Dr. Grant C. Richison (c 2010)
1. Does the spiritual maturity of most Christians correspond to their chronological age in Christ? How would you assess spiritual progress in your Christian community?
2. How concerned are those with whom you fellowship to move from where they are spiritually to the next level of spiritual maturity?
3. What mechanisms are in place in your community whereby people can form principles from Scripture and apply them to experience?
4. Is maturity corporate as well as personal?
5. Is Bible knowledge in itself a measure of maturity?
6. If knowledge alone is not a key measurement of spiritual growth, what part does knowledge play in spiritual growth?
7. Why does spiritual growth have nothing to do with a person’s activity in the church?
MYTHS ABOUT MATURITY
ØMaturity for super-saints
ØMaturity measured by knowledge
ØMaturity takes place in a vacuum
ØMaturity a straight-line
DEFINITION OF MATURITY
Maturity is a maximum application of the principles of Scripture to experience by faith that results in the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
ADVANTAGES OF MATURITY
ØMore in touch with God’s viewpoint
ØKnow how to consult the source of truth
ØOpen to receive correction and apply truth to experience
THE GOAL OF MATURITY:
ü to grow into the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ph 3:8-16)
Christ Himself is the objective standard for maturity (Ep 4:13)
1. COMMITMENT TO A SINGLE CONSUMING GOAL, Ph 3:8-9
Ph 3:8 Yet indeed I also count [calculate] all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 3:9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
2. PRODUCES CHRIST-LIKE TRANSFORMATION, 3:10-11
Ph 3:10 that [purpose] I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 3:11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
3. ABSOLUTE SPIRITUAL MATURITY NOT POSSIBLE UNTIL HEAVEN, 3:12
Ph 3:12 Not that I have already attained [to attain a state as a goal], or am already perfected [absolute maturity]; but I press on [press toward a fixed goal, literally follow after, a hunting term], that I may lay hold [catch and pull it down] of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me [stature of Christ].
4. LET GO OF THE PAST, 3:13
Ph 3:13 Brethren, I do not count [calculate] myself to have apprehended [absolute maturity]; but one thing I do, forgetting [not affected by] those things which are behind [let go of the past]
5. EXERTION REQUIRED, 3:13
Ph 3:13…and reaching forward [intense running metaphor] to those things which are ahead [hurts of past no longer control us]…
6. THE UPWARD CALL OF GOD’S APPROVAL KEEPS US ON TARGET, 3:14
Ph 3:14 I press [pursue, run after] toward the goal [distant mark on which to fix the eye] for the prize [reward to the victor] of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus [the goal itself is the reward].
7. CONSTANTLY KEEPING IN MIND THE UPWARD CALL, 3:15
Ph 3:15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 3:16Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained [degree of maturity], let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
If we stay static long enough, we will stagnate.
If we stagnate too long, spiritual dry rot will eat away core of our
MATURITY MAINTAINS PROGRESS TOWARD GOAL
ØMaintains goal even when not in the mood
ØNot put off goal endlessly
ØControlled by truth and not by lies we tell ourselves
1. Why do many Christians in our generation have arrested spiritual development?
2. What added dynamics are there in spiritual immaturity as over against simple human immaturity?
3. Are you and your Christian fellowship moving away from childish attributes of instability?
4. What added dynamics are there in spiritual maturity as over against simple human immaturity?
5. Personal Question: Is there present growth in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God?
Measure present growth by these questions:
· Is your temper as big as when you first met Christ?
· Are you gaining momentum over persistent sin?
· Is there hopelessness toward spiritual victory?
· Are there extensive dry spells where there is not much growth?
· Can you extend care to others?
· Are you fundamentally self-centered?
· Do you manipulate others through emotional blackmail?
· Do you give others the benefit of the doubt?
· Do you put others down to make yourself appear good?
· Does your life manifest more of the works of the flesh than fruit of the Spirit?
· Are you stuck at a plateau in your growth?
