The Practices of Maturity

The Practices of Maturity
By Pastor George Lehman

Things we need to do, let go off, stop doing, get victory over; this brings growth and maturity.

A spiritual life cannot be formed without discipline, practice, and accountability. (H Nouwens)

Hebrews 5:12-14  “ For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil..”

Every believer should be on a continual growth track that ascends higher and higher, deeper and deeper.

This side of heaven none of us ever “arrive,” but we each have a responsibility to press on to maturity.

Though many people think those who know a lot about the Bible are the spiritually mature ones. There are many bible scholars who live like the devil.

Hebrews 5:14 adds the element of practice to the growth equation. It’s in the application not just the information.

Christian growth requires the discipline of godly habits carried out daily.

The most important practice to cultivate is a personal devotional time.

Since God is the source of all spiritual development, you can’t neglect Him and expect to become mature.
Transformation begins with time in His Word and prayer.

Obedience is another essential element for advancement.

When our desire to obey the Lord is stronger than our attraction to sin, we’ll know we are making progress in our spiritual life.

In terms of physical development, the goal is to become more independent and self-sufficient as we age.

But in the spiritual realm, the opposite is true. Those who are mature in Christ recognize their own inadequacy and rely on the Holy Spirit within them.

It’s Gods job to transform our character and empower us to accomplish everything the Lord calls us to do.

Getting older doesn’t mean maturity in God’s eyes.

By digging into Scripture and developing righteous habits, we can use our years to grow stronger in the Lord instead of wasting time with passivity, compromise and comfort.

NB! No one accidentally becomes mature. Spiritual growth requires a diligent pursuit of God.

We need to deal with the nagging issues that are preventing us from Growing and Maturing as God requires of us.

Here’s one of those aspects most of us struggle with, it will affect your maturity:

How many know what a gunnysack is?
It’s a simple sack they put grain into – but it has also been used over many years to express Internal conflict, emptiness, to feel worthless.

“A fact is like a sack—it won’t stand up if it’s empty.”
– Luigi Pirandello

Satan is really good at a lot of things. But you probably don’t know that he is the ultimate gunny sacker.
He will load your sack with lies to prevent you from Maturing!

“What is gunny sacking?” It’s a favorite relationship tactic for those who don’t know how to fight fair or how-to live-in forgiveness, who carries grudges, touchy and easily offended.

It’s pretty simple, actually. When someone says something wrong or does something wrong to you, you don’t say anything about the wound. You store it up like a pressure cooker.

You just take the offense and store it in a little sack and go on as though nothing had happened. Clear sign of immaturity.

THEN, later, when you do something wrong again and you are called out on it, you pull out the painful events you’ve been storing up and use it to accuse your accuser.

It sounds a bit like this, “Oh yeah? Well do you remember that one time when you did blah, blah, blah?!?!?!”

That’s gunny sacking. We usually do it to deflect responsibility when we feel exposed—when we just don’t want to own up to something that we’ve been involved in (or because we just don’t know how to resolve conflict). Which is a sign of immaturity.

I think we are all pretty good at gunny sacking. But Satan? He’s the master.

Then He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at His right side to accuse Him. – Zechariah 3:1

He actually has a gunnysack for every single one of us.

He’ll see you do something outside of what God has for you and he’ll take that thing and throw it in your gunnysack.

Then, in a time of weakness, he’ll come after you and expose your naked guilt. He’ll say, “Remember that time you did blah, blah, blah?!?!?!”

All of a sudden, the accusations start coming fast and furiously… and it sounds true, of course, because it probably is.

But it’s not the full story. It’s the revelation of sin without the covering of Christ’s redemption.

There is only one way to fight back: Get back in Satan’s face with the Truth.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. —Romans 8:1

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
 –1 John 1:9

Jesus is the one Who redeems you from the naked shame of sin. And you can celebrate that with all your heart when Satan tries to embarrass you.

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns His head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. — Isaiah 61:10

Don’t gunnysack others, and don’t take it when Satan tries it on you!

Jesus, I praise You for what You did on the cross.
I thank You that I am not condemned, that You continually forgive, and that You have purified me.
Thank You, thank You for covering my nakedness with Your righteousness! Amen.