Spiritual fitness
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Answering the Question: If I am a Christian, why Do I still struggle?. Spiritual Fitness. A Guide to Biblical Maturity. Looking at the problem. “Basically my wife was immature. I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats!” (Woody Allen)

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Spiritual fitness

Answering the Question:

If I am a Christian, why

Do I still struggle?

Spiritual Fitness

A Guide to Biblical Maturity


Looking at the problem

Looking at the problem

“Basically my wife was immature.

I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats!” (Woody Allen)

The promise: Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Looking at the problem1

Looking at the Problem

Consider what God intended in our lives (Dennis Rainey)

  • Infants

  • Children

  • Adolescents

  • Adults

  • Mentors

  • Patriarchs

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Hearing and doing

Hearing and Doing

EZE 33:30 "As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, `Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Hearing and doing1

Hearing and doing

LK 6:46"Why do you call me, `Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Hearing and doing2

Hearing and Doing

  • LK 8:21 He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice.“

  • Philippians 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Hearing and doing3

Hearing and Doing

LK 8:11 "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Maturity matters

Maturity matters

  • Studies indicate that the majority of people never fully mature.

  • Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly [fleshly]--mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly [fleshly]--. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly [fleshly]--? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


The church at corinth

The Church at Corinth

  • Could not understand the “solid” food of Scripture

  • Involved in “hero worship”

  • Questioned leadership

  • Tolerated immorality

  • Unable to make spiritual decisions

  • Were unloving

  • Abused gifts

  • Misunderstood doctrine (resurrection)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


John s note

John’s note

John

For four years I have put up with your yelling and complaining. You keep saying you’ll try harder, but I don’t see any change. I’m sorry, but I’m leaving. –Cherie

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Recent survey

Recent Survey

  • Most Christians equate spiritual maturity with following the rules.

  • Most churchgoers are not clear what their church expects in terms of spiritual maturity.

  • Most Christians offer one-dimensional views of personal spiritual maturity.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Recent survey1

Recent Survey

  • Most pastors struggle with feeling the relevance as well as articulating a specific set of objectives for spirituality, often favoring activities over attitudes.

  • Pastors are surprisingly vague about the biblical references they use to chart spiritual maturity for people.

    Barna, George. www.Barna.org. Many Churchgoers and Faith Leaders Struggle to Define Spiritual Maturity. Internet article, faith/spirituality. May 2009.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


The steps

The Steps

1. Warm up

  • De-bunking the myths

  • Taking an assessment

  • Being motivated

    2. Meet the Trainers

    3. Measure Your Progress

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Get real eliminating the myths of maturity

Get Real – eliminating the myths of Maturity

  • Maturity is modeled by parents

  • Maturity is age related

  • Maturity is a all or nothing product’

  • Maturity never regresses

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Get real eliminating the myths of maturity1

Get Real – eliminating the myths of Maturity

  • Maturity is directly proportional to what we know

  • Maturity is easier for some personalities.

  • Maturity can be achieved without a relationship with Jesus

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Maturity defined secularly

Maturity Defined Secularly

  • A movement from dependence and independence to interdependence

  • A shift from egocentricity to other-centricity

  • From passivity to pro-activity

  • From pleasure centered to purpose centered

  • From acquisition of knowledge to application

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Maturity defined

Maturity defined

  • And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

  • And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. . . to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, . . . (Romans 8:28-29)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Maturity is

Maturity is:

  • To respond to our surrounding environment with the same heart, perspective, insight, and impact that Jesus has.

  • To represent what God looks like to those who have never seen him.

  • To develop and exhibit the skills necessary to negotiate life successfully.

  • To become in character all that God expects.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Caution

Caution

Growing

Is

Different than Changing

  • Growing is long term refinement towards a goal

  • Change requires immediate attention

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Why is putting away childish things so hard

Why is putting away childish things so hard?

  • When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

    (I Corinthians 13:11)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Why is putting away childish things so hard1

Why is putting away childish things so hard?

  • Ignorance

  • Denial

  • Pride

  • Laziness

  • Impatience

  • Overwhelmed

  • Fear

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Taking the test

Taking the Test


Examine yourself the tests of

Examine Yourself – the tests of:

  • Contrast

  • Application

  • Freedom

  • Stability

  • Control

  • Ageing

  • Direction

  • Transition

  • Insight/wisdom

  • The tongue

  • Mending

  • Endurance

  • Adversity

  • Solution

  • Motive

  • Prayer

  • witness

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Contrast

Contrast

  • The immature have a way of speaking, thinking and reasoning.