SIGNS OF HUMAN IMMATURITY
1. Emotional Instability
ØLow tolerance for difficulties
ØWear feelings on sleeve
ØDifficulty in handling disapproval
ØIrrational jealousy and suspicion
ØInability to forgive, holds grudges
2. Inappropriate Dependence
ØInfluenced without discernment
ØVacillating and fickle
3. Immediate Gratification
ØPersonal loyalty lasts so long as the relationship is useful
ØChaotic social and financial situations
ØLittle regard for others
ØPreoccupation with feeling
ØDemands great amount of attention
5. Lacks Objectivity
ØDoes not look at self realistically
ØDoes not take responsibility for mistakes
ØUnable to constructively criticize self
ØDifficulty in showing empathy
Ep 4:13 …till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect [mature] man, to the measure [objective standard] of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
Ep 4:14 that we should no longer be children [immature], tossed to and fro [like a ship without a rudder] and carried about with every wind [another nautical term] of doctrine, by the trickery of men [gambling term – play against loaded dice], in the cunning craftiness [scheming] of deceitful plotting
CHARACTERISTICS OF SPIRITUAL IMMATURITY
1. Unstable – “tossed to and fro,” Ep 4:13
· Goes negative to God’s divine principles and depends on own fleeting judgment.
2. Lacks Discernment – “carried about with every wind,” Ep 4:13
· Susceptible to influence without criteria to make judgment.
· Devoid of truth for discernment
3. Easily Fooled – “trickery of men,” Ep 4:13
· Gambling metaphor = play against loaded dice – susceptible to deceit.
· Gambling against “loaded dice” of the devil without divine principles.
4. Sucks in Empty Belief Systems
Ep 4:17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility [vanity, emptiness – devoid of divine principles] of their mind…
5. Lacks Edification Construct
2 Pe 3:17You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness [no Edification Construct], being led away with the error of the wicked; 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.
6. Flounders in Spiritual Soul-Kinks
1 Pe 2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 3:2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby…
7. Cannot Assimilate Food of a Spiritual Adult
1 Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able…
8. Sluggish toward God’s Word – “dull of hearing”
He 5:11 …of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing [sluggish toward truth].
9. Not Informed Enough to Help Others Grow
He 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
10. Rarely Applies Principles to Experience
He 5:13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled [inexperienced in applying] in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.
He 5:14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised [application] to discern both good and evil.
12. Plateau on Basics
He 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection [maturity]… 3 And this [go on to maturity] we will do if God permits.
Superficiality is the curse of this generation of Christians
Ga 5:7 You ran well. Who hindered [cut in] you from obeying the truth?
DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN SPIRITUALITY AND MATURITY DISCUSSION
1. What is the difference between relative and absolute maturity?
2. Why is spirituality an absolute?
3. Why is 1 Jn 1:9 crucial to issue of the absoluteness of God?
4. Why does spiritual growth not depend on our status with God?
5. How does positional truth relate to maturity?
6. Why does spiritual growth have nothing to do with how long a person has been a believer?
7. According to 2 Co 3:18, what happens to believers as they focus on the glory of the Lord?
8. Does your church glorify God? What are you or your group doing personally to manifest God’s glory in your church? What should you do now that you are not doing? Be sure to pray for your church, and especially for your leaders. God will hear your prayer.
9. What is the power behind spiritual growth (2 Co 3:18)? How does that power generate spiritual growth?
10. Personally, at home, ask yourself what are some practical ways that your life can glorify God? Make a list of your ideas. After each idea, list the practical steps that you might implement in order to fulfill that particular idea. Spend time in prayer over each of those ideas, seeking God’s guidance.
DISTINGUISHING SPIRITUALITY FROM
· SPIRITUALITY IS ABSOLUTE
– either we are in fellowship with God at any one point or we are not
· MATURITY IS RELATIVE
– there are degrees of growth
SPIRITUALITY IS ABSOLUTE
1 Jn 1:5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all [God is absolute light]. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him [with absolute light], and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light [no unconfessed sin], we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin [keeps correspondence with an absolute God].
MATURITY IS RELATIVE
Growth is Relative = 2 Co 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Growth is a matter of knowledge of the principles of God’s Word, plus appropriation of those principles, plus time
RELATIVE & ABSOLUTE MATURITY
Ph 3:15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature [relative maturity], have this mind [not “already attained” maturity]; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained [relative maturity in time], let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.
CONCLUSION: God’s plan is to perfect us, not pamper us.
ERECTING AN EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT DISCUSSION
- What is an Edification Construct?
