In our Sunday School class recently we have given a great deal of time and attention to the topic of maturity. It has created some interesting discussion for my husband and I at home too. One of our most recent discussions on the topic was particularly interesting to me, and so I decided to share here. How serious are we about maturity, and when is the price too high?
Firstly is the question of how serious we are about growing to full spiritual maturity. Most people would probably say they were serious about it. It is a serious topic afterall. To show a disinterestedness in such a topic would show both an attitude of immaturity and blatant ungodliness. Yet if we are truly honest with ourselves, just how serious are we? Are we serious enough to really make an effort? Are we serious enough to fight the urge to make excuses again this week? Are we serious enough to follow our conscience when the rest of the world grows deaper into ungodliness? Are we serious enough to stand up and be counted when it most matters? If need be, are we serious enough to stand alone in godliness and maturity?
I want to be completely serious about continuing to grow towards maturity. If I am truly honest I've let things slide recently in ways that should make me ashamed. I struggle with really making an effort. This is spiritual warfare, it is not meant to be easy. So some days I have to really commit to this process. It takes real effort to get into God's Word. It takes determination to hide God's Word in my heart. Mostly it takes effort and determination just to overcome my nature, for it is naturally lazy. Each day it is the same battle being fought over again. Yet each time I win it is not because of me, but the Lord in me. I have to learn the fine balance between my effort and the Lord's strength. On days that I fail I have to look at what went wrong, then guard myself from the same mistakes in the future. I must confess though that it can take a while for me to learn to guard an area of my life.
Then there is that wonderful minefield of excuses. We all walk through it from time to time, sometimes from hour to hour. There is always an excuse ready to go off if we want it to. All we have to do is stand on it. "It's too early in the morning, and you know I'm not a morning person." "It's my hormones!" "I just need some coffee first." "I was going to, but I just got distracted." "I forgot." "I didn't have time today." "I'm sorry, but..." Perhaps you have some others that are your favourite excuses. Just this morning I found myself using the "I'm not a morning person" excuse when my beloved husband tried to rush me before I had fully woken up, and I got grumpy. It really doesn't matter if I was still half asleep, and it was really still the middle of the night to me, I should not have been grumpy with him. He needed me to work faster so he could get to the office at a certain time. I should not have had a bad attitude about it. I was going too slow. If I want to grow to maturity I need to leave the excuses out. If I get it wrong I cannot justify it if I am going to apologise for it.
Standing alone, or just plain standing up for what is right, is getting into really serious territory. Yet so few of us are willing to do this. Sure we'll agree when others around us condem ungodliness. We will readily agree on the big topics, like abortion, homosexuality, prostitution, these are wrong. Then we watch sitcoms on TV that glamourise homosexuality, or we agree that it is perfectly alright to limit how many children we have, or we use sex as a reward, or withhold it as a punishment within our marriage. Are these not just as wrong for they come from the same heart attitude.
So are we willing to pay the price of maturity? Is there a price that is too high? How far is too far? Jesus himself said that if our eye causes us to sin we should pluck it out, for it is better to enter the kingdom of God with one eye rather than be cast into hell. Is that too much, too extreme? There are other things which to some may seem just as drastic a measure. The first one on our list was television. We didn't just cut out cable, we cut out all television. We still have the television, but it doesn't receive any signals. Instead we use it only for watching DVD's, and even then we are careful about what we watch. It is easier to guard the contents of a DVD collection, than to guard against inappropriate television programming. We don't watch anything new without getting a recommendation we can trust. We both also found television to be a terrible time waster. We don't have the luxury of hours upon hours of free time every day to spend it passively feeding our minds with ungodliness. Even the "harmless" sitcoms are not so harmless. When was the last time the husband was portrayed at the true head of the home? When are children ever respectful and obedient and still the hero? What about the internet? Is it just as much a time waster as television? I know I have to guard myself from too much time online. The content of what I read is good, but I have to limit my time. Sometimes I even have to set a timer, as I easily loose track of how long I've been online. The internet is a useful tool, but only when properly used. I want to grow in maturity, so I have to be disciplined. For some it may be they have to disconect for a while, like detoxing from an addiction. These are just two of the easiest examples. It could also be things that are seen as good, like books. Do you read "romance" novels, then find yourself discontent with your marriage. Even so called "Christian Romance" can do this. Our husband just isn't as perfect as the hero in the novel. Remember the hero isn't real, your husband is. Reading anything, no matter how good it is, if it takes away from time in God's Word is a distraction that will hold back maturity. I love books, but I found that I would open any book before I would turn to the Word. So I have to guard myself by not allowing myself to read anything until I have spend time that day studying God's Word. If I am serious then I have to be disciplined.
Is there too high a price to be paid for maturity? I don't think so. So far the price has always been outstripped by the rewards. What about you? Is there a price you won't pay for maturity in your life?
The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.