One of the Christian’s Biggest Struggles is Spiritual Maturity

I John 2:15 – 16 – “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.”

Scripture defines the world as anyone who is opposed to God or has not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. It is when one lives a self-serving, (me-first) lifestyle and rejects Biblical guidelines for living.  We can be a true believer, believe in God and accept Jesus Christ and yet live as the world lives.  Our problem could be ignorance as to what the Word of God teaches.  The Apostle Paul calls worldly Christians babes in Christ lacking maturity. 

Most of us know how the world lives but how does Scripture advise us to live?  We are not to purchase a home we cannot afford, drive cars that are not paid for and liberally use credit cards. As we have recently learned during severe recessions there are too many things that can happen.  Many Christians have lost their jobs and have had their homes foreclosed.  The Bible advises that we should owe no one.  Yet, many Christians ignored better judgment and find they cannot live without having the very best of the world’s offerings.   Our level of spiritual maturity can adversely affect where we are financially.  

The Apostle John was warning the church that it was so easy to love the world and worldly things.  We are born into the world and live as the world lives until we accept Christ.  It is not easy for most to change habits and surrender to God’s leading.  Our carnal self-centered nature wants what others have regardless of what they have done to get them.  If we live as the world lives and put worldly things first in our lives what does it mean: “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him?”

For many years I have been a financial advisor.  I have more than 250 Christian clients and more than 250 clients who are not Christians.  I find very little difference in how the majority of believers and non-believers live when it comes to finances.  Ask a client how much they are in debt and there is little difference between the Christian and non-Christian.  If you have ever wondered why normally only 25% of Christians tithe it may be because they are so far in debt that it is all they can do to pay their monthly bills. 

The average household within fifteen minutes of our church makes $63,000 annually according to local statistics.  If each family tithed $6,300 and there were 8000 givers you would receive $50,400,000 annually in tithes.  Since our church receives approximately $12,000,000 yearly from over more than 20,000 members that means not every family tithes.  How important is it to tithe?  God tells us we must!

How does living from pay check to pay check affect our spiritual health?  One of a family’s greatest problems at home is financially overextending and it’s causing many Christians to divorce.  We may be in a job we cannot tolerate but because of indebtedness we are unable to risk taking a job that would better fit our abilities.  We can end up stuck, unhappy and frustrated.  So how do we measure our spiritual maturity or spiritual health? 

Luke 10:27 – says we are to love God with all of our heart, strength, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.  This is a great way to measure our spiritual maturity.  Do we love God enough to want to please Him and live by His commands?  Are we self-serving or God-serving?  Where is our commitment or how accountable are we to the Holy Spirit?  Do we have hate in our hearts?  Do we truly love others unconditionally?  The degree of our love for God and others measures our spiritual maturity.   John is talking about where our hearts are, is where our treasures will be.  What is our attitude toward material things?  Sinful man craves satisfying his or her physical and material desires and boasting about what he or she has done.  Spiritual man values self-control, he has a spirit of generosity and is committed to humble service. He or she is maturing spiritually!

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