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Mature Beyond the Gospel?

With the close of another year, now seems a perfect time to reflect on the blessings of the previous year while asking the Lord what may be requested of me in the coming year. As I look back and ahead, my own spiritual growth is something worth examining. Have I grown closer to the Lord in the past twelve months? Do I know and love Him more? Do I see any fruit from a life devoted to Him?  Have I become more loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled (Gal 5:22-23)?  (Perhaps I should ask my wife! :-))  As I look ahead to 2012, desiring to make the most of the time (Eph. 5:15-16), pursuing spiritual maturity, and longing for increased depth in my intimacy with the Lord; what should I focus on and how do I get there?

As we read the Bible, it is clear that spiritual growth is expected. We see Paul urging disciples to not just receive the basics of the faith and stop, but to continue growing in the Lord. “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Phil 1:9-10). The writer of Hebrews even rebukes those who seem content to stop growing, “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food...” (Heb. 5:12-14). Other passages also reiterate that our growth should be ongoing to full maturity. [1]

As I have read these passages in the past, at times I have subconsciously assumed that they meant I should pursue those things that are deeper, “advanced,” unknown, and perhaps even controversial. Somehow I could (or should?) grow past John 3:16 and “Jesus loves me this I know…” becoming a “theologian” of sorts (perhaps being a bit unsure of what that even meant). This is not to suggest that I didn’t care about or highly value these “basics,” but that I was perhaps pursuing something beyond them in the name of growth. Recently, however, I have seen my error in this.

As I consider my desired spiritual growth in 2012, I want to stress that it will focus on Jesus and His Gospel. I simply cannot attempt to move beyond Him, as if there were anything richer, deeper, or more fulfilling. I love how Packer and Parrett put it, “We believe, rather, that it is imperative to think of moving on from the “milk” of the Gospel to the “meat” of the Gospel.” [2] Oh, how I pray that in 2012 I may grow in the depth of understanding of the "meat" of the Gospel of Jesus. I pray for the Holy Spirit to continue His transforming work in my life, demonstrated through Spiritual fruit and a life of faithful obedience. And I pray that I may have the heart and courage to share Jesus with any many as I can. I pray the same is true for you.

“For I didn’t think it was a good idea to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2).

Happy New Year’s... For His Glory!


[1] Verses include: 1 Cor. 3:1-2, Eph. 4:13-14, Phil. 1:25, Phil. 3:12, 15, Col. 2:2-6, 1 Tim. 4:7, Heb. 6:1, 1 Peter 1:5, and 2 Peter 3:18.

[2] J.I. Packer and Gary Parrett, Grounded in the Gospel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2010), 96.

23 comments (Add your own)

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3. Adi wrote:
Hi Rachel -Mirlene is pretty htaelhy and doing well. I don't have any additional info for you .... she is a calm and sweet girl and seems ready to become a mom. I wrote more about Alloune in a previous comment.Chelsea -Lourdes Milla is finally htaelhy. She is due October 5. She is the comedian at the Harbor House. She had planned to go live with her Mom after the baby is born but is now asking to stay at HH. We have some big decisions to make there and we appreciate prayers for her labor and delivery and bonding to her baby. The Dad of the baby is no longer in the picture.Esther's baby is breech. We have done everything we can to get the baby to turn. The certified midwives are praying about whether or not to deliver her if she remains breech. Lots to pray about there.

Thu, March 8, 2012 @ 12:21 PM

4. Successful wrote:
I went decemeber 2007 to visit falimy and to spread the gospel and one thing I've noticed in many cubans is their hearts are so keen to understand Christ, needless to say we all need to pray for this land, it needs revival and the people know it, as long as we keep on acting and helping those who have received Christ with resources God will suply the rest, I have seen this first hand when I went- The people listening were so interested on this biblical christ that they decided to accept him as their Lord and Saviour, needless to say- we can do more- and prayer is essential.Shalom,Annie

Thu, March 8, 2012 @ 7:11 PM

5. Daisy wrote:
The issue with the prayer, which you state, “Nobody, and I praeet NOBODY, is telling christian they can not pray.” but you are, you are telling teachers they can not pray with thier students, coaches can not pray with their playersI (and the constitution) am saying that in their capacity as a government official, they can not give preference to any religion over other religions or no religion. This does not stop them from praying. It only stops them from pushing the prayers of one religion on to other people who are using those government services.I am sorry but that is not what our fore fathers had intended.You should read some of the original drafts of the First Amendment. They were much more watered down than the final version that was adopted by Congress and put into our Constitution. In fact by reading what was NOT adopted, it becomes quite clear what the founders really intended.You are neglecting a persons right to pray just because of where they workNot at all. I'm supporting the rights of others using government services to not have a religion pushed on them by government officials. If you work in government there is nothing saying that outside of your job as a government official or employee you are unable to pray as much as you like. But in your role as a government employee, the constitution prevents you from favoring any religion over others or over no religion.If a student just informed the teacher or coach that they do not believe in god and does not want to participate in the prayer, then I’m sure the teacher/coach wouldn’t have an issue with thatYou need to read the news more often. There are many cases where students are pressured in to religious observation they do not want to be part of.the issue is when children are not allowed to hold prayers at school and as I school district employee I can tell you there were times when students were not allowed to pray even on their own.That is wrong. If a student on their own wants to pray in school, they should have that right. They are not a representative of the school (and by proxy the government).

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