Walking Maturely

Day 1

**Today’s devotion written by Jamie Walker**

Read Ephesians 4:13-24 and 1 Corinthians 2:6

Growing Maturity in Christ

When are we “mature”?  I often think to myself, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.”  Then I look around at my house, my french-fry ridden mini-van, and my beautiful children, and realize, I am grown up.  Even though I don’t feel it.  Do you?  On some level I think we all have thoughts similar.  “I’ll feel mature when….”  “I will feel confident enough to approach someone in Christ’s name, when….”  If we continue to think that we can make an impact only when we achieve a certain status, we are missing the opportunities.  Full-disclosure, I have used the self-description of “baby Christian,” for far too long.  I came to know Jesus about 11 years ago.  I think it’s about time, I “Grow Up!”  But how?

Think about the verses in these passages and mark down one goal you have for yourself to be able to feel more mature in Christ.  

Some part of our maturing process in our worldly view took some growing pains, lessons learned the hard way.  What spiritual “growing pains,” have you had, and what risks have you avoided because you didn’t want to feel embarrassed, put-out, or…fill-in the blank?

What do you picture when you read the verse, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14)?  Would you share the imagery you have in mind or what comes to mind when you think of the “cunning craftiness,” or “deceitful scheming?”

Day 2

**Today’s devotion written by Jamie Walker**

Read Genesis 3:1, Matthew 7:15, Revelation 12:3-4, Luke 22:3-6

Recently, I’ve said to a friend, “the devil has a bullseye on your back.”  I’m sure some of you have heard the same analogy.  It is quite daunting to think about the creative ways the devil seeks to destroy any discipleship we are doing.  I have started to read the book, Outwitting the Devil, by Napolean Hill. It is a unique perspective on all the ways the devil can be successful in diverting the good we wish to do.  It seems the more good acts we do, the more likely we are to encounter distractions, doubts, bad influences, etc.  I think about Camp Hydrate and how we could all sort of feel the darkness.  In each little moment, I’m sure it wasn’t as clear what was happening.  We just use your natural reactions and move on to get through the day/task/etc.  But when it was identified, and we gathered 2 or more in His name, boy was there power in that space.  It was palpable.  It seems easy right?  But why isn’t it?

As you go through today, really put your antenna up.  Look for the sneaky ways the devil is trying to veer you to bad choices, less productivity, or doubts, and write them down.  How does this act give you power over these attempts?

What do you do in reaction to these attempts?  Would you react more boldly and assertively if you knew you had the armor of God?  If you will, share some examples of how you have done this or how you plan to.

For every imagery this passage gives for the Devil, we are given multiple examples of how God is more powerful.  What are 2 images that you can cling to when you encounter some of these derailments?

How does this become your prayer today?

Day 3

Read Romans 10:1-12
I have always struggled getting into my mind the idea that Jesus righteousness is the gift that I receive from Him, because I constantly find myself trying to cash in my own righteousness.  Is that a bible word that you don’t have a definition for- righteousness?  It means “good deeds” or “right things.”  The Bible says that our righteousness- or good deeds- do not amount to anything in our standing with God.  I wouldn’t miss heaven because I didn’t turn in enough righteousness and I don’t get into Heaven because I turned in enough good marks on my record.  The only way I get to be in a place with God, called Heaven, is because of Jesus’ righteousness that is given on my behalf.  I get that righteousness by placing my faith in Jesus.  Salvation comes by means of confession and belief of this very truth that is already in place.  The right righteousness, or good deeds, makes my account just- or clean and clear.  

Do you find this idea to be hard to get a hold of in your daily life?  Why is that?

How do you remind yourself of these truths and what does it do to remind yourself?

What does Romans 10:2 mean as you would explain it to someone?

How have you seen this in someone else?

Share some of these ideas on the app in the 5 Day Study section of the messages

Day 4

**Today’s devotion written by Jamie Walker**

Read 1 Thessalonians 3 and 4:13-18

Life can be tough, down-right unbearable at times.  It feels like you are a hamster on a wheel, in the grind of life.  I’d like to explore the concept of forgetting what is behind and straining for what is ahead (Philippians 3:13).  When we think of the concept of straining, we can think of a marathon runner who is dripping sweat, cramping all over, lungs clenching, and maybe even crawling toward the finish line.  It’s an active process that is not easy by any means.  Why would we do this?  I mean, I only run if someone is chasing me, but that’s another story.  Why do marathon runners do this?  Because the race is worth it, and the challenge is exciting.  You see the finish line in your mind’s eye, and it is beautiful.  We have in store for us, a finish line that is not something we can even fully imagine.  The bible is full of descriptions of what we are to expect and they are really amazing.  Heaven is our Christian finish line.  It makes the straining worth it.  Who is our number one fan, cheering us along the way?  Our Lord!  We are on a winning team but we must strain for what’s ahead.  Think about the following as you process through this passage.

Pretend you are making a vision board, but instead of a career or vacation vision board, imagine what you would see in heaven.  What sort of pictures or motivational phrases would be on your vision board? Grab some images from today’s reading.

Straining comes in various forms.  Straining to grab the remote that is just out of reach, is vastly different than fighting an incurable disease or waiting for justice to prevail.  Think about the straining you are experiencing currently.  How does the imagery of Jesus as our cheerleader help you?  What would he be shouting as he holds his arms open wide for you?

Forgetting what is behind is also a pretty challenging thing.  Some of our bad habits, trauma, and negative self-talk tends to hold us back.  Could you work today to identify one way you may be forgetting to forget?  When thinking about this passage, what are some ways Paul is forgetting what is behind him?

How can this be a part of your prayer today?

Day 5

Read Philippians 3:1-21

There are so many stories of people that were supposed to be leaders that have messed up. Every single person reading this probably has three or four examples.  Add on top of that the idea that the culture we live in does not respect the idea of, or even the people of leadership.  It makes sense.  We just got through declaring that we all have examples of failed leaders that we could think of. 

Paul goes right for it in this passage.  He lays a lot of pressure on himself by telling the church to follow him in pursuing Jesus.  I don’t know.  I struggle with this sort of confidence and shy away from the straight up call for everyone to follow me.  But Paul is not doing what I fear.  Paul’s confidence is not in his ability to walk out everything from this point on perfectly and therefore he is sure everyone will be able to follow him.  He is confident in the gospel being an endless pursuit of Jesus that clearly includes the picking up after the fall and the cleaning off the dirt from the struggle that didn’t go right.  Paul is not declaring that everyone should follow him because he will get it right.  He is declaring that everyone should follow him because if the direction is always toward Jesus, then even when it doesn’t go right, it will get to right.  More than Paul is saying follow him, he is saying chase Jesus, that is the direction I am going and if you are going that way, you will be with me on the same path.  

Do you fear the idea of your kids following you and living in your shadow?

How do you lead in your family in the failures and in the victories that shows everyone they are really following Jesus?

In verse 12 (perfect) and in verse 15 (mature) the same word is used.  Paul is saying that maturity is realizing that you are not yet mature.  How have you experienced this in your life?

How does this become your prayer this week?

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