    When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (1Corinthians 13:11)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Application

Application

  • The immature cannot use God’s Word to meet needs and settle life’s issues

    We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews. 5:11 -14)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Stability

Stability

  • The mature have spiritual stability.

    Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. (Ephesians 4:14)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Freedom

Freedom

  • The mature have no need of direct supervision

    What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. . . 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.

    (Galatians 4:1)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Control

Control

  • Mature people evidence the control of the Spirit

    Galatians 5:22-23

    Ephesians 5:18-21

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Fruit of the spirit

Fruit of the Spirit

  • Love: Non-possessively caring for others in a proactive way that puts their needs above your own.

  • Joy: Allowing a smile of contentment to spread over your spirit, even when things are not going your way.

  • Peace: Experiencing a freedom from inner conflict in all circumstances.

  • Patience: Being able to wait without irritation and comment for people in your life.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Fruit of the spirit1

Fruit of the Spirit

  • Kindness: Expressing a tenderness and sensitivity, even when expressing the truth about a difficult matter.

  • Goodness: Exhibiting moral excellence in every activity with the goal of doing beneficial things in the lives of those around.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Fruit of the spirit2

Fruit of the Spirit

  • Faithfulness: Reflecting God’s “you can count on me” character in all circumstances and in such a way that people around you feel like they can depend on you.

  • Gentleness: Exhibiting the softer elements of strength under control.

  • Self-control: Expressing self-mastery in your use of your time, habits, and personal resources.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Ageing

Ageing

  • As the mature age, they reveal the process of maturing

    You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women . . . (Titus 2:1-4)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Direction

Direction

  • The mature live their lives in God’s will

    • Romans 12:1-2

      God’s Word teaches 22 aspects of God’s will.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will

God’s Will

1. When we are without words in moments of suffering, the Holy Spirit is praying for it. (Romans 8:26-27)

2. God’s will involves a giving of ourselves to Him. (2 Corinthians 8:5)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will1

God’s Will

3. God wants us to live moral lives. (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

4. It is God’s will to give thanks in everything.

  • give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will2

God’s Will

5. God wants us to be doing good.

  • It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (I Peter 3:17)

    6. God’s will may take us out of the comfort zone into a time of suffering.

  • So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:19)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will3

God’s Will

7. God wants some to serve in special ways.

  • Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, (1 Corinthians 1:1)

    8. He wants us to live up to the standard made possible by Christ. (Galatians 1:3-5)

    9. God has revealed his will to us. (Ephesians 1:3-10)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will4

God’s Will

10. We are expected to understand his will. 

  • Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:15-18)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will5

God’s Will

11. We are expected to practice God’s will at work. 

  • Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. (Ephesians 6:6)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will6

God’s Will

12. God is at work in us to accomplish what he desires. 

  • PHIP 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will7

God’s Will

13. Knowledge of his will should produce a life that is pleasing to him. (Colossians 1:9-14)

14. We can pray for this kind of will. 

  • Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. (Colossians 4:12)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will8

God’s Will

15. God gifted us according to what he wants accomplished.

  • God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Hebrews 2:4 )

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will9

God’s Will

16. God equips us to do his will.

  • May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will10

God’s Will

17. Our lives should be lived according to God’s will. 

  • Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (I Peter 4:1-2)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will11

God’s Will

18. Doing God’s will has eternal value.

  • The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 2:17)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will12

God’s will

19. God grants prayers about his will.

  • This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him. (I John 5:14-15)

    20. God will reward those who do his will to the end. 

  • To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—(Revelation 2:26)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will13

God’s Will

21. We should pray for his will.

"This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. ” (Matthew 6:9-10)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s will14

God’s Will

22. There is a formula to discovering God’s will. 

  • Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Transition

Transition

  • The mature are becoming someone

    Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 1:1)

    For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Insight wisdom

Insight/Wisdom

  • The process of maturity yields insight and wisdom

    My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,:2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:1-6)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


The tongue

The tongue

  • The mature have a way of controlling their communication.

    We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. (James 3:2)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Mending

Mending

  • The mature can be useful in mending others

    Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, 5 for each one should carry his own load. (Galatians 6:1-5)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Endurance

Endurance

  • The mature endure well under hardship

    Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

    (James 1:1-4)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Adversity

Adversity

  • The mature have God’s view on adversity

    . . .Be perfect [mature], therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect [mature]. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Solution

Solution

  • The mature are peace makers

    “. . . .But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:13 – 18)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Motive

Motive

  • The mature have love as their motive in life.

    If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Prayer

Prayer

  • Mature people have an active prayer life.

    But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.

