions about baptisms
- the laying on of hands
- the resurrection of the dead
- eternal judgment
No wonder we can't get any real traction going in North America, we are still teaching many of these subjects. Oh, we have mega churches and we have some vocal groups pushing a Christian agenda, but we are lacking men and women of maturity; men and women of spiritual boldness; men and women of spiritual authority. We are still a bunch of kids messing our pants and fighting in the sandbox, even arguing over the existence of hell (that's the eternal judgment part of the fundamental teaching).
Just on the issue of faith alone we can see people still struggling with taking God at his word. Most people do not believe 100% of God's promises. They pick and choose what their flesh is willing to accept and the rest they kick to the curb. Most people do not journey any further than the cross. They hang out at the bar of repentance, not understanding the fullness of the promises Jesus has given us for hear and now. We don't understand how Jesus has equipped us through the Holy Spirit with everything we need to do the work of the Father. That's okay because most of us don't know that our salvation has greater purpose than ourselves. It is sad.
It doesn't have to be this way. If we would only understand that we have to die to ourselves in order to accept Jesus we would be 50% of the way to maturity. Our problem really comes from trying to live in two worlds, in two systems, with two lords. Jesus said that it is impossible to serve two masters. He said that we will either hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other. We are trying to live a duplicitous life and it is more this reason that we see a huge lack of spiritual maturity in the Church. Our lives cannot be partially given to God. If we want maturity it is all or nothing.
Is Jesus your everything? Is your life completely focused on him? Do you see his purpose in everything you do? Is his will more important to you than your own? Are his goals your goals? Do you see and understand and are you living his purpose and calling in your life? Is the Word of God coming alive to you? Is your time of prayer effective and vibrant? Do you see God at work all around you? If so, then you are well on your way to "attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ". (Ephesians 4:13) If not, then you will continue to mess in your pants and experience fighting in the sandbox. It is time to grow up.