Christian Walk / Discipleship / Growth / Maturity / Results / Transformation

Be a contender

It can be difficult for us to be honest with ourselves. It’s even harder to make changes after an honest self-appraisal. Consequently, many of us become adept at making excuses for ourselves or ignoring aspects of our lives we need to change, either by avoiding introspection or constructive criticism from others. Unfortunately, without a willingness to confront who we are and make changes, it becomes difficult to experience the growth that transforms us into who we want to be. The same is true of our walk with God. For instance, can you honestly say being a Christian is working for you? Would your life be different if you weren’t a Christian? Should there be an undeniable advantage in your life, attestable to those around you, if the Spirit of God, which raised Jesus from the dead, lives inside you?

I believe these are fundamental questions for any Christian because Jesus made it categorically clear that demonstrable signs would accompany His disciples [Mark 16:17-18]. Jesus said many other things which if experienced, would make His disciples impossible to ignore. His intention was always that our lives would stand out in this world to the glory of His Father [Matthew 5:16]. So, does your life stand out? Not just in comparison to those around you, but by the standards set by Jesus. If like me, your honest answer is no, what are you doing about it? Are you searching for answers, dissatisfied with not experiencing all that God has made possible for you in this life?

We all start our relationship with Jesus as babies in the ways of God, but He expects us to grow. As God’s children, we’re meant to transition from knowing the elementary truths of God’s word to being teachers, from feeding on milk to eating solid food [Hebrews 5:12]. If we don’t make this transition, we remain children, unskilled in the ways of God, lacking the powers of discernment obtained through the constant practice of distinguishing good from evil [Hebrews 5:13-14]. Elsewhere, we’re told that an heir, while he’s a child, is no different from a slave, even though he has an inheritance. The heir only takes possession of what is rightfully his when he comes of age [Galatians 4:1-2]. Simply put, maturity enables us to access the infinite possibilities available to us in this life as children of God. Furthermore, without maturity, our lives won’t be discernible from unbelievers around us, despite our salvation.

It’s worth recognising that in God’s kingdom, the measure of maturity isn’t time served. It’s not how long you’ve been a Christian, but how much you resemble Jesus in character, and how much of God’s principles you understand and apply with predictable and repeatable results. One sign of maturity is that you’re able to teach others to replicate your results with unerring accuracy because you know experientially that God’s principles work. This is what Jesus did. Consequently, He could tell His disciples that they will replicate His works [John 14:12-14]. We know from Scripture many of Jesus’s disciples replicated His results which isn’t a surprise because God’s word never returns void [Isaiah 55:10-11]. Yet, many of us fail to replicate Jesus’s results. Could this be a consequence of our immaturity in understanding and applying God’s principles?

The sad truth is many Christians may never reach maturity because they aren’t exposed to accurate systematic teaching of God’s word. Worse still, few Christians are interested in learning and applying God’s principles in everyday life because they don’t believe they truly work. Therefore, they never experience the results God promised. Consequently, their lives are no different from the unbelievers around them. We may try and mask our immaturity with pious religious language, but it’s our results, not what we say, that speaks the loudest. Unfortunately, when onlookers hear our lofty claims, but rarely see the results to back those claims, they label us and our beliefs as irrelevant, fake, etc. I believe that this saddens God because our lives ought to make unbelievers want what we have. How can our lives glorify God if there’s no discernible difference between us and unbelievers?

So, is your Christian experience missing something? It takes courage to conduct an honest self-appraisal and humility to accept what we unearth. However, nothing will happen until we’re willing to make the necessary changes. I’ve come to realise that the answer to most of my prayer requests is maturity. Nevertheless, God will never compel me to mature, I must choose to grow up freely. Therefore, we’re told to permit the mind of Jesus to dwell in us [Philippians 2:5] because it won’t happen unless we allow it. Jesus, while on earth, always knew and acted on His Father’s will. Therefore, if we want to experience Jesus’s results, we must allow our minds to be transformed through God’s word so that we can discern and act on God’s will [Romans 12:1-2]. So, a person with a transformed mind possesses the mind of Christ. Christianity will undoubtedly work for such a person, and they will stand out because of their character and superior results.

Very few people will stick with an approach to life that doesn’t yield results. The Bible, backed by God’s integrity, claims that if we apply God’s principles, we’ll experience undeniable results. However, if that’s not your experience, then either the Bible is lying, or you’re doing something wrong. Consequently, if we don’t see the results and signs Jesus promised, and we fail to honestly examine why they are missing, we’ll struggle to live lives that glorify God. Not only will we miss out on all God has for us, but we’ll also fail to be witnesses to the world around us [Acts 1:8]. These are significant consequences for us and others. So, if you believe in God and His word, contend for the transformation of your mind. It’s your conduit to experiencing what is possible with God in this life.

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