Happy new year dear reader!!! I know the year is already six days old and some of the excitement has wearied off but twenty seventeen is finally here with us- the year that many had looked forward to with a lot of anticipation and excitement in equal measure.
This being the first blog post this year, I would like to bring to your attention something that is of great significance- our ultimate goal as Christians. I know that most of us have other goals we have set. Personally, I want to be more diligent in my studies and journal more. While some of these goals are good, we should not forget that as believers, our ultimate goal on earth is to be like Christ.
Being a Christian simply means you are a follower of Christ… right? Therefore, this means that your ultimate goal as a Christian is to become like Christ. With this in mind, let me ask, are you like Christ? Can Christ be seen in you?
PRESSING ON TOWARDS THE GOAL
“12Not 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. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead. 14I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14).”
Like Paul, many of us relate to the Scripture passage above. If I were to answer the question above, my answer would be that that I am not yet like Christ and I still have a long way to go. However, my greatest desire this year and all the days of my life is to grow spiritually. More than anything else, I want to know God more… to be filled with a knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9).
When we look at the example of the perfect life of Christ, it may seem so far removed from the level of our attainment that at times we grow discouraged. This is mainly because each day we realize how sinful we are and how much we need God. However, I would like to encourage you that an increasing spiritual maturity is an attainable goal, not a constantly receding mirage.
Oswald Sanders, in his book- ‘In Pursuit of Maturity’, has written that: “Reaching for maturity is a dynamic process that continues as long as we live. The Christian life is not a hundred metre dash but a marathon that will test our spiritual stamina to the limit. There is no such thing as instant maturity or instant sainthood.”
“Therefore. Let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity (Hebrews 6:1a). From this verse, it is clear that every member of the body of Christ has a responsibility to ‘continue pressing on towards maturity.’ It ought to be your desire to grow in the knowledge of Christ…to know Him and to be found in Him.
For the Christian, there is nothing as dangerous as stagnating or being complacent in your walk with God. Casting Crowns have sung that ‘it is a slow fade’. How true that is- we do not realize as it happens. We have to constantly desire to be more like Christ because we risk the danger of being conformed to the pattern of the world if we are not alert and watchful.
“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 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! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (Hebrews 5:11-14).”
In the scripture passage above, the author addresses a very serious issue among the Jewish Christians- that of worldliness and spiritual immaturity. Just like the original recipients of the message, the present church is plagued with a lot of worldliness and spiritual immaturity. It is from this immaturity that we need to guard ourselves. Why? you may ask. We find the answer in Ephesians 4:13-14.
“13Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.”
As we can see, we are in danger of being deceived- of being tossed back and forth by the craftiness of men who have planned evil and who may be used by the enemy to subtly draw us away from the true gospel. And this danger is very real as can be evidenced in the prosperity gospel that is being propagated on many pulpits today.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
With this in mind, it is my prayer that God may give you the desire to know Him more. That He may make you zealous for His glory. As believers, we actually do not need a reason as to why we should pursue spiritual maturity but let me remind you what Jesus said: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48).”
It is important to note that a high degree of maturity can be attained in this life but full maturity can only be attained in heaven, where we will be perfectly sinless and obedient. However, this does not mean that we should walk in complacency. We are called to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12b).
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose (Philippians 2:13).” This brings us to the fact that, “in our pursuit of maturity, we are not left to our own meagre resources. We have the glowing example and pattern of that maturity in our LORD Himself and the dynamic for its attainment in the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit.” – Oswald Sanders.
I would like to make it very clear that apart from God’s Holy Spirit who leads us, we cannot grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are not left on our own in the pursuit of maturity. We have the Holy Spirit as our helper. However, let us not forget that we have a part to play- studying God’s Word, praying and cultivating fellowship with the people of God.
As I conclude, let me remind you that reaching for maturity is a dynamic process that continues as long as we live. I would like to urge you dear believer to go on to maturity (Hebrews 6:1). It is my prayer that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured (Colossians 4:12). Shalom.