Week of September 14, 2008 ~ Spiritual Maturity
But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. ~Luke 8:15
How loving Jesus was in His teachings to His initial disciples, preparing them for their witness, their journeys, their trials. He met them where they were and desired for them to retain His messages for their benefit and for the Kingdom’s.
Just as Jesus desired for them to be good soil, He desires us to be fortified in Him, to grow and to operate in maturity so that we can be productive in the marketplace and reap a great Kingdom harvest.
The dictionary defines maturity as being fully grown or developed, fully worked out, ripe, having maximum flavor and in a desired condition.
To acquire maturity, we must experience a development process, which can be long and painful. As Jesus said in the above parable, we must persevere through trials, a testing of our faith, in order to produce a crop.
Thankfully, our Heavenly Father doesn’t have us journey through trials longer than necessary. He holds the exact maturity recipes for each of us, and He knows right when and how to release each one to make us more palatable. The question is, Are we malleable to His ways?
Though it feels unpleasant, perseverance leads us to wisdom, unity, stability and peace, all qualities of maturity (1 Cor. 2:6, Eph. 4:13-14). We get through the journey by actions of faith with the Holy Spirit guiding us in God’s assurance, discipline, consistency, discernment and forgiveness (Col. 4:12, Heb. 5:14, Phil. 3).
Surely, these are worthy attributes to pursue. It requires a willingness to be teachable and committed. We must decide whether we will be thorny soil and do it our way, not reaping the Lord’s finest, or good soil and obedient to Christ, which reaps prizes of greater glory and harvest, not lacking anything (Phil. 3:14, James 1:4).
Another definition for maturity is maximum relief.
When I consider maximum relief, what comes to mind is a beautiful relief sculpture that has been created by intense pressure and pounding. Although the process of testing and trying doesn’t feel beautiful, through it, the Lord creates a beautiful and bold work for display and function. Get the picture?
The dictionary also defines maturity as having reached a previously set or agreed upon time limit, thus due for payment or repayment, much like bonds in the financial marketplace.
Indeed, maturity is a reward that we can choose to receive while going through trials. Just like a bond matures consistently over time, so will we if we remain in the Lord during times of trial. We will become a more valuable asset in our mature state to be used for gain in the marketplace. In other words, as Christians, God will be able to use us in greater ways for His Kingdom purposes. And remember too that, in due time, the enemy must repay us for anything he has stolen.
After three years of persevering through abasement, I recently received a prophetic word from the Lord saying, “I have brought you up to a higher height in Me. It is time for you to walk in something new and greater.”
Let us not miss God’s higher heights. Let us remember the next time we go through a trial to count it all as joy, as in James 1:2-4. The Lord is surely working in us to produce a complete, mature asset so that we can produce a greater Kingdom harvest for Him. We are His investments, and we are priviledged to work for Him.