Saturday, August 3, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 17

Any time we desire to build anything in the physical it requires planning, patience, and perseverance. Whether it’s a porch swing, a rocking chair, a log cabin, or a three story mansion, once we commit to building it, we must follow through, put in the work, exert ourselves, and overcome the obstacles that are sure to arise in order to bring our project to a good end.

Building a spiritual house requires no less work, no less commitment, and no less exertion than would building a physical house. I realize full well the notion of exerting ourselves or working in any shape, manner, or form is anathema to many believers today, but the Word has a not-so-subtle way of dispelling certain long held beliefs that men have perpetuated over the years.

Although most rational, thinking individuals are willing to work toward career advancement, a healthier relationship with their spouse or offspring, and even a better score at some video game, when it comes to spiritual maturity and growing in Christ many are violently opposed to exerting themselves, or producing a single drop of sweat.

It is in our unwillingness to press in, to seek out, and to strive for deeper truths and greater revelation that we betray our innermost heart in regards to the importance we place on our relationship with God.

If you gladly sacrifice of your time and money to get better at golf, yet are not readily willing to sacrifice the selfsame amount of time to grow in God and get to know Him better, then by your actions you declare to one and all that your relationship with God is not as important to you as golf is.

It may seem harsh, but when you boil it down to the essence, get rid of the excuses and justifications, that’s what it is, plain and simple.

We are so good at lying to ourselves, and talking ourselves into believing we are more spiritual than we really are, more mature in God than we really are, and more ready to sacrifice all things for the glory of God than we really are. It is in this self-deception that many today are wallowing, and it is due to this selfsame self-deception that the falling away which is by now on the horizon will be great indeed.

2 Peter 1:5-7, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

It took sixteen posts, but we have finally come upon the last brick one is require to have in their spiritual house if they hope to have a strong, stable, and lasting edifice. If even one of the virtues Peter outlines for us is missing in our spiritual construct, though we might think it irrelevant, or not overly important, the edifice is unstable, and given enough time or the right kind of pressure one will realize that though they thought knowledge, faith, perseverance, self-control, or godliness to be less than mandatory in and of themselves, they were nevertheless indispensable.

My mother was an awesome cook. She could make something out of virtually nothing, and the first few years we were in America that’s pretty much what she had to do since we were on a ‘fixed budget’ to put it mildly. In reality we were on a sometime dollar a day sort of budget, but somehow she managed to make the mites stretch and we never went hungry. Because she didn’t always have the right ingredients on hand or the money to buy what she needed, my mother was great at substituting ingredients in any given recipe.

Although she took her liberties when it came to cooking, there were certain key ingredients she could not substitute nor do without if there was a certain dish she wanted to prepare.

If she wanted to make roasted chicken, well, she needed a chicken, and though the recipe called for potatoes, she could substitute carrots, though it called for onions, she could substitute garlic,   the chicken was the must have in order to pull it off.

When it comes to secondary or tertiary issues, as believers we don’t all have to be in lockstep. We can agree to disagree on certain issues the Bible is not absolute on; we can focus on different branches of theology; we can have a predisposition toward pneumatology, prophecy, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or deliverance, but the one thing we must all agree upon, the one must have ingredient for every single one of us is Christ Jesus.

By the same token, although the building blocks of our spiritual house may differ in size and shape, although some will have more faith than they will knowledge, while others will have more self-control than they will perseverance, all the virtues Peter outlines are must have attributes if we desire to be balanced and even footed believers.

If all the attributes are there to begin with, wisdom will tell us when we need more of one whether it is knowledge, or self-control, or godliness, or brotherly kindness, and having them readily available, being aware and accustomed to their nature, employing them in our growing process will be an easy task indeed.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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