We are meant for maturity, yet day after day we either stay the same or grow worse. We have to actively acknowledge that our Lord intends for us to grow, to become more than we were yesterday. It is not simply for our selfish purpose but for the maturing of the Body and the salvation of the world. We must mature.
Maturity comes at a cost, it requires us to face and walk through situations we would rather avoid. It is hard but Paul's letter to the church of Colossae makes it clear that it is part of our purpose. Paul prays:
Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we haven’t stopped praying for you and asking for you to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with all wisdom and spiritual understanding. (1:9)
Notice what Paul stated was needed for spiritual maturity:
1. knowledge of God's will
3. spiritual understanding
Paul stated that the purpose of his prayer was:
We’re praying this so that you can live lives that are worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way. (v. 10)
So, worthy of the Lord's sacrifice on the cross (a fruitful life instead of a wasted one) and one that would please him in the living. Paul names three ways that this will be done in our living:
1. by producing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God (v. 10)
2. by being strengthened through his glorious might so that you endure everything and have patience (v. 11)
3. and by giving thanks with joy to the Father. (v. 12)
Good works, growing in knowledge of God, endurance, patience, and joyful thanksgiving; these are themes throughout the epistles and are the foundations to our growth. We need to pay attention and ask for these to increase so that we may mature and increase in Jesus.
We have fallen for the enemy's trick of getting us to focus on ourselves, seeking short cuts and comfort in life. Do you recognize any of these? Perhaps something that had been said to Jesus? Take a quick look at our society and then look in the mirror. Instead of running away from the discomfort, the hardships, trials, and storms, we need to trust the Lord for the strength to stand and to learn, growing into the fullness of Jesus.
There is much to learn and put into practice from this letter. I hope to spend some time in it with you over the next while.