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Building #10 The Measure of Spiritual Maturity. What does it mean to be “Grown Up” In Christ? And how do we know if we are (and if others are?)

GROWING TREE ROOTS I don’t know about you, but I’d like to have a grown-up for my leader. Many people aspire to be leaders, coaches, teachers, and the like; but they are not always qualified. 

I said, they are not always qualified. 

How do we know if they’re qualified? What do you think would be “God’s measure” of maturity? have you ever thought about that one? (I have). 

We’ve all heard the stories of how someone wasn’t “picked” for the team. I was one that nobody wanted on their baseball, football, or even volley ball team! I was not good at it. I didn’t want to be good at it (bad enough) to practice.

I let go of even trying long ago, because guess what? I didn’t care! (about sports) enough to put my heart into learning, practicing, and becoming great at it. 

I did, at some point, need to stop whining and admit to myselfI don’t want this bad enough to do the hard work.” Step #1 to Growing and Maturity: Admitting the truth about ourselves in the light of God’s Truth! 

I’m sure out there “somewhere” there are ministries that choose their leaders by their maturity level in-Christ, but I don’t think there is many. Sad to say, the mainstream church world often makes their selections based on willingness, an outward appearance of maturity, faithfulness to church services, and attending bible school and colleges. The main goal is often raking in more bodies (to fill the pews) and not growth and maturity for the ones who are in those pews. 

They have board members who look at the resume’, pray about it, and make their choice as to what they think is the best candidate for the (open slot) or job.

So, if you were picking a leader, or a pastor (of a church) what would be your measure for maturity? 

I make that decision every day of my life, when I decide who I will listen to and who I will not (listen to). Ephesians 4 says God gave us Apostles, Evangelists, Prophets and Teachers to help us come to maturity (in Christ). 

I learned a long time ago, a person who is blind will lead me into the ditch. A person who is not mature will not help me get mature. I want a leader who is stronger, wiser and more mature than I am. 

Therefore, if I do not listen to someone’s advice, it doesn’t mean I am rejecting them, personally. I simply learned (a long time ago) That listening to Jesus comes first. To put anyone’s council above His, is a form of idolatry. 

Am I perfect? No! Have I made mistakes? Yes, I have. But my heart and mind are set on the words “Take my yoke upon you” (Words of Jesus) “and be yoked to me.” (Matthew 11:28). 

The Lord is my Shepherd (primarily) and everything else is subject to him. 

Years ago I sat under a minister for a time (online) and hardly anyone understood why. It was because of his Testimony.  A testimony (for me) is the true measure of maturity. Not what school they went to, not how many days they warmed a pew in the church. 

I”ve met many who attended church for 30 years, and like a submarine, nothing seemed to really get INTO their hearts. They are no different today than they were 30 years ago, other than knowing how to speak christianese. 

Like a tree, a testimony is a measure of how much work God has actually done in a person’s life. Are they born again? Filled with God’s spirit? Have they walked in the fruits of the spirit and learned to walk by the spirit of God? Have they cried out for, and received wisdom (from above) and not relied on the wisdom of man (and his ways?). Are they tried and true? 

It’s out of balance to say we don’t need anyone but God and it’s out of whack to say we only need church, and just follow along with whatever supposed “leader” comes our way. It’s unhealthy to gather around someone who just “says what we want to hear” and it’s foolish to assume every person in a leadership position was put there by God. If that were the case, Paul and Jesus would not have wept over flocks being deceived by wolves in sheeps’ clothing and they would not have interceded with tears over those being “led astray.”

Did you know Jesus cried (and wept) for those that would not listen to him? That was more serious to him than starving children or the physical suffering of humanity. Why? 

Because: He knew if he could successfully save the human soul (and we would listen to him) all the rest would be taken care of. God’s wisdom leads to us being “alright” in the Spirit first, and then in the natural. He wants us healthy (Spirit, Mind, and Body!). He wants us mature, which means we have grown up INTO his Headship.

I would dare say this means “We’ve God the mind of Christ” in all things. 

To get the mind of Christ, we have to continually give up our own ways of thinking. We have to push out the voices of the immature, the unsteady, and the godless and faithless, and INCLINE Our ear to the word of God via His Spirit. 

So here’s my standard on whether I will listen to you (or not). What is your Testimony? If you don’t have one to overcome with, how can I follow you? 

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (Revelation 12:11 NKJV). 

In conclusion, if you have found a church that truly has a loving, parental heart to see you Grow (UP) IN Christ, stick to them like glue! If you can see they love you, and want you to grow, stay put! If they have other agenda’s, face it and pray, and ask God for a church that helps you get where you need to be. This is my advice, and I believe it is sound. LOVE yourself enough to get good spiritual food. 

Put your Spirit and Soul First, and the rest of you (body) as secondary. This is what it means to love not (your physical life) Unto Death. You put it under, and put it second to your growth and development in Christ. Enough said! -Laura Grace 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Relationship #2 No Drama “YOU” are you who you want to be?

Relationship 9

Relationships #2 YOU (Is at the core of every relationship.) Are you who you want to be?

