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The Walk of Maturity

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the final post about the stages of spiritual growth. In my last post I talked about the frustration of an immature believer wanting a quick, easy way to the blessings of maturity.

What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world.
Galatians 4:1-3

This is a truth that many have missed. Our position in Christ is not enough for us to experience the manifestation of His power. If you’re a spiritual child, you have the position of righteousness and holiness. But you’re still in slavery to the principles of the world.

Spiritually, you own everything that Christ has purchased for you on the cross. But practically speaking, you’re living out your life never experiencing the reality of it because you’re a child. We have to come to the realization that position only gets you into the presence of God. When it comes to the power of God, you need the freedom and authority of adulthood.

As spiritual children, we’re still under the supervision – literally the guardianship and training –of the law. I think you’ll be surprised by this aspect of childhood.

In the Faith Movement, we were taught the importance of trusting the Word of God. As a result, we learned that the promises of God could be embraced and applied to our lives. This was when we started to submit to the guardianship of the law of God.

We learned how to follow the requirements of the promises. For instance – if I tithe, then God will open up the windows of heaven and pour out a financial blessing upon me. Make no mistake about it. Even though this was a fundamental part of our growth process, it was still a part of our childhood. This is how children are trained to obey.

“If you’ll take out the trash every week, I’ll give you an allowance.”

“If you’ll tithe, I’ll open up the windows of heaven for you.”

Living on the level of “if you do this, I’ll do that” is the childhood phase of our walk. We all must go through it, but we’re not meant to stay there.

When I was a child, one of my chores was to put out the trash every week for pickup. I couldn’t wait to grow up so I could be free of my parents’ rules.

I’m now an adult with a family of my own. Actually, I’m still putting the trash out every week – but there’s a difference. I don’t put out the trash because I’ll lose the privilege to use the car. I put out the trash because THAT’S WHAT ADULTS DO. I’m not under a law that tells me that I have to do it to receive a blessing. I do my chores because I’m an adult.

I still give a tithe of my finances to the Lord, but, with an adult mindset. God blesses my finances because I’m His son. I tithe because that’s what mature believers do. Spiritually speaking, I’m in my Father’s family business. I get my salary from Him. I know that it would please Him if I reinvest 10% back into His business every week. Why would I refuse? He’s never failed to provide for me.

Since I’ve started to look at God’s kingdom from this perspective, I’ve had more peace and freedom than I’ve ever known before. I’ve seen more answered prayer than I ever have before. My prayer is that I can apply this to more and more areas of my life.

The Lord is looking for His people to rise up to this level of maturity in Him. We need a revelation of what sonship is all about.

Question: What’s the next stage in your spiritual growth?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Prayer, Revival, Sonship, The Church

 

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Spiritual Adulthood

Lion2This is a continuation of a series about the spiritual growth stages in the life of the believer. Today I’m talking about adulthood.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

This word, perfect, also means to be mature and complete. This is God’s desire for His people. That we attain to the same level of maturity as Christ.

The unfortunate thing is that many teach that this is impossible. Over and over we are told that to walk like Jesus is beyond our reach. I don’t buy into this type of reasoning.

When I see the lives of the Apostles in the book of Acts, I don’t get the idea that they’re immature. I see the same signs and wonders that were performed by the Lord. I see thousands of people drawn to, and changed by, the Word of God. If it was possible for them, then the same is true for us – if we’re willing to walk the same road they walked to get there.

One of the key ingredients to us reaching this level is the ministry gifts God has given to the body of Christ. In talking about apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, Paul said that they were given as gifts to the church. They have a very clear purpose.

…to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Ephesians 4:12-13

The goal of the five-fold ministry is the maturing of the saints. The level of that maturity is beyond question. It is that we would live and minister as the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Why would the Holy Spirit inspire Paul to write these words if it were not possible? We need to stop making excuses, and start working towards the walk of maturity.

Paul understood this aspect of his work as an apostle of Christ.

We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:28-29

That’s the goal of the ministry. We are here to present everyone – not just a select few – perfect and mature in Christ. This requires supernatural strength and wisdom. We cannot hope to perform this on a merely human level. As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I need to yield to the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this great task.

The belief that this is impossible to achieve in our lifetime only serves to undermine the Lord’s goal for us. We need to recognize where He’s leading us to, and cooperate with the Lord’s program for our development. After all, He’s bringing us on an incredible spiritual journey.

Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:4

In the book of James we are shown the path it takes to get to maturity. The final piece he talks about is perseverance. But I want us to see the result of this work. What happens once you reach this mature walk?

James clearly states, from the Holy Spirit and his experience, that when you walk in maturity you lack nothing. Lacking nothing – that’s what the church is striving for in this generation.

If we’re going to operate at this level, then we need the spiritual walk of maturity.

Question: What would the ministry of a spiritually mature believer look like?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2014 in Ministry, Sonship, The Church

 

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The Adolescence of the Church

GirlAs far as I’m concerned, this is the worse stage of growth whether you’re talking about the spiritual or the physical. If there was one point in my life I wouldn’t want to go back to, it would be my pre-teen and teenage years.

The problem with life as an adolescent is that you’re coming into the height of your adult strength and intelligence. Yet, you lack the experience and permission to do things on your own. You see the freedom and resources that adults enjoy, yet you’re locked into a world where you have to wait for your turn to experience it.

In many ways, this is the place that most of the modern church finds itself in. We understand what should be ours in Christ, but walking in it seems to elude us. We need to learn how to overcome and make it successfully through this stage of our Christian development.

I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
1 Corinthians 4:14-16

In this passage, Paul urges his people to follow his example as a mature believer. That’s the toughest assignment for a growing Christian. It’s a very hard thing to move from a childish mindset to that of an adult. There are behaviors that will work for children that adults will never get away with. The problem in most of the church is that we want the irresponsibility of childhood with the freedom and resources of adulthood. This will never happen.

There has to be a giving up of childish ways. We have to move into our role as mature followers of the risen Lord. Until this happens, we will never attain to our true potential in Christ.

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…
Galatians 4:19

This verse should wake us up. Paul is writing to believers who are in the adolescent stage of their spiritual growth. They are saved and on their way to Heaven, but he tells them something that should get our attention. His burning desire is that Christ would be formed in them.

This is the Greek word morphoo. It’s where we get our English word morph. We hear this word a lot in dealing with computer graphics. When we see special effects in a movie, where one thing turns into something else, we say that it morphed. That’s the spiritual change that we’re looking for.

I want to let the world see a change in me. I want to “morph” into the same life that Christ lived. This is the point where the change happens that brings me from being a child to living as an adult.

In life it happens almost unnoticed. Then one day you see what you’re doing and realize you’re not a child anymore. As Christians, we need to go through this change on a spiritual level. The church as a whole needs to walk on the adult level. This is what Christ is looking for in us.

Question: What would a spiritually adult church look like?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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Growing Up in the Word of God

BinkiesI believe that in this generation God is trying to get His children to listen to His voice.  He wants them to hear from Him on a daily basis.  God is maturing His church.  I believe that we are very close to a revival.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:11

God is bringing us from adolescence to adulthood in the Spirit.  In order to attain to this place in Christ we need to “put childish ways behind us.”

By referring to childish ways, I don’t mean these things are bad or wrong.  They’re simply things that we needed to progress in our childhood, but no longer need in adulthood.  For instance, I needed to ask permission to use the car as a teenager when I lived at home.  Now I have my own car, and I can use it whenever I want.  There was nothing wrong with asking permission, but that phase of my life is now over.

The church is progressing through the training levels God has for us.  As this happens, there are some things that worked for a season, but are not needed in our maturity.  I want to take a few posts to talk about this maturing process.  As I go through the teaching of Scripture, we will see some of these temporary principles.

What I’m afraid of, is that there are some who are so attached to the things of our childhood, that they will not want to release them and embrace adulthood in the Lord.  With that in mind, please read with an open mind and an open heart.  Receive those things that are Scriptural and of the Spirit.  And, if there are any things that I have put in from the flesh – with no Scriptural foundation – then you have my permission to lay them aside.

God is bringing His church back to a deeper walk in the Spirit.  At this point in history it seems that we do so much by the flesh.  The winds of change are blowing.  It’s time for us to start operating in the new move of the Spirit.  The foundation for this is the Word of God.

Paul told Timothy that we need to “correctly handle the word of truth.”  (II Timothy 2:15)  In order to correctly handle something, you need to know what it really is.  In the next few posts we will look at what the Word of God is and what it isn’t.

I think some of the words of Christ will surprise you.  In reality, the church has been guilty of using things that are not the Word of God as if they were.  It’s time for us to get back on track.

Question: Do you think the church is ready for revival?  Are you ready?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2013 in Revival, The Church, Word of God

 

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