Becoming Mature Like Jesus!
Ephes. 4:11-16 [Msg]
11He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher 12to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, 13until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. 14No prolonged infancies among us, please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. 15God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. 16He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.
Ephes. 4:11-16 [NLT]
11He is the one who gave these gifts to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ, 13until we come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature and full grown in the Lord, measuring up to the full stature of Christ. 14Then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. 15Instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16Under his direction, the whole body is fitted together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Max Lucado introduced a new book with the words: “God loves you just the way you are, but he refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be…just like Jesus.”
1. Becoming Mature Like Jesus Is a POSSIBILITY.
Every Christian has the potential for becoming a spiritual masterpiece-a person who bears the image of Christ. God tells us in His Word that He intends for each of us to become more like His Son.
One day the famous French sculptor Rodin was approached by a very enthusiastic tourist who had viewed his major works in Paris. "Oh, Mr. Rodin," she fluttered, "is it difficult to sculpt?" "Not at all, madam," replied the master. "You simply buy a block of marble and chip away what you do not want." Simple? Yes! Easy? No!
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was one of the great poets of the 19th century with works such as "Evangeline" and "The Song of Hiawatha." In the midst of his successes, though, were two great sorrows -- the death of his first wife in Holland, and then, years later, the loss of his second wife in a fire at home. Once, not long before his death at age seventy-five, someone asked him how he continued to write so beautifully and remain so vigorous. Longfellow responded by pointing to an apple tree that was in full bloom and said, "That is a very old apple tree, but the blossoms this year seem more beautiful than ever before. That old tree grows a little new wood each year, and I suppose it is out of the new wood that these blossoms come. Like the apple tree, I try to grow a little new wood each year."
2. Becoming Mature Like Jesus Is a PROMISE.
“I am a Promise…I am a Possibility!”
I am a promise God made to Himself He spoke me into being How then can not become All He intends me to be? I did not design me He did And I am designed For His pleasure How then can I fail to please Him?
I am a promise God made to Himself And since God is faithful To keep His word To watch over it Until it comes to fulfillment How then can I fail To become All He intends me to be?—by Joan Wilson
3. Becoming Mature Like Jesus Is a PLAN.
WHOSE SEED? A seed is planted./ When watered, it grows./ A light is provided./ Unto mankind it shows/ The benefits of a Loving/ Father and King,/ The Righteousness unto life/ He will bring./ Rise up, O small seedling,/ In glory and praise,/ Rise up and be known/ For the Father's good ways./ Rise up and rejoice/ Over man's kindly deeds,/ Rise up and be known/ As the Father's good seeds./ None can inherit/ 'Less planted they've been,/ None can inherit/ 'Less waters they've gained./ Planted, and watered,/ Diligently trimmed,/ Only then can the Father/ Welcome within./ His kingdom is Righteous,/ His plans He'll unveil/ In slow, sure, unfolding/ Of the blossom's glad tale.--Barbara Erb
In the rough, a diamond looks like a common pebble, but after it is cut, its hidden beauty begins to emerge. Even then, the stone must undergo a finishing process to bring out its full radiance. This is accomplished by a skilled craftsman who holds the gem against the surface of a large grinding wheel, since no other substance is hard enough to polish the stone. This process may take a long time, depending on the quality desired by the one who will wear it. If the diamond is being prepared for a king or for some other prominent person, great care and many hours are spent perfecting it What a picture of the way God works with us! The procedure is not pleasant, nor is it intended to be. The Divine Workman, however, has our final glory in view.
4. Becoming Mature Like Jesus Is a PROCESS.
The eagle always builds her nest in the tallest trees or on the loftiest mountain ledges. Someone who has observed this majestic bird constructing her home relates that she first lays down briers, jagged stones, and all kinds of sharp objects which would seem to be unsuited for her purpose. She then covers this structure with a thick layer of wool, feathers, and the fur of animals she has killed. This makes the nesting place soft and comfortable--a delightful sanctuary where she may hatch her young. But the eaglets will not remain in their inviting cradle for long. The day will come when the mother will stir up the nest. With her sharp talons she will tear away some of the soft, downy lining so that her little ones will feel the sharp edges underneath. Up to this time, their food has been dropped into their mouths, but now the young birds become so miserable that they are willing to get out and begin looking for their own. This is the mother's objective. She is not being cruel, but is instinctively producing discontent with the old life of ease and spurring them on to full development.
THE ZIGZAG PATH--We climbed the height by the zigzag path/ And wondered why -- until/ We understood it was made zigzag/ To break the force of the hill./ A road straight up would prove too steep/ For the traveler's feet to tread;/ The thought was kind in its wise design/ Of a zigzag path instead./ It is often so in our daily life;/ We fail to understand/ That the twisting way our feet must tread/ By love alone was planned./ Then murmur not at the winding way,/ It is our Father's will/ To lead us Home by the zigzag path,/ To break the force of the hill.--Author unknown