Emotional Maturity in Christ
(Rom 12:2 NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Perhaps the most diabolical deception of this or any century is the assumption that "whatever is average is normal, and whatever is normal is right".
This completely denies the righteousness of God and His absolute authority to set standards. It also denies by implication the need and ability for the individual person to be conformed to any higher standard. Such pride filled premises as "follow your heart", "be yourself" and "to thine own self be true" spring from such deceptions and lead the individual into self righteousness, self deceit and self destruction.
It focuses attention outward causing the person to live in constant turmoil, always making comparisons with others to determine "acceptable social behavior". Am I good enough? Am I attractive enough? Am I dressing right? Am I smart enough? Am I physically competitive enough? In short, am I a winner or a loser?
Even in our spiritual walk we find ourselves being constantly bombarded by dictates from preachers to "successful", "be achievers" and "work to win souls" for Christ. Many times there are contests that reward an individual for the most people brought to Church, or making the most witnessing contacts or home visits. Such things as this only serve to reduce the living and sharing of the Gospel to mere human effort.
(Col 2:8 NKJV) Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
What does Scripture say about such things?
(2 Cor 10:12 NKJV) For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
(Eph 4:11- 13 NKJV) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
The ONLY true measure is the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ. The ONLY standard is the standard of Jesus Christ! ANYTHING less than Him is just pathetic human effort and completely unworthy of Him.
(Gal 5:24 NKJV) And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
The one who is in Christ Jesus HAS crucified the flesh (carnal nature) with its controlling emotional motivations. These obsessive passions should no longer be leading the attitudes and actions of the Christian. The choice now is ours do we follow Christ or the dictates of our attitudes and emotions?
(Eph 2:1-3 NKJV) And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
(Titus 3:3 NKJV) For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
We all come from the same lustful, carnally minded background. Although our individual life experiences differ, we are ALL cut from the same mold. All praise be to God Who HAS delivered us from the tyranny of our souls and given us the spirit of perfection and completeness in Christ.
(1 Cor 6:17 NKJV) But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
(Col 2:9-10 NKJV) For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
What are our options for behavior now?
Now that Jesus has made real choice possible what do we choose?
(Col 3:12-16 NKJV) Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
(Eph 4:31-32 NKJV) Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
(Col 3:8-10 NKJV) But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
(1 Pet 2:1-3 NKJV) Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
These things should be accomplished while we are still "babes" in Christ before we have reached the place where we are ready for strong meat in the deeper things of God.
This is the process of renewing the mind and being transformed or changed daily by washing in the word of God. We do this to the end --- that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ; [Eph 4:14-15 NKJV]
This "growing up into Christ" is the process of renewing the mind, conquering the kingdom within the soul and bringing every thought captive to the truth which is in Jesus.
(2 Cor 10:4-5 NKJV) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
(Rom 8:1-2 NKJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
(Gal 5:25 NKJV) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
(Rom 8:5-9 NKJV) For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
(1 Cor 2:14-15 NKJV) But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no
ONLY the born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has the ability to make substantive change leading to that daily walking (living) which is according to the spirit. It CAN NOT be done by the flesh or through the means of the carnal mind. One can change a lifestyle but that is NOT the same as being transformed by the word and work of the Holy Spirit within.
(Gal 5:19-21 NKJV) Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Those who practice such things...this indicates an habitual, conscious choosing to continue in these things without concern or conscience. Such a person is not a believer and has not the "Spirit of Christ".
Any believer may fail and fall into sin but eventually that one will be brought back to repentance by the loving, relentless work of the Holy Spirit.
(Gal 5:16-18 NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
(Gal 5:22 -24 NKJV) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
(Col 2:6-7 NKJV) As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
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