The Hallmark of Maturity – ReAnn Ring
|Proverbs 16:18||Pride [goeth] before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.|
You are being watched – 24/7 … by others and more importantly by Elo Roi – the God Who sees it all right down to your last atom.
Consider this … the way you are with those closest to you will determine LOUDLY your witness of Christ to everyone watching. As Christians, we are ALWAYS being watched when we least expect.
If our tempers, superior attitudes, the silent treatment, lying, slander/malice, selfishness, and any other behavior or attitude supercedes our concern for a lost loved one who is watching us and results in deferring them away from Christ – as they are thinking “this is how all Christians behave,” …. THEN OFF WITH OUR HEADS! Sounds harsh, but why would Paul be so emphatic about talking to the church about SELF discipline?
If we are calloused here to that fact, and hang on like a pit bull to our “rights” – which in essence is not a “right”, but, simply put, A SIN, then that is an absolute sign of the fact we are blind to what our own sin did to nail Christ to the cross. If no one else were on this planet but each us alone – He would have needed to die for just your sin.
Who are we to say that our sin is less than another’s, or that their issues are far and away below forgiveness when death for a perfect Jesus is the result for our specific sins alone … family squabbles, issues with grown women gossiping, or playing the “us four and no more” game, is a definite sign of lack of growth in our walk with Christ.
We teach our children things about growing up, sharing, giving, thinking of others … but then we seem to revert back to childhood behavior as an adult. This is one of the many roots of pride … a dangerous and isolating game the enemy loves to use to keep us from deeper intimacy with Christ and with others. The walk that is dead to pride in Christ, is FILLED with abundance, freedom and JOY …. His yoke is easy and His burden is light – Matthew 11:30. “Easy” in this passage means: manageable.
We MUST examine our hearts, buffet our body with forgiveness and self discipline … and … grow up … and … get over it. This not about US, it’s about a lost and dying world and THEM coming to CHRIST.
I don’t want the Lord passing a blessing to anyone else, due to a stubborn selfish pride that would keep you from being in the right with HIM. The cost of pride is far too high.
So how does one start to tackle these issues within their own life? A family hatchet that needs to be buried, something our parents did to us that needs forgiveness, a strained relationship with our in-laws, and husband that does not support us in our pain, and meddling someone who loves to keep a foothold in our business, a situation with a neighbor, the list goes on …
See the following steps for a start … Being a mature woman of God is not for the faint at heart … however, doing this will bring great victory and freedom in Christ.)
1. Pray before you do ANYTHING. Ask the Lord to examine your heart FIRST. It will bring a gentle conviction for some and a strong and firm conviction for others. Ask the Lord to convict and deal with others, but keep out of it … it’s HIS job to discipline others, but our job to discipline ourselves. The final morsel on the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians is “self-control” …
2. Remember …. we are accountable to Christ – for our own behavior, thoughts, and words – either when we initiate a sinful action, or a sinful response. This is quite sobering – do we really want to die with unresolved issues? What if God took us this evening? So right NOW is the hour to take action!
3. Forgive …. just do it … not matter what … it doesn’t relieve the other person who offended from justice being served, but that’s not our job, it’s the Lords. Would we ourselves like to pay the price for our own sins? Of course not, so at the same time, we have to allow the Lord’s blood time to do it’s healing work for this very season of growing up and over the issue … to the place of total forgiveness. Its positively GRAND when we let it all go … the chains will be broken and you will have your sights set on things above.
You don’t have to be buddies with a heckler or spinster, however, you can extend an olive branch to others spiritually by being at peace with the Lord alone. They may want what you want, or run the other way.
4. Turn your eyes upon Jesus – look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. Try it … look into the Saviors hands and feet and then His eyes … as He is on the cross with His blood dripping down on your face … It’s hard to point at another with three fingers pointing back saying, Father – Son-Holy Spirit tattooed on your finger tips.
5. Remove your self from bad company that corrupts good morals. You cannot stay pure in impure relationships. Scripture is FILLED with this command … to flee from evil, hide your face for evil, turn away from evil, resist the devil so he will flee. Read Proverbs … it’s filled with wise counsel.
When someone tries to pull you in to an unhealthy situation – quote the Word in your heart or out loud and FLEE.
On the flip side, surround yourself with God fearing people … spend time with ladies or other couples that are more mature than you are in Christ. If you are the smartest and the most mature in your crowd of people 100% of the time, it’s time to do some friend shopping. You need others that are more firmly planted than you are and at the same time, a group that can mentor under you as well. There is a balance here.
6. Now this one can be scary and bear with me …. ask the Lord to remove any “addiction to seeking crisis”. Sometimes we thrive on action or something that is “exciting” that is evil … but really? Is thriving on evil nothing more than idol worship? Behind every idol is … a demon.
That includes the television programs you watch. That may eliminate t.v. altogether at times.
7. Worship … Just worship with music that provides the atmosphere that welcomes His presence.
8. Spend time daily washing in the water of the Word.
9. Pray with a group … have them pray for you and you for them.
10. Accountability – speak openly with safe Godly mature believers that have your best interest at heart. Tell them your burden with joy and keep your eyes focused on the prize of this trial.
Lastly …. praise Him at all times and thank Him for freedom that’s available. If you are “stuck” in a situation with family or friends you can’t immediately remove yourself from, ask the Lord to give you the grace to make it. It took Joseph 13 years of captivity before he was made a leader and mature enough to rule – He WILL deliver you … He is faithful, so we need to be as well.