Tuesday, August 27, 2013
At What Point Are You?
On a mission trip some years ago, while bemoaning the behavior of some acquaintances (other missionaries we knew), a good friend, himself a second generation missionary, made that observation about all of us: "we're all at different points in our Christian process." Though not excusing improper behavior, it's a valid comment on Christian maturity. I know few mature Christians who are fully satisfied with their Christian walk. Those who claim to be satisfied make me quite suspicious, actually; so I'm skeptical of anyone who claims to be. The Christian life is indeed a process. We come to a saving knowledge of Christ and then should begin to grow in that relationship; becoming more like Him as we go—at least that's the way it should be working. In that respect, we're truly all at different points in our process and that process can be frustrating.
I'm most often frustrated with my own point in point in the process. When I start getting one part right, another seems to slip. I get that back to looking something like it should and something else falls behind...it's a never ending job trying to keep it all together—and I work pretty hard at it. It's only by God's grace that I keep together what does stay together.
Another of my frustrations is that I didn't get serious about my spiritual life until I was a bit over 30—my life was pretty much unremarkable, nothing to take note of. When I see young men aggressively pursuing the things of the Lord, I'm thrilled; though regret my own sluggishness in getting real about my own life until I was older—so much time lost. I’m also frustrated by the other young men who are doing what I did—not that they’re bad; they’re just ho-hum. I regret that ho-hum time.
As frustrated as I get with myself, at least I recognize a few my own failings. It is yet more frustrating to see those who think that they have "arrived" cease to learn, grow, or be obedient to the Word. These are often among my friends who are vocal about their beliefs, but live and behave in ways highly contrary—and often very visibly so—to it. My statement to them is that God will not honor you if you fly in the face of His laws. Some have heeded the advice, others have not. Some of these friends boldly profess their faith, pointing out the error they see in others (possibly valid criticisms), while openly living wrongly—often arguably more in the wrong than those they criticize.
Some of these are dear friends who have not recognized that faith and obedience are linked (Romans 1). Though salvation comes by grace through faith alone, growth comes through obedience; obedience through knowledge; knowledge through teaching and diligent study. When that part of the process is neglected the point in the process is a fixed point. At what point are you?