Thursday, January 25, 2018

Transformed to Glory

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me" (1 Corinthians 13:11).

There is growth in the Christian life. The final end of that growth comes when we are face to face with God and are transformed fully into glory. As Paul writes, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

One of the problems we run into all the time in the evangelical Christian world is the attitude that says, “I don’t want to learn theology. I don’t need to study. I just want to preserve my childlike faith. I want to keep it simple.” This is not an expression of Christian maturity.

Childish behavior is totally appropriate for children. If, for instance, a small child has an imaginary friend, that does not concern us. If an adult has an imaginary friend, however, we should be very much concerned. Now, the Bible does indeed call us to be like children in one sense. We are to have a childlike spirit of trust and confidence in our heavenly Father. But there is a great difference between being childlike and being childish. Our Father desires for us to grow in our knowledge and obedience to Him. He wants us to mature.

It takes time for fruit to come to fullness. This is true in the realm of persons and of spiritual growth as well. Today it seems as if everyone wants to short-cut this process. We want “five easy lessons to be an effective Christian.” This is simply not possible.

For fruit to mature, it has to be nurtured. There is no substitute for the classical biblical way of Christian maturity. It is through gradual growth, nurtured in the context of active participation in the sacraments and community of the church, through study of the Word, and by means of prayer, obedience, and service.

Each aspect of the fruit of the Spirit is nurtured through personal relationships. If you are to be transformed by this fruit, it is vital for you to have small group interaction and accountability with fellow believers. Because Christian character does not develop in a void, take the initiative to become involved in a regular small group fellowship.