Moving Forward, Not Backwards

As we grow older it’s necessary that we grow up and mature: personally, socially, and spiritually (Luke 2:52; Ephesians 4:13-15; 1 Corinthians 14:20; Colossians 1:28). To help this process, it may be advantageous to give up some things. What things? Things that hinder our maturing process. They are “Maturity Inhibiting Practices.” Such as:

  • Video games
  • Comic books
  • Soap operas
  • Hanging out too much with the guy’s or gal’s
  • Being a couch potato
  • Partying
  • Drinking
  • Staying out all night
  • Binge watching (sports or sitcoms).
  • Social media binging.

Some of these things may have been cool or meaningful to us when we were younger-- still figuring out our lives. But continuing these practices as we get older hinders us from growing and maturing, both personally and spiritually. Precious valuable time that could be used to better our lives and improve our relationships, is often wasted upon past habits and practices that we can no longer afford to continue.

Sadly, many do not realize just how immature they are and how immature they sound at times. The Lord needs strong, mature Christians in His service. And Christian homes desperately need godly, mature parents--to lead and influence their children.

Read Philippians 3:4-8, 12-14.

1)     How did Paul feel about the practices and accomplishments of his past life (Philippians 3:5-6) .

2)     How did he feel differently about them once they were contrasted to his redeemed life in Christ? (Philippians 3: 6-8).

3)     Once he realized the greater and lasting value of the Christian life, what all was he determined to do? (Philippians 3:13-14).

4)     What should those who are perfect (Mature) do? (Philippians 3:15-16) .

Read 1 Corinthians 13:11.

1)     Christian men and women who are seeking to become more mature (both personally and spiritually) should do what?

Making Appropriate Changes

Visualize (and write out) where you would like to be:

  • In your spiritual life,
  • In your relationship with your spouse,
  • In your relationship with your (child) children,
  • In your membership with your church.

One by one, identify the major contributing factors hindering these goals. Consider whether the contributing factors fall into the category of Maturity Inhibiting Practices. Find passages of Scripture that deal with the “Hindering Factors” you’ve identified, then together with your spouse--devise a practical plan to remove the hindrances and to begin implementing your goals (Ecclesiastes 5:3). Monitor your progress and encourage (don’t criticize) each other along the way.

Make Challenging Sacrifices

Once a week, be willing to give up something that’s personally important, meaningful and enjoyable to you. Instead, purposely use that time to do something that is personally important meaningful and enjoyable to your spouse or children.

Rules For Sacrificing:

1)     Your willingness to sacrifice must be genuine, not as a favor (Luke 6:31-36).

2)     Whether you are asked or not, you must communicate to your spouse or child that you are making a sacrifice because, they are more important to you than your own likes. It is imperative that your family not only hears that from you from time to time, but that they see it, often (1 John 3:18).

3)     Willingly make sacrifices to spend time with your spouse or children even if it involves them wanting to do something that doesn’t personally interest you. Remember, Who you’re spending time with is just as meaningful as What you’re doing. For example, my wife really enjoys baking in the kitchen. I have no personal interest in baking (although I do enjoy eating what's baked). But I enjoy doing it because I’m doing it with the love of my life! If making a personal sacrifice results in adding joy and happiness to your family, it will certainly make you happy as well!