Its kinda sad that I have not written more. I apologize for not writing more in the last 3 months. Anyway, I am sitting in my last class that I will take as a Doctorate of Ministry student and I started recounting how much I have grown in my understanding of God through my seminary education. Theologically identifying myself as an Orthodox Wesleyan my growth was challenged and pushed being at a fairly “progressive” school. Let’s just say that I had to wade through a lot of manure in my Christian education. However, like manure in the garden, through it I have grown.
To truly grow in our faith takes a lot of change. I believe that maturity equals change. As we grow in the love of Christ, God helps us see others and the world differently. Maturity requires change.
These past few months I have gone through a lot of changes. I was ordained as an Elder in the United Methodist Church. I was taken from my appointment to 1 church and appointed to 3 churches. I had to say goodbye to friends and begin to create new friendships. I had to process many emotions like fear, anxiety, joy, stress, and anticipation. Needless to say, change was the only thing on the menu and I had a big plate full. The question becomes is have I matured through all the changes in my life?
Ephesians 4:13b-15 states, “God’s goal is for us to become mature adults – to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ.”
From this passage maturity in faith depends upon Christ in our life. We do not mature in our faith if our relationship with Christ stands at a distance. Christ is the ground of our faith and we can only mature if we remain close to Christ. When we are far from Christ we tend to be tossed in the wind.
Now this passage does not say that when we mature that there would be no wind. Wind happens. Wind blows. Wind changes things. Winds are constant in our life. Winds do not come from God, but from the world. However God is in the wind. God takes those moments that seem to toss us around and He establishes us on solid ground. However, when we are grounded in Christ change takes place, maturity is allowed.
When we look back with clear eyes, rooted in Christ we start to see that going through these changes that come in our lives, God matures us. God promotes growth. God pushes us to fulfill our goal He has set in our lives. God reveals how His love is spoken to us and in that love we are transformed.
True some of the winds that cause change are also painful situations. Hurt and pain happen in our lives as well. I want you to know that God does not want hurt and pain to be in your lives. However isn’t it great that we have a God who goes through these changes with us. How amazing it is that we do not have to ascend into the heavens to be with God, but He comes to us in our lives. He does this to remind us to stay grounded in the love of Christ. For a mature faith is one that is close to Christ. We have a God who uses the manure/winds in lives to bring forth life.
Next time you face a change/manure/wind in life, look at it from the point of view of how God is going to use it to bring forth maturity. Consider how you will be changed through it. In other words as you are going through these times are you remaining faithful by “speaking truth in love” and “growing in every way into Christ?”