Maturing, Not Marking Time

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your emotional health?
The quality of your relationships? Your intellectual growth?
Your spiritual vitality? There are a number of criteria we use to
measure success—but these questions are not often among them.
Yet these are at the very heart and soul of human experience and
satisfaction. As the old story says, no one on their death bed is
likely to say, “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

As we continue in the Lenten season, let me remind us that God
desires to change us from the inside out. Two scriptures present
this amazing promise. First, Paul gives us a vision of our continual transformation when
he writes, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his
likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is
the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 RSV)

Second, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors
and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be
built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and
become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. …[And] we will
grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is,
Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-15 NIV)

Paul describes our transformation as becoming mature. We are not meant to mark time,
waiting for God’s call to heaven! We are to be maturing daily. But what does maturity look
like? Here is a portion of a list I developed that continually challenges me.
Maturity is the ability to count on yourself in Christ.
It is the end of wishing and the beginning of deciding;
the end of whining and the beginning of joy;
the end of weakness and the beginning of resilience through faith;
the end of drifting and the beginning of setting your own course;
the end of indecision and the beginning of determination;
the end of outer-dependence and the beginning of inner-directedness;
the end of living in fear and the beginning of living out of grace and love;
the end of needing thanks and the beginning of giving with no expectations;
the end of reactivity and the beginning of responding;
the end of anxious churning and the beginning of quiet trust.

What’s on your list? Let’s continue growing up together. See you in church!
Faithfully yours,

Doug