    (Jude 1:20-21)

    The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Peter 4:7)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Prayer1

Prayer

Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.“ (Luke 11:1)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Witness

Witness

  • The mature actively share their faith.

    But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.“ (Acts 1:8)

    Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:5-6)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Review of the tests

Review of the Tests

  • Have given up acting like children and by contrast act like adults.

  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the truths of God’s Word to the practical matters of life.

  • Demonstrate the ability to be self starters who work without direct supervision.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Review of the tests1

Review of the Tests

  • Demonstrate stability in their lives.

  • Demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit and his control in their lives.

  • Demonstrate the discovery of God’s will in tangible ways.

  • Demonstrate balanced growth in their life as they add to their faith character qualities consistent with being like Christ.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Review of the tests2

Review of the Tests

  • Demonstrate discernment about the Bible and spiritual matters.

  • Demonstrate the control of the tongue.

  • Demonstrate the ability to mend others.

  • Demonstrate as they grow older the healthy results of having been taught the Word.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Review of the tests3

Review of the Tests

  • Demonstrate an endurance in times of stress and pressure.

  • Demonstrate a mature attitude toward those who oppose them.

  • Demonstrate the ability to make sound decisions.

  • Demonstrate unconditional love.

  • Demonstrate a life of prayer and witness

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Getting motivated

Getting motivated


Getting motivated1

Getting motivated

  • Take the Medicine

  • Exorcise the Excuses

  • Change what needs changing

  • Remove the distractions

  • Start with your poorest scores

  • Stay in the polisher

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Meet the trainers

Meet the Trainers

  • Trainer #1:People

  • Trainer #2:Pain

  • Trainer #3:God Himself

  • Trainer #4: Body of Christ

  • Trainer #5:The Bible

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Trainer 1 people

Trainer #1 People

The time to make friends is before you need them (John Wooden)

We need to learn to love people and use things rather than loving things and using people. (John Powell)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


People

People

  • COL 1:28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. 29 To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

  • PHP 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


People1

People

  • PHP 3:17 Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

  • HEB 13:7 Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


People2

People

  • 1TH 1:6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 7 And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


People looking for the person

People – Looking for the person

Find someone:

  • who is further down the path than you are

  • You can trust with your deepest thoughts and feelings

  • Who is available

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


People looking for the person1

People – Looking for the person

Find someone:

  • Who knows the Lord and the Word

  • Who will tell you the truth

  • Of the same gender

    Give the person permission.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Trainer 2 pain

Trainer #2 Pain

The measure of a man’s success is not his accomplishment, but what he has overcome. (Johnny Miller)

Those who have character have stayed through the pain. (Phillip Howard)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Pain the myths we believe

Pain – the myths we believe

  • Bad things are the result of God’s punishment in our lives.

  • A life lived “right” will be devoid of suffering.

  • All suffering is the result of God’s direct intervention (He is the source of all suffering).

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Spiritual fitness

Pain

  • RO 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Spiritual fitness

Pain

  • JAS 1:2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Spiritual fitness

Pain

  • 1PE 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Attitude of the mature in suffering

Attitude of the Mature in suffering

1PE 2:18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. . .But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

1PE 2:22 "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."

1PE 2:23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Preparing for suffering

Preparing for suffering

  • Make friends before you need them.

  • Develop a consistent prayer life.

  • Develop a knowledge of God’s Word which will enable you to draw upon God’s encouragement.

  • Give people permission to minister to you. (Allow others to love you)

  • Live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Trainer 3 god himself

Trainer #3 God himself

I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more (John 15:1-2 MSG)

We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, “Blessed are they that mourn.” (C. S. Lewis)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God the trainer

God the Trainer

It is the ultimate honor to say that the loving and unchanging hand of the potter personally took hold of me to give me grace and mercy so he could shape and mold me to become part of his ultimate plan. To him be glory forever. (Cavan Collins)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God the trainer1

God the Trainer

Understanding God’s discipline

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son.”

Hebrews 12:1-11

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s training of joseph

God’s training of Joseph

  • Genesis 37 – 46

  • Crave God’s intervention

  • What we may see as a disaster might become our destiny.

  • What we see as unfair might become more than fair.

  • What we see as painful might become a surprising plan.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s training of joseph1

God’s training of Joseph

  • What we see as an opportunity to react might be an opportune time to refrain

  • What we see as God’s inactivity might be spiritual “wait” training.

  • PS 37:7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God s training of joseph2

God’s training of Joseph

  • What we see as “personal” might be more about others.

  • What we see as isolated pieces, might be part of an intricate plan.

