This week's service started off with some amazing worship, and a wise word from our host, Kellye Hales that should be noted as we go into the holiday season. She told us how important it is to disconnect in order to reconnect. This holiday season, and as often as you can, don't worry so much about the like or the love button on social media. Its the people around you that count. Worry about pressing the like or love button on the people you are around.
A person who is new in Christ is often called an infant. Like an infant, as time goes on, we should grow. We should grow into a mature Christian that can go forth and spread the word of God. By this logic, you would think that the longer you have been saved, the more mature you would be. However, just because a person has been saved for a long period of time, doesn’t mean they have grown in the Lord. An infant tends to look for all of the attention. They need it. An infant is Christ is the same way. They look to be fed and to be poured into. A mature Christian will not need the attention, they want the focus on God and His plan and goodness to be first.
Hebrews 5:12-14 ESV
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, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Some people just never grow up. Or is it that they don’t choose to grow up? They choose to act like children. They choose to act like infants. There are Christians all over the world, some are mature, but some are immature. Those immature Christians can give the religion a bad name. We can say we are a Christian without having and authentic and real relationship with God. That can give the wrong impression of what it means to be a Christian. What it means to be a Christian is to love and to glorify God. Not simply to practice a religion.
Can you say that your day to day life reflects Jesus? Some of you, can probably say yes. If you are honest, maybe the answer is no, or maybe it’s that you could have done better. A lot of people feel that they are more mature in Christ than they really are. What we need to remember is that the measure for this is not the good things we did, it’s God. We need to practice our lives in a fashion that always points to Jesus. We should strive to be like Jesus with everything we do.
Pastor Jason made the comparison that the Bible is not a self help book. It is the word of God written to transform our lives. How do we use it most effectively? Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Use it as much as you can in your every day life. If you aren’t doing this, you are conforming to this world.
God reshapes our beliefs through the Bible. Why is that important? As humans, we are sinners. That is why He sent His son for us right? To save us from our sins? The Bible is meant to be a guide for how to live our lives like Jesus. To teach us the truths of God’s word and his love for us and the people around us.
In order to live our lives around these truths, we have to grow up. We can’t continue to be infants. If you stay as infants, you are not going to grow, learn, be self sufficient. A disciple is someone who can breathe God’s word into others and bring them closer to God. This is one of the most important things we are called to do. We can’t teach others about God if we aren’t mature in Him ourselves. We need to approach this concept with a sense of urgency. It is and urgent matter that we strive for maturity in God so that we can spread Him through our lives.
2 Timothy 3: 16 ESV
All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness.
Notice that word above: profitable. What does it mean to be profitable? It means that you have a gain out of that action. It is worth while to learn the word of God. Our lives will be better if we do. It is LIVING word. It is God speaking to us. God’s word has to live within us and be evident in our lives for us to be able to spread that good news.
Let’s take a look at the Old Testament.
Nehemiah 8:5 ESV
And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood.
These people stayed and listened to the word of God for all day. Can you imagine standing there all day? They were engaged, they wanted to hear the word of God. They prioritized it. Our priorities need to be in order. And let me tell you, if God is not number 1 on your priority list, you need to adjust them. You need to prioritize God and he will breathe into every other aspect of your life. We need to approach God’s word, worship, church, with excitement. We should be jumping at the chance to talk about and worship God.
A lot of Christians are just going through the motions. That is what can keep us at the infancy stage. That is what can create moral confusion. If you aren’t studying and immersing yourself into the word of God, you don’t build up discernment. You can’t tell what is right and wrong. You need God to have an understanding of where those lines are blurred. Today it happens more and more often. In our society, we have to be strong and mature in our faith to be able to stand for what is right in the character of Jesus.
As we grow we respond to stimulus in a different way. When we are young we may react quickly, where as when we are older we may take our time, think about the consequences of our actions. We will act differently if we are mature in God as well. We will be able to hear from Him and know what is truly right and wrong. Can you imagine a world where people put down all of their selfish tendencies and can act in ways that are right and wrong according to God’s word. Man, what an amazing place we would live in. We should strive to make a difference every day. Not in our own priorities, but in the way we personify God and live out His word.
Have you ever heard the term dead works? They are things that are useless and have no eternal value. Unfortunately, there are a lot of so called Christians out there that are doing things they believe to be good, but they are actually doing dead works. They are spinning their wheels and not getting anywhere. This is what it’s life to be an infant in the Lord. Those that are still living off of milk, that are not mature in the Lord, will be surprised when they get to God.
Matthew 7: 22 ESV
On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?" And then will I declare to them, "I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."
If you are doing dead works, you will find yourself as one of these people. You have to do everything in your life with God’s guidance. How do we get his guidance? Listen for him with a heart of obedience. And how do we do that?? We grow closer to Him. We work to become mature in the Lord and learn to discern what is right and wrong and what God wants from us. We need to remember that God doesn’t need to work through us. He choose to work through us. He wants to see us grow and be mature in Him so that our life will be fulfilled.
Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Don’t be a lazy Christian. Don’t be lazy in the way that we live out the word of God. No matter what is happening in our lives, we need to use it to grow closer to God. Have you ever considered that the chaos in your life may be because you aren’t where you should be with God?
Some practical life advice from Pastor Jason on how to be ready to listen to the word of God:
Prepare yourself- pray. Ask God to prepare your heart and your mind for what He needs to say to you.
Prepare your environment- remove any distractions. Nothing is more important that Jesus. The phone isn’t more important. Nothing and no one is more important that Jesus.
There are so many ideas and voices out there today about what you should and shouldn’t do. Make sure you are listening to the right voice and living your life by it. It’s not by the news media, it’s not some influencer on Instagram, the right voice is and always will be God’s voice.