Apr 6, 2011

Spiritual Adulthood

Abigail and Dolley readers as many of you know, I lost my job at the end of January.  After a lifetime of full time work, I have struggled mightily with unemployment but the Lord knew what He was doing.  He knew that I was exhausted and had reached the end of myself.  I needed this break for more reasons than I care to admit and He has sustained me during this time.  I believe I have caught up on hundreds of hours of lost sleep but more importantly hundreds of hours of lost prayer time.

He has used this time to bring me back into full fellowship with Him.  I had been distant from the Lord for quite some time and relying solely on myself.  This has changed and I have returned full force to an every breathe dependency on the Lord.  What is different this time though is that I am no longer a spiritual child or teen.  I have moved into full blown spiritual adulthood.

Adulthood is marked by an understanding of God's Sovereignty while still believing in His promises.  It is putting off the pettiness and testing of the adolescent years and recognizing that His ways are not our ways and His thought are higher than our thoughts.  Adulthood also means we stop trying to manipulate God by striking bargains with Him - if you do this, I will do this or "putting out fleeces", if you make this happen then I will know what to do.  In spiritual childhood, I unfortunately fell in with the "Name it and Claim it" crowd that assert if a promise is in God's Word you can bind Him to make that promise come true for you.  This is a dangerous doctrine and does much to destroy the faith of baby Christians.  I have to admit I have a fair few spirituals scars from this false teaching.

As we enter adulthood either in the natural or the spiritual many of us carry a lot of baggage from childhood and our teen years that we have to work through and throw off.  I have been doing a lot of that lately.  I used to believe that there was a place that I was going to arrive and that I was going to stay there.  There is no such place while we inhabit this body.  We will always strive and struggle but the important thing is to just keep going.  Some days and seasons will be easy and others will be full of suffering, that is just life.

I think the essence of Spiritual adulthood can be manifested in the story found in Daniel 3.  It is a famous story where three young Jewish men, who were chosen to be rulers in Babylon refuse to bow down and worship a statue.  They are called before the king and face certain death.  Look closely at what they say,

 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

Don't you admire their answer?  They say we do not need to defend our faith to unbelievers.  God is able, He will do it, but even if He does not we will not be moved.  When you can say this with peace and rest in your heart my friends that is when you know you have reached adulthood.