  • What we see as mundane might be magical.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


God the trainer2

God the Trainer

“Nothing is ever wasted when God converts us. What we want changed is what God wants to transform into something useful. He will use our past hurts, our long detours in the wrong direction, our old gifts and skills. He will even use all that religious stuff we’ve learned, and all those memory verses.

(M. Craig Barnes, When God Interrupts: Finding New Life Through Unwanted Change.)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Trainer 4 the body of christ

Trainer #4 The Body of Christ

Whenever I abandon church for a time, I find that I am the one who suffers (Philip Yancey)

My mom began to pray that God would lead us to a Bible-believing, God-fearing church where people were not phonies but real about their love for the Heavenly Father – to a church where the Word of God was taught with clarity. God answered those prayers. (Donna Tanguay)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Shifting our church paradigm

Shifting our church paradigm

  • Church needs to stretch us rather than make us more comfortable.

  • The church is designed for a family not consumers.

  • The church is designed for participants, not spectators.

  • Church begins our week rather than ends it.

  • Church is not a luxury but a necessity.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Shifting our church paradigm1

Shifting our church paradigm

  • The church is not designed to promote correct preaching but to stimulate correct practice.

  • Church is not a social club but a family meeting

    • (Ephesians 2:19-22)

  • The church is not about religion but relationships.

  • The church should be a local one.

  • The church should involve life-changing worship and teaching rather than an experiment in boredom.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


The church and our maturity

The church and our maturity

You can’t be mature without the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 4:11-16

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


What do you look for in a church

What do you look for in a church?

(Joshua Harris – Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God)

Is this a church:

  • Where God’s Word is faithfully taught?

  • Where sound doctrine matters?

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


What do you look for in a church1

What do you look for in a church?

(Joshua Harris – Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God)

Is this a church:

  • In which the gospel is cherished and clearly proclaimed?

  • Committed to reaching non-Christians with the gospel?

  • Whose leaders are characterized by humility and integrity?

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


What do you look for in a church2

What do you look for in a church?

(Joshua Harris – Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God)

Is this a church:

  • Where people strive to live by God’s Word?

  • Where I can find and cultivate godly relationships?

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


What do you look for in a church3

What do you look for in a church?

(Joshua Harris – Stop Dating the Church: Fall in Love with the Family of God)

Is this a church:

  • Where members are challenged to serve?

  • That is willing to kick me out?

  • I’m willing to join “as is” with enthusiasm and faith in God?

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Trainer 5 the bible

Trainer #5 The Bible

. . .everything I had been learning that helped people grow was right there in the Bible all along.

(Henry Cloud, Ph.D.)

  • All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Trainer 5 the bible1

Trainer #5 The Bible

HEB 4:12 For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Trainer 5 the bible2

Trainer #5 The Bible

LK 8:11 "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Trainer 5 the bible process

Trainer #5 The Bible (Process)

  • Prepare your heart

  • Develop a plan

  • Get the right tools

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Trainer 5 the bible process1

Trainer #5 The Bible (Process)

  • Read it like any other book

    • Observation

    • Interpretation

    • Application

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Role of the holy spirit

Role of the Holy Spirit

As we’ve been introduced to the 4 previous trainers, we have been reminded that “we are involved in a divine cooperative: each of us figuring out and implementing activities we can do to add maturity to our lives while the chief trainer, the Holy Spirit, controls the efforts and their results. It’s crucial for us to realize that our last trainer, like every previous trainer, is not acting alone – the Holy Spirit is working as a coach beside each trainer to quicken our souls to God’s working” (page 111)

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Taking it to the next level

Taking it to the next level

  • Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.Helen Keller

  • Bodybuilding is much like any other sport. To be successful, you must dedicate yourself 100% to your training, diet, and mental approach. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Remember

Remember

  • It Can’t be Done without Sacrifice

  • Time

  • Change your Friends

  • You Can’t Do it Alone

  • You Have to Know the Enemy

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Remember1

Remember

  • It’s Never Too Late

  • Expect Failure

  • Don’t Try to Change Everything

  • You Will Always be You

  • Don’t Lose Your Balance

  • Push Through the Pain

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Remember2

Remember

  • Remember that Growing Older Means Growing Younger

  • Remember God is the God of Second Chances

  • Don’t Give Up

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Final step check it out

Final Step: Check it out

  • Start a journal of your journey

  • Stay with it over the long haul

  • Every year, take the test again and discover a new area of work.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


Final thoughts

Final thoughts

  • You want to be mature

  • Everyone around you wants you to be mature

  • God wants you to be mature

  • Maturity will provide you with the peace, contentment and impact that comes only with maturity.

  • Enjoy the journey.

Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity


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