Why would we want to anyway? Are we so vain that we cannot accept the natural order of things as God has determined them to be? Many times the Bible speaks about the wisdom, knowledge and maturity that comes from growing old. We teach our children to “respect their elders”. When we who are younger take the time to actually listen to those who have gone down the road that we are presently strolling upon, it’s important to listen to the wisdom of those who have been there already. We can truly learn from them.
A few months back, I was praying and asking the Lord what direction He is leading us. Over the next few days and weeks, one theme continued to surface time after time. Maturity. Maturity in our faith, our walk with the Lord, our obedience, our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, our sharing of God’s love with others, our love for God, our listening to God’s voice for direction, our discerning God’s voice from the other voices out there, our prayer lives, our worship of God, our trusting in God, and our commitment to Jesus. The Bible says:
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1)
Over the past few years, I have been concerned about Christians who have given themselves over to teaching and thinking that is not in line with what the Bible says. Many “Christians” are very accepting of the world’s way of thinking and living. It’s become much easier to be passive and watch things happen around us that go against the standards of God, rather than stand up and speak the truth in love, not fearing what the consequences might be.
Christians who do this will truly face persecution in this world, which we should not be surprised by. If the world persecuted Jesus, God’s One and Only Son, because they didn’t like the teaching he brought with Him… how can we Christians today expect any less for ourselves. Throughout the Bible, persecution is the true mark of a Christian. The church in the U.S. has been spoiled for far too long. It concerns me how we will respond when the persecution steps up even more in the future. These persecutions that will come our way are often a test of our faith in God to determine how we will respond. Will we point fingers and blame others or God and plead our case that we don’t deserve this OR will we give praise to our Lord while rejoicing in the salvation that He has brought to us. Again, the Bible says:
“Consider it pure joy my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and compete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4)
If our faith is strong, and our hope secure in Jesus, there is NOTHING in this world we ought to fear. We need to begin seeing life from God’s perspective, for it is very different from how we usually look at it. We need to know that He is God and that He is truly aware of everything that happens in our lives, both the good and the bad. We need to trust that God knows how to handle every situation the best way, when we are willing to settle for a good way. If you are settling for less than God’s best, it’s time for some changes in the way you think. The Bible says:
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Let’s be honest, we all can use some renewal in our thinking. The elders and myself will be praying for renewal for ourselves and for you as well. Praying that God will draw us all closer to Him and that we would begin to see and understand the events of life more from God’s perspective and stop relying on the worldly view of things. It takes time to become mature, but we must be persistent and not give up. For each of us it will be different, but hopefully we will all continue to move forward together.
Remember, I’m praying for you, we’re all in this together.