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REACHING THE POSSIBILITIES
December 2, 2007 AM
INTRO: Are you satisfied with who you are spiritually? I have thought a great deal about that question recently. Just why the question has occupied so much of my thinking in recent days I am not certain. I think, though, that it may be the coming of the end of a year and the imminent beginning of a new one. Or, it may be that I am growing older and realizing that immortality is not to be found in this physical life ... thus, I need to find ways to encourage others (and, yes, myself) to reach higher with our spiritual goals. For most of the last week I kept thinking about the words "the God of peace...make you perfect..." I know that the word "perfect" does not mean "sinless perfection". Yet, there is some respect in which the writer prays for readers to be complete, mature.
- THE U.S. ARMY SLOGAN...
- "Be all you can be"
- the first time I heard that I was most impressed by it
- I'm not certain service in the army is the answer to the idea
- but I am certain that most of us can be more than we are!
- Problem: are we satisfied with less than we could be?
- it takes dedication and effort to be better than average
- excuses for being "average" are easy to make - and sound reasonable
- are you o.k. with who you are spiritually?
- WHAT OFTEN HAPPENS?
- We convince ourselves we can be no better
- "I'm only human" keeps replaying in the mind
- and, yes, we are human ... but does that excuse mediocrity?
- Phil 3:14 - have we lost interest in the prize!
- We become lethargic as the years go by
- "it's time for someone else to do it" may be our thought process
- yes, others should be stepping up to kingdom tasks needing attention
- 1 Cor 9:24 - but we cannot stop running and expect to win the prize
- We mistake physical age for spiritual maturity
- "I've been a Christian all of my life" may be what we tend to say to self
- and that can be a great advantage if those have been growth years
- Heb 5:12 - but attained age is no guarantee of spiritual maturity!
- We just grow weary with the complexities of life
- "I'm just tired of the struggle" we may find ourselves saying
- and make no mistake about it ... life can be a struggle as we encounter every sort of discouragement imaginable
- Phil 4:12,13 - are we depending too much on our own resources?
- We become so busy that we fail to grow toward spiritual maturity
- "my plate is so full, and there's no end in sight" is what many of us face
- yes, being busy is a fact of western, competitive life - and many of us just keep saying "yes" to more and varied obligations
- 1 Ki 20:39,40a - what will we lose because we are "busy here and there"?
- THE CHALLENGE TO US?
- "Take time to be holy"
- this may be one of our most needed steps to real maturity
- time to pray; time to read; time to meditate; time to serve
- "leftovers" of time won't be enough to take us beyond spiritual mediocrity
- "Speak oft with thy Lord"
- we are closest to people with whom we have good communication
- if we are not frequent in prayer, true maturity will not be able to flourish
- Ps 55:17 - do we recognize this need as did the psalmist?
- "Abide in Him always"
- we tend to let spiritual things be a compartment in our lives - entering the compartment as needed
- we must learn to see ourselves living beyond the present physical limits
- Phil 3:1-4 - making Jesus our life, not just a part of our life, is the goal
- "And feed on His word"
- somewhere I read "you are what you eat" - no question, diet is important
- so many folks want to reach high spiritual goals without proper diet
- Jas 1:21 - Ps 1:2,3 - I have little doubt that most of us want to be spiritually mature ... but to be so we must take the time to ingest the word
- "Make friends of God's children"
- do not discount the value of close Christian associations here
- most of our worldly associations do not encourage spiritual maturity ... may, indeed, discourage it - we need strong Christian
- 2 Pet 1:1 - people of like faith give strength, encouragement, stability and such to each other - make it easier to live in a world hostile to faith
CLOSE: Reaching our spiritual possibilities should be our collective and personal goal. We say we must live in the world but not be of the world (Jno 17:14-16). And that is true. Is it possible, though, that we find ourselves being more "of the world" as we live "in the world"? The admonition of the writer of Hebrews is this: "let us go on unto perfection". There is our challenge.
Cecil A. Hutson
02 December 2007