1 Peter 3:8-12
2 Peter 1:3-8
‘Without a doubt, the process of spiritual growth is a long and often painful one. Enroute to maturity, we all spill our milk, say things we shouldn’t, and fail to act our age. Sometimes we throw temper tantrums like toddlers or pout like preschoolers or argue and complain like teens. All the while we should be conducting ourselves as mature believers, setting an example to those who are younger in the faith. We may have the knowledge, but we don’t have the will to do what’s right. Even those who are spiritually mature have days when they take a return trip to the ‘terrible two’s.’ Our heavenly Father wants all His children to grow in their faith. Sadly, too many Christians GROW OLD without GROWING UP! There’s a difference. A lot of people can say, ‘I’ve been a child of God for thirty years.’ Sometimes I want to say, ‘Then quit acting like a three-year old saint!’
What does that mean? C.S. Lewis in his book “Mere Christianity” has a chapter titled:
‘The Cardinal Virtues’
1. We might think that, provided you did the right thing, it did not matter how or why you did it – whether you did it willingly or unwillingly, sulkily or cheerfully, through fear of public opinion or for its own sake. But the truth is that right actions done for the wrong reason do not help to build the internal quality or character that really matters.
2. We might think that God wanted simply obedience to a set of rules; whereas He really wants people of a particular sort.
3. We might think that the ‘virtues’ were necessary only for this present life – that in the other world we could stop being just because there is nothing to quarrel about and stop being brave because there is no danger. Now it is quite true that there will probably be no occasion for just or courageous acts in the next world, but there will be every occasion for being the sort of people that we can become only as the result of doing such acts here. The point is not that God will refuse you admission to His eternal world if you have not got certain qualities of character; the point is that if people have not got at least the beginnings of those qualities inside them, then no possible external conditions could be a ‘Heaven’ FOR THEM – that is, could make them happy with the deep, strong, unshakable kind of happiness God intends for us.
John Stott in “Authentic Christianity” – Unity in Truth
“Evangelicals hold different views regarding the nature of Christian unity and whether the visible, organic union of churches is a desirable goal. But all would agree that no movement towards reunion can be pleasing to God or beneficial to the church which is not at the same time a movement towards reformation. True unity will always be unity in truth, and truth means biblical truth. If only church leaders would sit down with their Bibles, would distinguish clearly between apostolic traditions (which are biblical) and ecclesiastical traditions (which are not), and would agree to subordinate the latter to the former by requiring the former of each other but giving each other liberty over the latter, immediate and solid advance could be made.
Since Christian love is founded upon Christian truth, we shall not increase the love which exists between us by diminishing the truth which we hold in common. In contemporary movements towards church unity we must never compromise the very truth on which alone true love and unity depend.”
‘Nothing is more hostile to spiritual growth than arrogance, and nothing is more conducive to spiritual growth than humility. We need to humble ourselves before the infinite God, acknowledging the limitations of our human mind, and acknowledging our own sinfulness.
The true function of the mind is not to stand in judgment on God’s word, but to sit in humility under it, eager to hear it, grasp it, apply it and obey it in the practicalities of daily living.’