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Growing Spiritually

Delivered by ASE Joseph Olorunnisola, October 8 2006.

“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. “And I, brethren could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babies in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men.” 1Corin. 3: 1-3. Apostle Paul painfully observed that the index of spiritual maturity is a disciplined and gracious use of the tongue, advanced mental faculty that allows you to process issues in a godly fashion, and well seasoned mind feasting daily on the word of God.

When Paul came to Corinth in about AD51, it was a thriving metropolis; the capital of the Senatorial province of Achaia. Religiously, the city had every type of cult its pluralistic society could bring to it. There was a synagogue and a large contingency of Jews. It was ruled by a Roman proconsul (Acts 18:12). The moral depravity of Corinth, legendary even in the ancient pagan world, vividly reflected the spiritual need of the city which was know as Seaman’s paradise and moral cesspool. Prostitutes roamed the streets and the entire city was polluted with an alluring aura of sins.

Paul found out to his dismay that even the synagogue of God where Jews and believers in Christ worshipped had also been factionalized through strife, anger, envy, malice and un-abated adultery and fornication. And yet with all these condemnable carnality, they were still puffed up in arrogance and pride as elders of the church. Despite the sound teaching of Paul, the church of God still remained an arena of in-fighting, litigation, power tussle, envy and hatred, a market place for Nicolaitans, - the arrogant believers in themselves, their power, position and wisdom of the world; it was also a closet for heinous adultery and fornication. Hence Paul, in 1 Corin. 5: 1-2, says “ It is repeated commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And ye are yet puffed up.

“When I was a child – I spoke as a child – Tongue. A major evidence of Spiritual immaturity is the reckless use of the tongue; using your tongue as an instrument of abuse, lying, false witnessing, yelling, venting unguarded words of anger and pride, gossip, and sewing seeds of discord among brethren; anxious dissemination of falsehood and bad tidings. The spiritually immature is lousy, anxious to speak and impatient at listening to others, but the mature one is patient in listening and calculatingly slow in responding. Seven deadly sins are identified by Proverb 6: 16-19: “A proud look, a lying tongue and hands that shed innocent bloods. A heart that devises wicked imaginations, and feet that are swift in running to mischief. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that seweth discord among brethren.” Spiritual maturity is seen in righteousness of lips, gracious utterance, and peaceful, gentle voice; temperate response and sober re-action.

When I was a child – I understood as a child: Thinking faculty. The thinking faculty of those who are spiritually immature remains offensive, aggressive, and negative; doubting all things, suspicious of all things and unbelieving all things. Their hearts are set on negative values such as fornication, uncleanness, filthiness, covetousness, wickedness, hatred, pride, bitterness, anger, wrath, malice, and in-ordinate affection. On the contrary, the spiritually matured ones beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, and endureth all things. 1 Corinth. 13:7. They are with bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forgiving and forbearing. These are the true born again in Christ. – Col. 3: 2-12

When I was a child I thought as a child – Knowledge. Spiritual immaturity is exposed further by a deficient knowledge of the ways and word of God. Hosea 4: 6 says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” The Lord is not talking of the earthly knowledge but divine one. When you attain certain remarkable level of intellectual power, the earthly wisdom in you tends to doubt the existence of God, the wisdom of God becomes questionable to you, His ways become crude in your assessment, and His injunctions and ordinances are considered overdue for review. You see some practices in the house of worship as irrelevant, and a number of His Statutes as unreasonable. You see yourself wiser than your Creator, and your thinking and behavior are so influenced and informed. The spiritually mature believers know that the height of earthly wisdom/intellect is foolishness before God; (1Corin.2:6) and are therefore submissive to the wisdom of God. They feast on the word of God and all their affairs and decisions are defined and made within the context of God’s Word. The ways, wisdom, knowledge, Understanding, Statutes, and testimonies of God remain the personality and totality of God; they are eternally settled in Heaven. Heavens and earth and the seas and all things in them are anchored upon them. You will be wiser by living in them.

The spiritually immature are always running into problems and regrets. The problems are often blamed on others, but no matter how much blame we attempt to offload unto others, the Lord cannot be misled by our maneuvering. He looks at the heart when determining how to discipline or convict believers of sins. As a result, the blame game does not end up making us look better; instead, it hinders our fellowship with God. The spiritually mature believers, however, trust on the perfect wisdom, and liberating statutes of God. They recall His past faithfulness, reflect on His supreme overriding power, and focus on His unfailing promise. Their attention is focused not on their problems, but on Him whose faithfulness is immutable, and they are therefore, never disappointed. Until you are spiritually matured you cannot consider yourself a born again.

 

I thank you all for listening.

ASE Joseph Olorunnisola October 8, 2006.

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