Distracted Maturity: The Way of Wisdom
Standing in line at a Dollar General with a hand full of items for a birthday party, I happened to look over at a shelf near the register. I couldn't help but chuckle out loud. The person in front of me turns, and then asks if I am seeing what they are seeing. Sure enough, on the shelf, a product was there, advertising that it would make cooking your instant ramen noodles more instant. That this earth shaking advance in cooking technology would cut the cook time in half! From a whopping two minutes, to a life-altering one minute max! To the few of us in line that day, this product was the epitome of our instant society today. However, due to everything being at our fingertips at an ever increasing rate, it seems many have forgotten that, with all of the advances in technology and convenience, there are still some things that just... take...time.
The life of the Christian is no different. Growth, maturity, and wisdom are all a steady process of time. Changes and fruit accomplished through volitional choices to walk in the Spirit. In an attempt to sum up the thoughts of the last several weeks, we turn to the third chapter of James, and meditate on the way of God's wisdom:
"Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." - James 3:13-18
I love the clarity of the Scriptures! Here we find that heavenly wisdom, wisdom from God, is SOWN. Anyone who has planted anything knows that the rate of growth for each crop is different, but they all consistently take time and diligence to see a harvest. The wisdom and maturity that God gives is no different. With each moment of every day, we must labor to surrender to God's process and plan. To invest in purity of mind and body. To seek peace with those around us. To strive for gentleness, in an increasingly volatile world, all while being humble enough to receive reproof when it comes. This pure, peaceable, gentle, and intreatable wisdom, will produce, not simply a desire to emulate the mercy of God to others, but will open doors to be able us access into the darkness of the lost and depraved souls around us. It will enable us to be real and tangible. This is lacking today in such devastating way. Folks on both sides of the spiritual divide yelling and screaming for dominance like a room full of toddlers fighting for attention. The result? Confusion, carnality, and chaos. It is true that we ought to stand for truth, and preach the message of the Gospel without compromise. Yet what excuse will we have, standing before Christ, knowing we neglected,in selfishness and self-righteousness, to reach the those that Christ came to die for?
How does this relate to the thought of patient maturity? Simply this. I believe that maybe, we are making mistakes in two areas. First, in being willingly wasteful of our time to make an impact on the next generation due to an infatuation with entertainment and amusement. Second, we are guilty of allowing carnality to define our ministry philosophies and personalities. We excuse crass behavior and carnal activity via personality quirks and cultural awareness, all the while claiming to be made new in Christ. If we are truly going to avoid the trap of spiritual immaturity, if we are going to embrace the challenge of reaching our spouse, our children, our family, our society with the only Hope of true change and redemption, it will be because today, in this moment we decide as individuals to invest in that which is Spiritual, and put aside, "every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us."
- Pastor Knight
Today's Bible Reading:
Hebrews 11:1 - 12:3
 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  For by it the elders obtained a good report.  Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.  By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.  But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.  By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as [in] a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:  For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker [is] God.  Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.  Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, [so many] as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.  These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.  By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [son],  Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:  Accounting that God [was] able to raise [him] up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.  By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.  By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, [leaning] upon the top of his staff.  By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.  By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw [he was] a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.  By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;  Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;  Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.  By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.  Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.  By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry [land]: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.  By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.  And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets:  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. [12:1] 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.