“Being Real” is something we hear all the time. You should “be real” (They say). But it’s not defined. What does being real mean to you? Your anger (about social injustice) outrage (over the issues of life) or even grief, pain, sorrow…..(over untold Losses)

That’s not WHO you really are. is it? No. At the core or heart of relationship-is who WE are. If we don’t like ourselves how do we expect others to like us? If we are not at peace with ourselves, how can anyone else be at peace with us?

Can anyone MAKE us happy? (including God?). I am reminded of the story of Jesus and the man at the pool of Bathesda, (in John, chapter 5) where he said “do you want to be made well?”

Mental health is every bit as important (if not more important) than physical health. Many of us were “messed up” in our minds over things that happened throughout our lives. Abuse. Bullying. Social Injustices. And you don’t have to be a minority to experience discrimination, favoritism, and being left out by those ‘Elitists.”

It all hurts, and it all affects us (deeply) in our hearts.

A whole (Healed) Person has a Healed Soul and Mind. Did you notice Jesus dealt with this man’s heart? (and mind?) “Do you want to be well?”

Do you want to be made well? God asked me one time if I wanted Restoration or Compensation! (Wow!) I chose Restoration. Compensation is what you get when you sue someone over what was done to you. Or get “payment” for your loss.

I don’t want compensation. I want restoration! I choose life!

Even in relationships we have to ask this question: “do we want to get along?” (or do we just want to argue?). Do we want to do the work it takes to have a great relationship?

What’s important to us? What matters most? And truly “WHO” do we wish to be? A fighter? Scrapper? Conquerer? Leader of the band? Or do we wish to have our identity forever be “continual victim” because we believe this is our lot in life?

1.Who do you want to be? And why? God really wants to know! Let him know who you would like to be! Then ask “what he wants you to be!” This is relationship at it’s finest. TWO WAY (not one way).

2. Make peace with yourself (However long it takes)

3. Be a friend (to yourself) And receive all God has for you. This will make you a better friend to others…in the long run (and a better spouse, better employeee, and so on and so forth). This means “Being willing to take correction”.

You’d be amazed at the things I’ve said to Jesus. I came to the conclusion years ago…”He already knows” so.I may as well tell him the truth! Trust me, he can handle it. I’ve said things to God that are so shocking I waited for lightning to hit me! But it didn’t! His love enveloped me instead…….(I testify!)

You can’t “offend him” by telling him the truth! I feel like Giving up Father! I have had about enough Father! I need you to show me Father (And let him know what you truly believe you need from him). I will give you a clue however……that when we ask him for what he already wants to give us, it’s likely to happen a lot quicker.

1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. (NKJV) Peace! Until Next time, -Laura Grace

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“Swing with me mommy” …..

colton swimming 3“Mommy, Swing with me”

Remembering when I was too stressed out to rest

By Laura Grace

How well I remember a summer day, long ago, when my children were ages 7 and 4.

We were at a park in Washington State, and I can still see myself juggling my purse, snacks, half a bottle of soda, car keys, and who knows what else.

We pulled up in the parking lot and my daughter ran full blast toward the playground. “Carolee wait,” I hollered, cringing as I saw a car pull into the parking lot.

My mom-brain was running full blast, eager to protect her from things like, well, cars that might drive too fast in the parking lot.

I was (and am) a committed Christian, taking my children to church every week, praying with them at night, trying to keep my husband happy, shopping on a budget, striving to become more virtuous, and reading books about how to organize my closet more efficiently.

I was attending bible studies, working part-time, and ran full-blast trying to have healthy meals on the table, send out thank you cards when needed, and remember everyone’s birthday on time. In other words, I was striving to do it all, and do it well.

I remember well I had a friend who said to me; “We have to strive to enter the Kingdom of God.” She was a go-getter, and new to Christianity like I was, at the time. She had leadership qualities, so I looked up to her.

I’m not sure she noticed Hebrews 4 which says, “Enter my rest.” PS (God was saying, “Settle down girl, or you’ll mess yourself up. Enter my rest (well-being found in him.)

So, on that great summer day, now so far away in my mind, I saw nothing wrong with what I was doing, which was, deliberately not resting, or enjoying myself! I needed to be vigilant! The devil prowls like a roaring Lion, you know? 

I was so busy being VIGILANT I forgot to Rest. 

I really thought I had to help God get everything done. I really thought if I rested, I was slacking, or not striving to “enter in” To the Kingdom. Goodness, talk about misunderstanding one word! (and how it can mess us up!) I was upset about this, and that, and the other thing and all the problems I “needed to solve.” right now.

I’m a Grandma now, and I’ve learned how to rest. I can sit and smile, look at the smudged faces of my grandchildren, and delight in every word they say without worrying they will grow up to be horrible people. And yes part of it is because my children have grown up, and they are quite obviously NOT horrible people.

This is not all because of my age, however. A few years ago, the Spirit of God arrested me, and reminded me of that day. “You only have memories of stress, He said, and now that day is gone forever.”

It is gone. I can still see my kids playing, and having fun, but I remember I did not have fun that day, and “come on mommy, swing with us” fell on deaf stressed-out ears. I can never retrieve that day.

Take it from an old war horse Christian and grandma; I can honestly tell you, there is nothing so urgent that you can’t take a few minutes to swing with your children, who are going to need those happy memories with you someday.