The way that we think reveals much about who we are as a person. It is tempting when making a purchase to determine what to buy based on the monthly cost. This is really an immature way of thinking. A person that is mature will factor in a number of aspects before making a purchase like need, valve and true cost. The Bible reminds us that there is a difference in the thinking of between the immature and mature follower of Jesus.
The Apostle Paul, writing to followers of Jesus, emphasizes the need for mature thinking. We read “Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.” (Philippians 3:15) There is a difference in the way that mature followers think. The truth is that immature thinking will significantly limit your spiritual growth and development. It is like trying to walk dragging a heavy load. Yes, you make progress, but it is limited. The load may prevent your from making any progress at all, it makes progress much harder than it needs to be. The Apostle touches on several areas that distinguish the mature from the immature believer.
A mature follower grasps “salvation by grace through faith!” Dealing with breaking the bondage to a faith that is of our definition and making Paul writes, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Philippians 3:8) It is said that we often sacrifice what is best on the altar of what is good. A mature person embraces the significance of our relationship with Jesus. This becomes a key motivator to mature thinking.
A mature believer grasps “forgiveness for sin, past, present and future!” Forgiveness reveals our moral imperfection. Paul writes, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”(Philippians 3:12) A mature believer embraces their humility, there are no perfect people. All of us are works in progress. A mature believer deals with sin and moves on in their relationship with Jesus. They give things “to the Lord” and move on rather than holding onto a past that cannot be changed.
A mature believer forgives themselves and moves on in the Lord. Paul again writes, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,” (Philippians 3:13) The Bible provides us with direction for getting back on track when we have blown it. A mature follower addresses issues with themselves and others and move on. This takes work on our part. We naturally focus on the past and find a certain degree of enjoyment for wallowing in our sorrow. A mature believer presses forward.
A mature believer establishes spiritual goals for their life. It is said, “When you aim at nothing you hit it every time!” Paul writes, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Paul was working towards milestone that would honor the Lord. He focused on being the person that Jesus wants him to be. A mature person has a spiritual destination for their life.
So how about you? You will never move forward until you let go of that anchor from your past. You will never move forward until you forgive yourself. You cannot change the past, but you do have a say in the future. And a mature believer gets there by working towards developing the “spiritual practices” of a mature follower of Jesus. It all begins with mature thinking.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson