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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spiritual Maturity as Children of God

Bible scripture is rife with analogical models that help us understand the magnitude of God. This is brings to mind the Analogy of Being. The actuality of God is so far beyond human comprehension, that we are inclined
to substitute language familiar to us as a way of illuminating His being. We use words like “Father” to
help elucidate an iota of insight of who He is, what He has created, and the love that He has for us.  Just as God is our “Father” so are we his “children.” In a very literal way, He is our Father, and we are His children. He created us. However, He is also speaking of the role He plays in our daily lives, and ultimately eternity. Often, when speaking of man as Children of God, Galatians 4:4-7 is referenced:
God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God (NRSV, Galatians  4:4-7).
The “adoption” mentioned here is a spiritual one. As children of God we are expected to have a dependence on God that is evident in our servitude, trust, and dependency. Just as a child depends on his father for leadership, guidance, and strength; so do we, as children of God. However, God expects maturity as well. Children who lack maturity may not realize that all they enjoy in the way of food, shelter, and personal belongings are dependent upon their guardian. They take these things for granted, and foolishly attribute these belongings to themselves. The reality of the situation is that all they have had, all they have, and all they may potentially have is fully dependent on he or she who looks after them. This includes guidance, life lessons, and moral fortitude. As children age, and mature, they not only learn to appreciate the gifts bestowed upon them, they come to exemplify the lessons learned in years past. All of this directly relates to God. As we advance in our faith and spirituality we are expected to act out of our maturity in Christ. There are several references to maturity in the Bible:
Brothers and sisters, do not be children in your thinking; rather, be infants in evil, but in thinking be adults (NRSV, 1 Corinthians 14:20).
The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love (NRSV, Ephesians 4:14-16).
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways (NRSV, 1 Corinthians 13:11).
 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic elements of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food; for everyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is unskilled in the word of righteousness (NRSV, Hebrews 5:12-13).
It is evident from these passages that we are being called to maturity as Christians. In none of these scriptures is Paul suggesting that one should not enjoy themselves nor is he suggesting that we are no longer Children of God. He is calling for the maturity in Christ to follow Him. 

2 comments:

  1. This is a great blog site. I really appreciate the research, copy editing and proofreading you put into it. This is very encouraging to me! May the Lord's favor be with us each day as we learn His love for us and as that Love decrease our fears.

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  2. Thank you! I'm so glad that you enjoyed it! Gloria In Excelsis Deo!

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