A Secret to My Spiritual Maturity

     It seems like everywhere we turn we encounter promises of instant whatever. It could be instant happiness, instant beauty, instant wealth… It does not matter what you desire in your lives someone somewhere has already promised you instant results and almost always with no effort. The Bible reminds us that there is no such thing as instant anything except for salvation through God’s grace!

     My men’s group had a wonderful discussion this week on what it takes to become a godly man. It was a powerful time as we looked at several disciplines of the faith that are required for spiritual growth. What we discussed was that each of these disciplines was of little effect until we, as men. made one choice. The choice was to take responsibility for our spiritual maturity.

     We live in a culture that is tempted into expecting others to do for us things that we can only do for ourselves. This is especially true of your spiritual growth. God has provided numerous resources that can greatly assist you in your development but they are of little to no value if you do not take responsibility for yourself.  I have seen in the lives of others and have also been guilty of treating Christianity as a check list to be completed.
It is easy to see the path to spiritual maturity as a ladder of requirements to be climbed. The challenge lies in the fact that you can do all the right things but miss one area that hinders your spiritual growth.

     Jesus speaks to us about this one vital area in each of our lives. “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”(Luke 6:45) Jesus presents two contrasting outcomes that both find their source in the same place, the human heart. Jesus answers the question for those desiring to know what kind of heart they have. Look at what you say. Now, do not be tricked here. Jesus is not talking about what could be called our public presentation, you know, what we tell and portray to others, like we have it all together. No, Jesus is talking about what comes out of our mouths when something unexpected happened. What thoughts enter your mind, or are spoken, when someone cuts you off driving? What goes through your mind when you hit your thumb with a hammer? What is the focus of language when you are frustrated with another person?

     Now, we want to be careful here not to confuse temptation with sin. The temptation might be to give the other driver a hand gesture, that is the temptation, but temptation is not sin. It does become a sin when you go ahead and follow through. The secret, that we often miss, that keeps us from experiencing the maturity that God has for us, is a result of not focusing on our own heart.

     If you and I are going to experience spiritual development then we need to decide to work on our heart, the way that we think. This means identifying those areas of life that are bringing us down. Something as seemingly innocent as social media can be our downfall. It could also be the words or actions of another. It is always harder to take responsibility for our own thoughts, words and actions. But it is something that we must do if we are going to grow.

     I was encouraged to hear our men share examples of how they have taken the battle for spiritual maturity to its core by focusing on their own hearts. How about you? The secret to your spiritual maturity is focusing on you heart!

-Pastor Joe Parkinson

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