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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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You Can’t afford to be Offended

Me 2015.jpgI want to share a little over a week ago God Led me to forgive some stuff. After I did it, I realized how many people I had let down in my life time. That was God’s Grace (TO ME!). I have to wonder,if my forgiveness allowed the Holy Spirit to reveal more to me about myself, and lift the blinders from my eyes.

We All have expectations of people.

Some is based on how we are raised, how we understand the bible, or whatever else. People can feel they are offering the help they have to offer, and you rejected it (or them) and I mean to tell you what, there are SO MANY THINGS the devil can (try) to turn it into an offense, I simply cannot list them all here. 

I’ve had people reject what I had to say when I thought it was God’s will I said certain things. It hurts, because we think we are giving a gift, and it just got rejected. If it happens 100 times, we may be at risk of getting offended. You’d be suprised how many people have “rebuked me” when I talk about Growing In Christ.

There are some who believe getting saved leads to this “instant Jesus pudding” and we automatically grow, without any real participation on our part.

Growing in Grace is a message that is balanced, and between the “Auto Pilot’ thing and the “being under law” mentality. Growing up IN Christ is a sensible and sound message, but not a popular one.

Therefore, I am delivering a word God asked me to deliver …..and yet those who seem to have the pulpit do not always agree. Does it stop me?

NO! It will not! And, I must not get offended. If I do, I will ruin myself.

I”m so glad when people tell me things like, “I waved at you, you didn’t wave back”. So many times, I just did not see them wave at me!

There are times people forget, don’t hear us, or do not understand how important something is to us. (really). Don’t fall for the “all about me” mentality. It’s a monster! ME MOnster.jpg Cartoon by Jeff Larson 

Yes, there are times people have been little snots, but it’s not all that often. Most of the time when people hurt us, it’s quite accidental.

The important thing is that remain “not offended”. If I’m not, I can go foward in Christ.

Proverbs 18:19 says “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.”

Don’t put your walls up. It’s just not worth it to miss out on what God has for you next.

Laura Grace, Author, Grace to the Rescue and Grace to Grow, available on Amazon.

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When you’re taking a trip…..(A very important message about the road to heaven. )

TRip.jpg

We live in the knowledge age. Everyone wants to discuss what we should or should not be doing, and more importantly, what others should or should not be doing. Without a doubt it’s the most philisophical, debatable, and argumentive age we’ve ever seen. 

When I’m taking a trip, i hope I will plan (how much it will cost) and is there air in my tires? Do I have all the necessities for my journey? What route will I take? Where am I going to stay along the way, and when I get there? We all know if we don’t plan, it’s likely we could end up by the side of the road, sleeping in the car (or something) and then there is the big question: “Why am I even taking this trip?” 

Once we know that (and our passion for the trip is established) we might begin sharing with others what we are doing, where we are going, and why. 

I’ve encountered so much advice along the way, and I know people are trying to be helpful. “Take water and tools” they may say “in case you break down.” “Pray first” Or maybe they’ll say “You can’t afford that trip.” (How do they know?) or maybe they will share their trip, what they did, and how it was a much better trip than you are taking! 

It doesn’t matter, because if you only got one shot at your dream trip, would you let anyone take it from you? Would you let them waylay you, stop you, thwart you, or waste so much of your time you never even get there? I don’t think so! 

Funny how we would take something like a “road trip” so seriously and not ponder where we are going for all eternity. (and who we will see when we get there!)

I”m sorry, I can’t allow you to take me off course! I have a dream about doing things God’s way, learning from Him, Following Him and having him say to me when I get there “Well done” “Enter in” “Glad to see you my son (daughter). He gave me the route, the plan, and he has helped me to count the cost. I don’t have time to argue about it or debate with you about whether my plan is good or bad (according to you). My Father from heaven has spoken, and I must be on my way. 

Laura Grace            John 4:34 “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work”