Maturity

 

happy and motivated old people 3dWhen I hear the word mature, I think of an older person – usually older than me! This word means fully developed, ripe & complete in growth. I also think of wisdom, discernment and insight as I ponder the word maturity. I learned a long time ago that maturity is not always connected with age. I’ve met lots of very young people who were mature in many areas of their lives. I’ve also met lots of older people (mature in age) who were very immature and reckless in many areas of their lives. Maturity is somewhat subjective, objective and relative. I can “appear” mature, and in some areas of my life, I might display immaturity.

The Hebrew writer speaks about spiritual immaturity. I want to keep growing spiritually. I want to know the Lord more intimately. I want to grow in my trust of Him. Check this out…

11 We have a great deal to say about this, and it is difficult to explain, since you have become too lazy to understand. 12 Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God’s revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. 13 Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature—for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14 CSB)

In the past couple of years, I’ve had the privilege of being around my grandchildren. These little ones just melt my heart for sure. I was reminded of my own kids when they were small and started out with a milk only diet. They moved to cereal, then vegetables and then later added meat to their diet. It was a process of preparing the digestive system for the different levels of food. The spiritual analogy of the Hebrew writer is simple; I ought to be on a mature spiritual diet, but I’m often back to the basics of baby food.

My journey through the Word of God has built me in so many areas of my spiritual journey. The Word provides wisdom and discernment by the truckloads. The Word of God reminds me to guard the words that come from my mouth. The Word of God calls out my weaknesses and turns them into strengths. I want to become mature before I get old. I want to be full of wisdom and discernment that comes from The Lord. I don’t want to be mature to draw attention to me, but to point to Him. I’m simply a follower of the Lord who wants to finish well.

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Young & Stupid

happy and motivated old people 3dI’m not going to name names other than myself but I do agree with the fact that when we are young, we do stupid things. We certainly say stupid things as well. I remember a stupid thing I did while in High School and I’m embarrassed to think I could get away with it. I remember one incident where I concocted this huge story to cover myself only to later find out my Dad really didn’t believe my story. I’ve got plenty of stories about being young and stupid. In my house, stupid is an “s” word that I don’t use to describe others. I feel freedom to call my-myself out for sure. I also feel freedom to describe certain behavior as stupid. It is not my intent to label someone who exhibits stupid behavior as “stupid”. It’s mostly ignorance – that’s a safer call – LOL!

I wouldn’t mind being 20 years old again, but only if I could know what I know now about life and about the Lord.

Israel & Judah’s history is full of very young (and stupid acting at times) kings. The one I read about this morning was 20 years old when he became king. Check this out….

1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah son of Remaliah, Ahaz son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God. 3 He followed the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. 4 He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree. (2 Kings 16:1-4 NIV)

I did a little history study to find some young kings throughout more recent history. King Henry VI was one of the youngest at 8 Months old. It’s obvious that he couldn’t do much as king at that age, but his mother and those around him could certainly help. I can only imagine as he became a teenager and adolescent thinking set it – what kind of king was he then.

This young man Ahaz really disobeyed profoundly where the Lord wanted to take this nation of Judah. He didn’t follow any instructions from his Dad who was king. He obviously was “smarter than everyone else”. I can imagine that older people were afraid of a king so young and impulsive.

As if reflected on what it would be like to be 20 again, I realize that this is foolishness – I’m getting older not younger. If I can get any 20 year olds to listen, I would remind them to seek counsel from older and wiser people. One older gentlemen told me one time, “I don’t know all the things that will work, but I know a lot of things that won’t work because I’ve tried them!”

I was also reminded that even though I’m over 50, I still desperately need wise counsel even today. I’m learning to talk to the Lord about everything. There are situations that I face in life all along the way that I’ve needed help with. When I was young and stupid, I thought I knew how to handle all of that. I’m finally wising up and learning to listen and ask great questions. There’s more wisdom in asking great questions – it will keep me from being a “know-it-all”. It could also prevent me from being “old and stupid”!

Pressing On!

Dwayne

Not So Young

ChildrenI remember when I was younger and I thought that people my age were pretty old. I mean they got tired easily, they took afternoon naps, and went to be early.  When I was young I thought I would stay young forever. There are days even now I feel very young and spunky. There are other days I feel at least 20 years older. So much of that is in my mind – but a lot of it is in this tired body.  Paul encourages the young preacher, Timothy (who was probably in is late 30’s maybe even early 40’s) to keep strong and teach with power.  Check this out…

11 Command and teach these things. 12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (1 Timothy 4:11-14 NIV)

 

Youth is really a lot about attitude and about age as well. “You’re only as old as you feel” is partially true. Feelings can be all over the place. A 30 year old kid can feel 50 and a 50 old man can feel 30. Age is somewhat relative, but really not so much. There are things that older people know that would be great for them to share with young people to maybe help them avoid the same mistakes. It’s important for young people to listen as well.  It’s also possible for young people to teach older people things of significance – like smart phones, computers and technology. Young people also teach older folks to let go of previous prejudiced and closed minds.  Paul instructs Timothy to watch his life and doctrine (teaching) carefully. I need to be responsible for what I say AND what I do. They both reveal my young heart.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Getting Old

Elderly man prayingI probably shouldn’t say “I’m getting old” – the fact is that “OLD” is a relative term. Some people would say you’re only as old as you feel. That’s not necessarily true, but some age more gracefully than others. On most days I “feel” pretty young. On other days I feel older than my parents.  If I’m old then that means people older than me are really old.  I’m really pretty thankful to have lived a good life to this point. I think it was somewhere in my early 40’s that getting old became a sobering thought. I realized that life was really like a vapor or mist. I have heard it said that, “I’d rather make my days count, than to count my days.” Paul says something like that to the church at Corinth. Check this out….

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.(2 Corinthians 4:7-10; 16-18 NIV)

 

I want to be strong and faithful in the face of temptation.

I want to honor God with all my choices today and the rest of my days.

I want to lean on the Lord no matter if things are good or bad.

I want to be a positive influence for the Lord to others along this journey.

I want to have a positive attitude no matter what circumstances I’m in.

I want to love deeply because I’m loved beyond describing.

I want my faith in God to be clearly seen in how I live my life.

I want to live for what is eternal not the temporary things I see.

 

Living with the end in mind sure can keep me focused on Who and What really matters.

 

Pressing On!
Dwayne