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The same is true following Jesus. God expects us to grow up becoming more and more like Jesus. It is a process where we never stop changing, growing and maturing.
“Be transformed by the renewing of your minds,” writes Paul in his letter to the Romans, and, “do not conform to the pattern of this world” (Romans 12:2). Here Paul states how becoming more like Jesus means becoming less like the world around us. As Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.”
When we accept Jesus as Lord we begin a process of applying God’s truth to every area of our lives. As we do, the transformation Paul talks about takes place. In his letter to the Ephesian church he describes spiritual maturity is gained when we are no longer easily swayed by other people and the world around us.
Before we reach that maturity our actions and beliefs swing back and forth depending on who and what are influencing us at the time. Maturity is when we are “no longer like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or made a lie sound like the truth” (Ephesians 4:14, The Message).
Sometimes as Christians we can get busy or are easily distracted and the result is we stop growing spiritually. It’s not that we say, “I don’t want to grow up spiritually,” it’s just that we are fitting in with the world around us rather than being transformed by our relationship with Jesus.
Nevertheless, like a good parent, God will always be at work helping us grow. There will be times when God allows uncomfortable and difficult situations and times when we feel like we’ve been abandoned. But God is just allowing us to grow up. As James writes in his letter, the testing of our faith develops perseverance and perseverance helps us become mature and complete followers of Jesus (James 1:2-3).
Today you may be going through a difficult, trying or uncomfortable time. Rather than wishing it would go away, perhaps you could ask God how this might be used to continue the work of transformation so that you may grow up just a little bit more.
Stephen L Baxter
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