WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
DECEMBER 21, 2021
TOPIC: SPIRITUAL MATURITY
BY T. O. BANSO
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11 New King James Version).
Joseph’s immaturity in handling the dreams he had was responsible for the conspiracy of his brothers against him. He shouldn’t have revealed his dreams to his brothers who hated him.
Genesis 37:2 says, “Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father” (New King James Version). Joseph’s brothers must have been displeased with this attitude of Joseph.
But the bad situation must have been worsened because Joseph was their father’s favourite. Jacob didn’t hide his special love for Joseph. Genesis 37:3-4 says, “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him” (New King James Version).
This was the atmosphere in Joseph’s family at this time. His brothers did not relate peaceably with him. They hated him, more so that they were not born by the same mother. It was a polygamous home. Joseph was Jacob’s eleventh son and the first child of Rachel (Genesis 30:22-24).
When Joseph had his first dream, which was unfavourable to his brothers, he went to tell them. The interpretation of the dream was clear and his brothers, who already hated him, asked if Joseph would rule over them. “So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words” (Genesis 37:8 New King James Version). By telling his dream to his enemies, his brothers, Joseph fueled the enmity against him.
Let’s assume he didn’t know that his brothers would react to his dream negatively. He was seventeen years old then. But having seen their reaction after he had told them the first dream, he should have learnt his lesson and not disclosed to them the details of the second dream. However, he showed his inexperience or immaturity, by telling his brothers and his father the second dream, whose interpretation was still that he would rule over them.
When his father, Jacob, heard the second dream, he rebuked him and asked if Joseph’s mother, himself, and Joseph’s brothers would come to bow down to the earth before him (Genesis 37:10). His brothers envied him but his father kept the matter in mind. Joseph should have been humble and cautious not to relate his dreams to his brothers because they favoured him and not his brothers. Later, the hatred of Joseph’s brothers for him made them plot to kill him but they, eventually, sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:18-36).
This wouldn’t have happened to Joseph but for his immaturity in handling his dreams. He told his enemies his dreams. Yes, God, in His sovereignty, worked everything together for his good, turning his pain to gain, but I believe God could still have achieved His purpose in Joseph’s life through another route. You must grow up; quit immaturity.
During Saul’s search for the lost donkeys of his father, he met Samuel who, surprisingly, anointed him as the first king of Israel. When he returned home, his uncle asked him about where he and his servant had gone. When Saul told him about how the search for the donkeys took them to the prophet Samuel, the uncle asked him what Samuel told them. “So Saul said to his uncle, ‘He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.’ But about the matter of the kingdom, he did not tell him what Samuel had said’” (1 Samuel 10:16 New King James Version). Saul did not disclose to his uncle that he had been anointed as king. It is not all testimonies that are ripe for sharing in public; some are premature. Wait until they are ripe for you to share with others.
Mature people control their tongues. According to the apostle James, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless” (New King James Version). James 3:2 says, “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body” (James 1:26 New King James Version). One mark of spiritual maturity is to know what to say and what not to say. It is the ability to control your tongue.
Paul said, “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11 New King James Version). If you’re maturing spiritually, there are some things you did in the past that you should have outgrown or stopped doing because of the operation of the Holy Spirit in your life.
The apostle Peter, talking about fruitful growth in the faith, said, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:5-9 New King James Version). Christians must grow in Christian character and not only tell people how long they have been Christians.
The writer of Hebrews told the Hebrew Christians the need for Christian growth, “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. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 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” (Hebrews 5:12-14 New King James Version).
There are Bible teachings that only mature Christians can receive; immature Christians will reject them. Paul says, “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” (Philippians 3:15 New King James Version). The New Living Translation renders the verse thus: “I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.” This means that there are immature Christians. God expects you to be mature in your understanding (Hebrews 6:1). Are you mature? Are you growing unto maturity?
Paul says, “Yet when I am among mature Christians, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world, and not the kind that appeals to the rulers of this world, who are being brought to nothing” (1 Corinthians 2:6 New Living Translation). The New King James Version puts it this way: “However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.” Again, Paul’s reference to mature Christians underscores the fact that there are immature Christians.
Paul regarded the Corinthians as babes in Christ whom he needed to feed with milk and not solid food because they were unable to receive it. He said envy, strife, and divisions among them were signs of carnality. “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. 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; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 New King James Version).
1 John 2:14 also talks about mature Christians. “I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one” (New King James Version). The New Living Translation calls those referred to as fathers in this scripture as those “who are mature in the faith” and the young men as those “who are young in the faith.”
It is not a sin to be a spiritual babe or a babe in Christ but a sin to remain permanently so. No mother loves that her baby refuses to grow but remains a baby. Every mature Christian started as a babe in Christ. Your openness to the ministry gifts will influence your Christian maturity because they are to help you to mature and fully grow in the Lord.
Ephesians 4:11-13 says, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (New King James Version).
Feed on the word of God so that you can grow. Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:3; Mathew 4:4; Luke 4:4). Obey the Word of God. Accept responsibilities in the Kingdom of God; serve in the house of God. Grow up spiritually. Put an end to childish behaviour in your walk with Christ, including your relationship with people. Be mature.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me to grow spiritually and put away childish behaviour. Holy Spirit, deliver me from whatever is hindering my spiritual growth; let me grow as I should. Help me to control my tongue and not stumble in words but be mature. I will know what to say and what not to say in Jesus’ name. Father, have mercy on those who are spiritually immature and their mouths have put them in trouble. Deliver them.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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