2 Corinthians 4:17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
From the day we’re born, we’re dying. We grow, we learn, we love, we laugh, we experience all of the things life has to offer. But we all reach and end to this life. Praise be to God that this life is not all there is! We have something wonderful to look forward to – life eternal. This life is momentary, but the life after this one is never-ending.
All of the hardships we face here, they’re building us up, conforming us into the image of Christ, from one degree of glory to another. Sanctification takes place in this life, the Holy Spirit doing His work in us to make us what God intended us to be. We endure all that there is here for the reward we receive later when sanctification ends and glorification begins.
We carry with us the death of Christ. We die as a reminder both of the fact that sin brought death into the world and a testimony to the fact that Jesus saved us from eternal death. We live forever with Him because of what He did on the cross. His death spared us ours. His resurrection gave us a brief glimpse of what’s coming for us. What we face here is nothing compared to the glory we’ll see on the other side. It’s all just part of the journey.
Ephesians 4:13-14 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
It should be obvious to every Christ follower that we are to aim to grow spiritually. Just as we would notice something was terribly wrong with a person who has not physically matured past infancy, we should see it as a problem when a Christian has not grown past spiritual infancy. The thing is, though, we don’t.
It’s far too common for those of us who profess to follow Jesus to be content with spiritual youth, never even trying to get past the first stages of Christian life. We overlook it in our own lives and we often overlook it in the lives of others. We get stuck in a place where surface level understanding is accepted and we miss out on a whole lot of blessings that only come with maturity.
To return to the physical to spiritual comparison, think about this: If a child never matures past infancy, he or she can never enjoy certain benefits like driving, marriage, living independently, or even just keeping friends. Likewise, in the spiritual life, there are many things that can only be enjoyed by those who move past the elementary things of the faith. Living in communion with other believers, weathering the storms of life with unshakable faith, finding answers to life’s questions within God’s Word on your own, genuinely worshipping, and praying as one who is close to God are really all much deeper if we have grown and matured.
Paul seems to be warning the church in Ephesus that they will believe anything if they don’t mature spiritually. His image of being tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine is a good picture of many Christians today. Let us all decide that we’re going to pursue spiritual growth and a better knowledge of God so that we can really experience Him in a greater way. Let’s vow also to help others towards this goal.
Ephesians 4:14-15 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
What is the goal that a disciple should aim for? There are many things we need to do, and much that God has already done, but what are we striving for in the end? What does God want from us?
To boil it all down into one simple thought: God wants us to grow to be more like Jesus. He wants this so that we can fulfill His purposes for us. He created us with intent and He wants us to live up to that. He made us alive in Christ and He wants us to use that life for Him.
But in order to do what God wants from us, we’ve got to move beyond just being saved sinners. We’ve got to solidify ourselves with sound doctrine so we don’t believe every little thing we hear. We’ve got to learn God’s character so that we know His will. We’ve got to grow in fellowship with Him and grow in our faith.
In a disciple’s life, stagnation is not an option. We were chosen for holiness, even before the foundation of the world. We have been given lives to live on purpose, for God’s glory.
Go to God daily in Prayer
Read the Word every day
Obey God moment by moment
Witness for Christ
Hebrews 5:8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered
A disciple obeys God every step of the way on the path laid out for his or her life. God calls each of us to a purpose, but we have a choice to make when it comes to playing the role He has for us. But how do we know what to obey? How do we know that what we’re doing is really what God wants?
We can never truly know God’s will for us and what He would have us to do if we never know Him for who He is. If we’re ignorant of God’s character we may think we’re acting on something He’d have us do, only to contradict His very nature by doing so. Knowing God leads to knowing His will and it becomes that much more clear what to obey.
The Bible isn’t primarily a list of rules to follow and restrictions to keeps us from sinning. Those things are contained within, but God’s Word is first and foremost God’s self-revelation to mankind. He shows us who He is so we can understand what He wants.
Take this into consideration: Jesus, the perfect Son of God, learned obedience through suffering. Yes, Jesus learned obedience. By walking in what God the Father sent Him to do, by suffering as a human, He learned what obedience was all about. Sometimes it’s the same for us. Sometimes we only really know God through experiencing Him in times of struggle. If we abide in Him, He’ll reveal Himself to us and we can walk in obedience by knowing who He is.