- What is the procedure for building an Edification Construct?
- What is the principle of displacement? How does it relate to the Edification Construct?
- How can we use the principle of non-duplicity to manifest an Edification Construct?
ERECTING AN EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT OUTLINE
A Target of Edification Construct: = Spiritual Self-Government
This is the backbone of spirituality
OBJECTIVE OF EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT:
· to expand the soul to a high level of appropriation of God’s principles of the Word to become Christ-like to the glory of God.
· the ultimate goal of an edification construct is to glorify God by our personal maturity [Edification Construct].
- An Edification Construct is a full level of spirituality whereby the believer builds his soul into a state of maturity through a maximum application of principles of the Word to experience by faith.
- Rate x Time = Distance
Ep 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying [house & erect] of the body of Christ,
CHARACTER OF CHRIST FORMED VIA EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT
- Supreme Purpose – Demonstrate the Character of Christ
Ep 4:13 …till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man [mature], to the measure [objective standard] of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that [purpose of Edification Construct] 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, 15 but, speaking [maintaining the truth] the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him [unto maturity about Christ] who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying [constructing] of itself in love.
PROCESS OF BUILDING AN EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT
PRINCIPLE OF DISPLACEMENT
OUTCOME OF ERECTING THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT (Ep 4:22-24)
Ep 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
UNDER-GIRDING THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT DISCUSSION
- How does positional truth relate to under-girding the Edification Construct? Or, how does the outer circle relate to the inner circle?
- What is the essential means for under-girding the Edification Construct? How does this differ from regular human maturity?
- Discuss how the following strategies blunt development of an Edification Construct:
· Retaliation revenge tactics to solve problems
· Withdrawal or avoidance of a problem
· Perfection – seeking to measure up to expectations of others
· Workaholic to prove something
· Dominate conversation
· Denial of wrong
· Projecting blame on others
· Sublimation through entertainment or substance abuse.
· Strife for recognition and power,
· Blame circumstance
· Blame people
- Personal question: what do you think about when you are not thinking about anything in particular.
· This is a measure of our spiritual orientation
· To not think God’s thoughts after Him is to be at the mercy of feeling
· What we think determines our attitudes; our attitudes determine our actions
· Spiritual formation of the mind produces Christ-likeness [spiritual formation]
EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT OUTLINE
EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT OUTLINE
EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT RESTS ON THE BEDROCK OF POSITIONAL TRUTH
- God’s View — Positional Perfection
Co 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
PREROGATIVE & PRIVILEGE OF THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT(Co 2:2-3)
Co 2:2 …to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures [deposit of great value] of wisdom and knowledge.
ü All principles for growth rest on positional truth
STABILITY OF THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT (Co 2:4-5)
Co 2:4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness [under-girding of stability] of your faith in Christ.
MEANS TO GIRD THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT
Co2:6 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord [by faith], so walk in Him [by faith]…
Knowledge transferred by faith into experience:
· Once a principle becomes residual in our orientation, it will revolve back as an attitude toward a situation
· Once principle drops into our frame of reference [orientation], it produces God’s principles as norms for life.
1. “rooted … in Him”
Co 2:7 rooted [receive principles] and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
2. “and built up in Him”
Co 2:7 rootedand built up [laying a foundation] in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
ü A person with divine principles residing in his soul has the strong foundation of an Edification Construct.
3. “established in the faith”
Co 2:7 rooted and built up in Him and established [present tense] in the faith [Word of God], as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
ü Transferring divine principles by faith on a regular basis solidifies attitudes.
- What is the importance of viewpoint?
- Why do we absorb so much human phenomena as over against divine phenomena?
- How does transformation relate to viewpoint?
- What is the sequence of developing viewpoint?
- Why does Christianity begin with what we think rather than what we do?
- Personal crucial Question: Do my viewpoints jibe with God’s viewpoints?
· Is your thought pattern the same as when you first became a Christian?
· Is your temper the same as when you first came to Christ?
· Do you feel spiritually inept without a spiritual frame of reference?
· Do you rarely think about how God thinks about things?
· Are you unable to generate love, care and concern for others?
· Do you live a fundamentally self-centered, self-seeking life?
