Monday, June 18, 2018
Philippians 3:15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
In the summer of 1980, one year after the birth of my second child, I was actively pursuing all my sporting interests. I was playing golf two to three times a week, I was playing center field for the local amateur baseball team, and I was spending all of my “spare” time in my boat fishing.
The baseball team required two nights per week for practice plus one game per week. I was at one of those practices when God used my wife to get my attention about my priorities. As I stood in center field while several guys took batting practice, I saw my wife walk through the stadium gate pushing a baby stroller while holding the hand of our oldest child. My first thought was that she had brought our daughter down to watch daddy practice, but I was soon to discover that was not the case. She motioned for me to come over to her, and she said something very scary to me: “If you don’t start to spend time with your family and come home right now, I will not be there when you get home.”
Talk about a wake-up call. I signaled to my coach that I had to leave, and I followed my family home and we had a long talk. I made some important decisions that day. I never played another baseball game.
I learned a valuable lesson about maturity. It is the lesson Paul gives us in today’s Scripture passage: true maturity is to see and do things God’s way. To see them God’s way is not enough. I had all the knowledge of what a good family was supposed to be like. I had stated my vows clearly to my wife on the day of our wedding. I had made all kinds of promises about putting my family first…but I wasn’t doing it. I was not serving them. I was serving myself. I had continued to pursue all the things I had valued about my life prior to marriage. I gave no indication to my wife that I considered everything rubbish compared to the greatness of knowing and loving her and my children. I was very immature.
True maturity comes when we bring our knowledge and our actions into agreement with God. Go back and review what Paul wrote and take notice of the balance between knowledge and action in the life of a true disciple of Jesus. All the references to knowledge are in green, and all the references to action are in red.
But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
There’s perfect balance – there are seven of each. When Paul says, “All of us who are mature should take such a view of things,” he means that we understand that balance. For far too long I lived only on the mental side of marriage, and it was a perfect picture of my spiritual life as well. It may be of yours, also. We have lots of knowledge about God and Jesus and the Bible, but is there a mature balance of application? Are we really putting into practice what we know? How can we claim to be in agreement with God when we don’t live according to what He says?
We know in our hearts how true this is, because the Holy Spirit is convicting us. He is convincing us that it is time to live no longer under the tyrannical rule of the flesh. He is revealing to us the way to be free – free from the guilt and shame of a double standard. Surrender to His work in your heart. Bring peace to your mind by bringing your actions into agreement with God.