Dr. C. S. Lovett’s
MARANATHA FAMILY NEWSLETTER
TIME FOR A MATURITY CHECKUP
It seems everyone is in a rush these days. They want everything this minute. The same attitude exists with regard to Christian maturity.
Some read about maturity in the Bible and want their maturity right now. Some hope to get it overnight. Others hope to get it through some experience or special baptism. They want someone to pray over them, lay hands on them, and transfer some maturity. The point is, they want it now. And if it should come magically, that would be fine. But there is no magical route to maturity.
God knows what it takes to get our attention, to shake us up. He knows how to rock the boat in a way that makes us cry out. In practically every case that comes to me, people have neglected fellowship with Jesus, and they’ve neglected the Word. They’re busy with things of the world—family, careers, outings, etc. Their possessions and good times are more real to them than fellowship with the Lord. In that condition, it is easy to drift with the current of the world. It’s automatic when other things become more important than the Word of God.
That’s when the Lord allows trouble to come and Satan moves in. Then they become anxious, distressed, and miserable and the Lord purposely wants them uncomfortable. Let me ask “Can God afford to let Christians be comfortable when living for themselves and not for Him?” No. He wants them to feel uneasy and miserable when not maturing. See that? It would be like giving a child an “A” when failing in schoolwork. It’s a terrible thing to do, for it would only encourage his failures.
GOD WON’T DO THAT
We live in a hostile world. We know that. We can expect troubles. We’re surrounded by enemies of God, inside and out. Trials are normal for us. The Bible tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6). This means don’t worry about a thing.
So when we get upset over a situation, that says something is wrong with us. God is trying to get our attention, so we’ll make changes and grow a little through the trial. That’s the purpose of the pain. When God rocks the boat, it hurts! Then we look around for someone who can pray or do something to ease our pain.
I AM TALKING ABOUT SOUL PAIN
Soul pain hurts as much as physical pain. We’re all familiar with physical pain and we know what it’s for. It protects the body. It warns us when the body is in trouble. Without pain, we’d ruin these bodies in a very short time. We’d tear our hands apart using them for wrenches, burn them to a crisp on hot stoves, and jump out of moving cars or off high places. Without pain, they would not last long at all. It’s absolutely essential for the survival of the physical body.
Thus, we observe what physical pain is to the body and what emotional pain is to the soul. Emotional pain consists of such things as fear, anxiety, apprehension, loss of people or things. Soul pain is as necessary as physical pain. We need soul pain to warn us when the soul is in danger, and we need the physical pain when the body is in danger.
So if you find yourself worrying, frustrated, uneasy, fretful, and desperate, you’re getting a warning. Something is spiritually wrong. So when the pain comes, there is something you have to do. If you let it go on and do nothing about it, you can damage yourself spiritually. If you have chest pains or continual abdominal pain, you go to the doctor and he orders tests.
HERE ARE FIVE TESTS FOR A SPIRITUAL CHECKUP
Everything that happens to us has to do with our growth and maturity in Christ—and the quicker we use these tests, the quicker we can change. The tests I’m giving you, all have to do with speed.
1. How quickly you get your EYES ON THE LORD when something goes wrong. By this I mean, how long it takes you to realize the Lord has allowed the tests to come. He has allowed it for a reason. See it as coming from Him. How fast you can do this is a measure of your maturity
2. How quickly you can bring yourself to the place where you can THANK HIM for the situation. It doesn’t matter how painful it is; even the loss of a family member. If you believe He’s in control, then thank Him. It is one thing to be able to see God’s hand in your situation, another to be able to thank Him for it.
3. How quickly you can RELAX IN THE LORD and let Him do what He wants with you. It’s a real test to keep your eyes on the Lord and thankfully let Him have His way. It helps to relax when we realize God is making a real masterpiece out of you. He’s sculpting away, under the canvas of your flesh. Then when death comes, and the canvas is yanked away—Viola! That, in turn, brings peace to your heart.
4. How quickly you can FORGIVE when someone hurts you, abuses you, takes advantage of you and you forgive so completely, you are able to FORGET IT. If you don’t forget, you haven’t forgiven. The quicker you remember what God has forgiven you, the quicker you can forgive the other person.
5. How SLOWLY YOU REACT when you don’t get your way or something doesn’t sit well with you, or a person says the wrong thing. Perhaps he says something with which you don’t agree or says something about you. The longer you can HOLD YOUR PEACE when that happens, the more mature you are.
But these tests are not really useful without some way to rate your progress on each step. So we’ll use a scale of 0-10, and we’ll say you are starting with test #1. What we’re looking for is to see how quickly your mind goes to the Lord when something disturbing occurs. We’ll judge the speed like this: If it takes you 4 to 5 days to get around to it, rate yourself 0-2. If it takes you 4 to 5 minutes, you’re up to 8 or 9. If you do it instantly, you rate a 10. If you do it automatically—that’s mature.
Remember this is just test #1. The others are a bit harder. But this is the place to start. So go to it and try to enjoy the Lord as you do it with Him.
Test yourself. The minute your mind goes to the Lord, you’ll get quick relief. So this week, see if you can discover how you rate with test #1. Then as days go by, move to test #2 and so on. It’ll be harder, but you can watch yourself grow in Christ. To make this growth easier, be in the Word every day. And now that you know about the five tests . . .
C. S. Lovett
Copyright © 2019 Personal Christianity
SINCE YOU ASKED!
QUESTION: “I have three grandsons, all under three years. When the Lord comes again and the dead in Christ rise, will children be taken up too?”
ANSWER: The Scripture is silent on the subject of salvation for children. So this is not one of those questions where you can line up passages for proof. Apart from the hint by King David, “I shall go to him . . .” (2 Sam. 12:23), I don’t really know of any.
When does a child willfully rebel against God? It probably varies with each child’s understanding. But it has to be about the time when a youngster is able to know about the Lord and willfully REJECT Him. We know GOD IS JUST and there is no way God’s justice could condemn a 3-year old or 5-year old.
It should be noted, however, that children are capable of great faith in those tender years. As they grow older, faith is hard for them to come by. So it is wise to teach children about Jesus as early as possible.
If you are depressed, call Psalm 27.
If you’re losing confidence in people, call 1st Corinthians 13.
If people seem unkind, call John 15.
If you are discouraged about your work, call Psalm 126.
If you find the world growing small, and yourself great, call Psalm 19.
Emergency numbers may be dialed direct.
All lines are open to heaven 24-hours a day!
Feed your faith and doubt will starve to death!
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LIFE CHANGING BOOK: "This book [Dealing with the Devil] changed my life over 30 years ago, and I still use its principles DAILY and share them with someone else at least several times a week (twice just yesterday). I was actually AFRAID to read it because I thought the devil would attack me if I did. Instead, it gave me the knowledge and biblical “formula” to be able to recognize Satan’s fiery darts (as well as his subtle suggestions), and to be able to remove his seeds of doubt, fear, and defeat before they ever have a chance to take root in my mind (the devil’s battlefield)." –online review by Lawrence
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