January 8, 2011
As I think back to my early days as a believer, I think these things described my walk with the Lord:
- a great appetite for God’s word, studying it with diligence, quickly became familiar with it
- joyful exuberance of victory over sin.
- because of rapid growth, pride easily crept in.
- without realizing it, I felt holier than other believers who were struggling with sin. “If they were like me, they’d be walking in victory right now.”
- without realizing it, I felt more knowledgeable than nearly every believer around me, even those who’d spent a lifetime walking with God.
- this “holy, knowledgeable” young believer was quick to advise others and counsel them. In group studies feeling the need to be the first to answer, and spoke more than listening.
- whether admitting so or not, this young believer labelled himself a seasoned veteran or even a spiritual giant destined for greatness.
- easily sidetracked by secondary issues, not that these aren’t important, but they were made primary issues and the lens through which Scripture was read and other believers were evaluated. Common issues that sidetrack young believers include Calvinism vs Arminianism, faith theology, political activity, end times theology, etc.
- an intense desire/need for signs and confirmations to bolster faith
- very interested in discovering natural and spiritual strengths and abilities.
As I seek to leave the elementary things and press on to maturity, these things will mark me more and more:
- marked by a profound sense of my utter sinfulness, my propensity to sin, and complete inability to ever earn favor with God. If salvation depended in any way on me, I would be miserably doomed. Like the Apostle Paul, the mature believer cries out, “I am the chief of sinners.”
- Rather than feel more knowledgeable than other believers, the maturing believer is aware of how much he has yet to learn. In relating to his brothers and sisters he sincerely believes, “We all possess knowledge.”
- When in a group discussion with other believers, the maturing believer will gladly be the last to speak, or not to speak at all, but to willingly let even the youngest believer speak and discuss. The maturing believer remains “slow to speak” knowing that God is not dependant on using him, but can easily use another.
- When it comes to secondary issues, the maturing believer gladly keeps “his conviction about these issues between himself and the Lord” (Rom 14:22), “accepting the one weak in faith” (Rom 14:1), and pursuing unity as of primary importance.
- Knows the struggles of prayer but is devoted to sacrificial, continual intercession.
- Rather than seek spectacular signs and visions, he walks by faith in God’s word, not by what he can see.
- Delights and boasts, not in his strengths, but in his weaknesses, of which he is acutely aware.
- Is characterized above all things as an incredibly loving person.
- Is marked by the maturity that comes about only through suffering.
- Rather than glorying in accomplishments, recognition, or prestige, he delights in unrecognizable, ignoble, humiliating service.