Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ (Ephesians 4:14-15).
Have you ever been told to grow up? Normally, the statement is not very complementary, but in this case, we all need to receive such a charge with a willingness to be changed. The Bible explains that the process to maturity in Christ requires us to focus on the teaching about righteousness. The writer of Hebrews states that, unfortunately, some believers are not ready for the meat of God’s Word because they still require to be taught elementary truths again and again. They need to be bottle-fed milk due to the fact they have not “trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14).
Again, the Bible charges us to make strides toward maturity and to do so by building our faith upon these foundational truths: repentance, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment (Hebrews 6:1-2). These truths are the beginning points for believers! Do our lives reflect this, or are we still in need of elementary teachings?
Allow me to make the following observation: If we were all in heaven right now and spending all of eternity with the King of kings, we would be fully mature. The hinderance, however, to “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13) is our worldliness. We are in the world, but our lives should clearly reflect that we are not OF the world. Therefore, the easiest route to maturity is to view the circumstances of life through the eyes of the Lord.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, ” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
The character of Christ that God intends to develop in us is put to the test when we are in the midst of a trial. The Bible states that we are to consider these tests as pure joy because the perseverance we develop will lead us to maturity (James 1:2-4). Again, we are told to rejoice in our sufferings knowing that they produce perseverance which, in turn, leads to character (Romans 5:3-4).
How have you fared in your most recent trial? Was human reasoning the basis of your coping mechanism? Was the Word of God, prayer and fasting your feast while in the fire? If we have to make a big shift during a trial to meditate more on the things of God, we probably are receiving insight to the worldliness that we otherwise cling to in our everyday living. Let this serve as a wake-up call to train ourselves to be godly. Let us continually aim for spiritual maturity through daily spiritual disciplines. We don’t have to cycle in and out of struggles, running to God only when we feel we have lost control.
God’s ways are always higher than our ways. He desires to reveal Himself to us everyday, but especially in times of testing, we can trust that He is setting us up to come to higher ground. He’s growing us up in our faith, and it’s a good thing!