· Do you still seek to manipulate and control others through tantrums, emotional blackmail and negative-stroke seeking?
· Is it “all about you”?
· Do anger, hatred and jealousy play an inordinately large role in the way you think?
· Do you put others down to make yourself look better?
· Does your life reflect more of the works of the flesh than fruit of the Spirit?
VIEWPOINT SEES THINGS FROM A VAST CONTEXT
- Viewpoint perceives how things are interrelated and then assesses their relative importance.
- Lack of viewpoint perspective – spiritual immaturity (1 Co. 3:1-2, 14:20).
- Possessing God’s viewpoint – spiritual maturity
- He 5:14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
RADICAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GOD’S VIEWPOINT AND OUR VIEWPOINT
Is 55:8 “For My thoughts [God’s Word] are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways [principles for life],” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth [God’s viewpoint is transcendent],
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
TWO DISTINCT CAPACITIES FOR KNOWING GOD
GOD’S VIEWPOINT SUPERNATURALLY TRANSFORMS EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT
Is 55:11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT ORGANIZES VALUES AROUND GOD’S VIEWPOINT ON LIFE
- As we grow in God’s viewpoint, our orientation transforms from our viewpoint to God’s viewpoint (Ro 12:1-2)
What you believe [viewpoint, perspective and conviction], you think.
What you think [attitudes], you are [character].
What you are, you do [conduct].
ACCELERATING THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT I – (PAIN ) DISCUSSION
- Why does dissonance or pain accelerate the Edification Construct?
- How does pretending there is no problem in our lives cause problems in spiritual growth?
- What viewpoint/perspective builds the Edification Construct? Why does this happen?
- What does tenacity in pain have to do with the Edification Construct?
EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT I (PAIN)
EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT I (PAIN)
I. DISSONANCE ACCELERATES THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT, Ja 1:2-4
1. Faith that Produces Joy in trial Accelerates the Edification Construct
Ja 1:2 My brethren, count [calculate – add up the facts – draw on your Edification Construct] it all joy when you fall into various trials [concursus – God customizes pressure]
2. Acceleration of the Edification Construct comes from Perspective on Pain
Ja 1:3 knowing [don’t get caught off-guard] that the testing of your faith produces patience [stabilizes faith system].
· Nothing is incidental in God’s plan
· God personally monitors each event in our lives
· God’s Concursus [God sovereignly monitors ALL events with His permission]
· Ro 8:28 And we know [certainty] that all things [concursus] work together [design – not isolated acts but interdependent parts of the process ] for good [God’s purpose is greater than our problems] to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose [to become like Christ]. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son [goal of Edification Construct], that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
3. Tenacity in Pain Accelerates the Edification Construct
Ja 1:4 But let patience [tenacity] have its perfect work, that you may be perfect [fully grown] and complete [complete in every part – intact after awful trial], lacking nothing [fully complete].
- God is in the business of building Christ-like character consistency through pain
- We measure our spiritual growth best under pressure
ACCELERATING THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT II – (THE WORD) DISCUSSION
(Remember that the total context deals with Edification Construct)
- Discuss how the attitude of materialism decelerates the Edification Construct, Ja 1:9-11
- Discuss how the Edification Construct builds structural defense against temptation, Ja 1:12-15
- Discuss how God accelerates the Edification Construct through the Word, Ja 1:16-18
ACCELERATING THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT II (the Word) OUTLINE
II. COMBINING PROMISE WITH CIRCUMSTANCE ACCELERATES THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT, Ja 1:5-18
1. Acceleration of an Edification Construct comes from Maximum Appropriation, 1:5
Ja 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom [appropriation of principles to experience], let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally [freely] and without reproach [reprimand], and it will be given to him [wisdom].
ü Wisdom is the ability to do the right thing in the right situation from God’s viewpoint
2. Double-mindedness Decelerates the Edification Construct, 1:6-8
Ja 1:6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
ü Prayer of faith to erect an Edification Construct
3. Attitude of Materialism Decelerates the Edification Construct, Ja 1:9-11
4. Accelerating Edification Construct Builds Structural Defense against Temptation, Ja 1:12-15
5. God Accelerates Building of Edification Construct Via the Word, 1:16-18
III. DEVICES FOR ACCELERATING THE EDIFICATION CONSTRUCT (Ja 1:18-25)
1. The Word of Truth Generates Life
Ja 1:18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.
