This title is a question I regularly ask myself.
As Christians, we are supposed to be aware of the need for progressive sanctification. We all must acknowledge our sin, and the need of a saviour and to be born again due to our faith in Christ.
But, just as a baby becomes a child and a teenager and then an adult we are expected by our Heavenly Father to grow in spiritual maturity.
I have been a Christian for many years, but willingly acknowledge I have untold lessons to learn from the word of God.
I have determined there are three things that I must focus on to maintain and increase my spiritual discernment.
The Inward Look We are challenged each time we have communion to examine ourselves, see 1 Corinthians 11:27-32, but I believe the influence of the world on our morality and attitudes requires us to look constantly at ourselves.
King David had many issues in his life to deal with, and if we consider Psalm 51 we can see his desire to be right with God.
Jesus constantly taught that we must search ourselves, read Matthew 7:1-5. We must look at ourselves, understanding that we are naturally sinful.
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” – 1 John 1:5-10 (KJV).
The Upward Look. We are promised that troubles will come. “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” Job 5:7 (KJV).
It is how we handle them that defines spiritual maturity. We must look to God the Father in every instance. See, for example, Psalm 20:1-9.
Our testimony is under the greatest scrutiny when we face trials, but God will always provide an answer.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” – Hebrews 12:1-3 (KJV).
And, He will always provide a means of escape.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV).
We are also encouraged to pray without ceasing. See 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
The Outward Look. As a Christian, we have been given spiritual responsibilities and instructions from the word of God, and it is required of us that we grow in maturity.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11 (KJV).
We must be busy in the world zealous of good works.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” – Titus 2:11-15 (KJV).
The question is always “How can I serve my Lord and my Master?”
“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” – Isaiah 6:8 (KJV).
The answer is plain.
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew 28:18-20 (KJV).
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About the author
Barrie Hanson lives in Bluff, Southland. He has been a Christian for over 40 years and in that time he has been a preacher, Pastor and a church helper in both Auckland and Hamilton.
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