Friday, December 14, 2007
Our Spiritual Growth
Salvation is neither the climax nor the finale of Christianity. The knowledge that we have been forgiven for all our sins and that our heavenly home is assured must not lull us into apathy, thinking our ultimate salvation is the only thing that matters for there is more ... much more. The experience of a new birth is only the beginning of the Christian walk. From that moment on, the Father begins conforming new believers to the image of His Son Jesus Christ; "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son ..." (Rom 8:29 NIV).
Ephesians 4:15 says, "we will grow up in every way into Christ who is the head;" (NCV) and the NIV translates it as, "we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Our knowledge and understanding of Scripture is skimpy and meager at best when we are first saved, which is why New Testament writers often used the metaphor of a baby to describe new believers. If a child stopped growing at three years of age, the parents would have every reason to be concerned and worried. In the very same way, God is concerned and worried when believers fail to mature, because His plan has always been to guide us from babies into full-grown spiritual giants.
As we meditate on Scripture and apply it's principles and commands to our lives, we leave behind spiritual babyhood and learn to make wise choices by discerning truth from error, and we strive to please our heavenly Father with every decision we make and every action we take. This is exactly what Jesus did while He was on planet earth. When we seek to please God, our life is increasingly characterized by love, kindness, faithfulness, and all the other good fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). And our spirits begin to resemble Christ's Spirit.
We are not called to spiritual infancy. That is just the very beginning. We are blessed and privileged to grow into sacred image-bearers of Christ Jesus. We must make and take the effort to build a relationship with the Lord through prayer, Scripture reading and meditation ... and by accepting His purifying work in our lives as we grow ever stronger in our resemblance of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do you ever wonder why God waited until Jesus was 30 years old before He brought out His identity. Why 30? It's just a thought. I just can't help but wonder if there is some significance to that fact. I mean, why not at 21 years? Or 28 years? What are your thoughts on this?
This afternoon will be spent cleaning this messy house. I actually look forward to it today. I used to love to clean house. I got so much satisfaction out of cleaning a house until it was spotless. But not now. I love it when it's clean but I just hate the process of cleaning it. But it does look so much better when I put out the effort. I'll hit the baths first and go from there.
Yesterday was filled with activity and yet I accomplished nothing it seems. I went to the doctor for a routine visit, finished my Christmas shopping, and have all my gifts wrapped and ready to go, except for the bows. I don't put the bows on until the last minute so they don't get too squished. Everything I had this year came in it's own box so they all wrapped very nicely. Well, one gift didn't but I had an empty box to put it in. They all have nice, crisp corners. I always measure out the amount of paper I need from the roll and then fold it back over on itself making a firm fold and then I insert a letter opener (one of those plastic ones that has the razor blade in it) into the fold and then just use the opener down the length of the fold as if I were "opening" an envelope. Quick and easy. I haven't used a pair of scissors when wrapping gifts in several years now. I probably didn't explain that very well but if you can figure out what I'm saying it will cut your wrapping time in half. You just have to be sure and align the edges of the paper so you get nice straight folds that become nice straight cuts.
Well, I've been sitting here for several minutes trying to think of something to write and I'm coming up empty so I think I'll just close off for today and see you on Monday. I'll tell you how our dinner with Leo went. I'm so afraid we'll run out of things to talk about and we'll just all three sit around looking uncomfortable. Until Monday ...