2. Appropriation of truth
Ja 1:19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
ü Our attitude toward divine principles of life determines which way we go with our lives.
ü SWIFT TO HEAR – Effective Listening
1 Th 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.
3. Appropriation by In-wrought Grace
Ja 1:21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness [in-wrought grace] the implanted word, which is able to save [deliver] your souls.
ü Our attitude toward divine principles of life determines which way we go with our lives.
4. Matching our Lives with God’s Truth, 1:22-25
Ja 1:22 But be doers [application] of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed [build an edification construct] in what he does.
· Nowhere does the Bible tell us to resist temptation (it does tell us to resist the devil)
· Instead, God tells us to displace our thinking because resisting temptation in our strength does not work
· Resisting in our strength intensifies the temptation
· Resisting only reinforces the temptation
PRINCIPLE OF DISPLACEMENT
- Displace the evil temptation by actively injecting a principle of God’s Word that corresponds to the temptation
- We move toward what we give attention
REPROGRAMMING THOUGHT LIFE
2 Co 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 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, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
MARKS OF MATURITY DISCUSSION
- First, discuss the meaning of a mark of maturity then show how it can relate to your fellowship.
- Which of the list marks the most flagrant violation in your community of Christians? Why is this so?
- What is the solution to question 2 from this passage?
- How does all this relate to spiritual maturity?
MARKS OF MATURITY OUTLINE
Process of Maturity – Displace
Co 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on [displace]
Co 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on [displace] tender mercies [bowels of empathy], kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering…
· Identify with; put ourselves in the place of someone else
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you” (Ep. 4:32).
Co 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness [benign], humility, meekness, longsuffering…
· Grace in action
· Not calloused toward others yet not letting the world run over us
· PETER MARSHALL’S PRAYER = O God, when I am wrong, make me easy to change and when I am right, make me easy to live with.
Co 3:12Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility [toward God], meekness, longsuffering…
· Orientation to the grace of God
· Not self-effacement
“Serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews” (Ac 20:19).
· Right estimation or evaluation of self
Co 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness [inwrought-grace], longsuffering…
· Moses & Jesus were meek
Ma 11: 29“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle [meek] and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light”
· Willingness to wave your rights; do not make demands
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Ga. 5:22, 23).
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom” (Ja. 3:13).
1 Co 4: 7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
· Not a mouse
Co 3:12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering [toward people] …
· Self-restraint regarding people, not things or pressure
· Has power to take revenge but utterly refuses to do so
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Ga. 5:22,23).
“Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Co. 1:11).
· Puts up with provocation
· Orients to pressure
- BEAR WITH
Co 3:13 …bearing with [uphold or support] one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
· Upholds or supports someone
· Bears and forebears
· Put up with idiosyncrasies, peculiarities
· Lubricates relationships
· Overlooks shortcomings
· Gives latitude to the failings of others
· The opposite of the rigid person who does not give an inch
Co 3:13 …bearing with one another, and forgiving one another [bestow unconditional favor], if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
ü Not bring up the wrong later – some people get hysterical but others get historical! J
· Bestows favor unconditionally
· To grace someone
· Forgives with no strings
· Definition: willingness to not punish
COMPARE FORBEARANCE & FORGIVENESS
· Forebear = holds everything back; Forgive = holds nothing against
· Forebear = refuses to demand what is deserving; Forgive = gives more than what is deserving
Co 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint [grievance] against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
· Literally — grievance or blame — bring an accusation against (for legal review)
· Real or imaginary grievance
· Not wait for the other person to come crawling
Co 3:13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave [without strings] you, so you also must do.
· Jesus is the standard for forgiveness
· He forgave immediately without strings
- BOND OF LOVE
Co 3:14 But above all [first priority] these things put on love, which is the bond [binds marks of maturity together] of perfection [maturity].
· First priority
· Mark of distinction
· Bond = broad belt – binds all virtues together
· Not our own anemic, saccharine, selfish, imitation love
PERFECTION = Literally maturity – actually accomplishes the virtues above
· State of perfection; that which comes to completion [not perfection],