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Moving Toward Maturity - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley
The Truth Network Radio
May 29, 2024 12:00 am

Moving Toward Maturity - Part 2

In Touch / Charles Stanley

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May 29, 2024 12:00 am

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Welcome to the In Touch Podcast with Charles Stanley for Wednesday, May twenty-ninth. What makes the difference in believers who endure in faithfulness and those who don't? Today's podcast identifies steady growth as the key. Let's evaluate our development as the series on spiritual maturity continues. Now, being born again means that God has forgiven us of our sins, and He's brought us into a personal relationship with Him. That's salvation. That's being born again. So, being born again, we as believers, if we don't grow, there's something wrong with us.

Because God intends for us to grow and to grow and to grow till the day we die. We have to grow spiritually. And so, what I'd like to do is I'd like to give you a list of things that are evidences that you're growing in the Lord or evidences that you're not. And I think you'll agree with every one of them. You may not like them, but you'll have to agree that if I'm growing, the following things are true. So, are you ready to say, Amen?

All right, number one. If I'm growing in the Lord, I'm becoming increasingly aware of my sinfulness and my weaknesses. I'm increasingly aware. As I grow, I understand more, I become more and more sensitive to things in my life that are not right. As we come along in life, things we don't think about. But the more you grow into Christ's likeness, watch this, He gives you the spiritual insight to see that that doesn't fit who you are. And so, one of the reasons we know that we're growing is we become more and more sensitive to sin in our life, even little things, for example, you used to put up with.

Maybe words you used to say, things you used to look at, whatever it might be. You become more and more sensitive, and here's what happens. The sensitivity is that doesn't fit me. That shouldn't be in my life. That doesn't indicate that I'm being conformed to the likeness of Christ. A second thing is this. Our response to sin in our life is quick, involving genuine repentance. That is, you confess it right then.

Repentance means I am sorry for what happened. I turn away from that. I don't want that in my life. Listen, you don't think it'll grow from nine o'clock in the morning to eleven o'clock at night?

Yes, it will. The time to deal with sin is immediately. Lord, I want to ask You to forgive me for that.

I'm ashamed of myself. And I want to handle it right now. If you're growing in your Christian life, you don't wait. Number three, our spiritual battles are becoming more and more intense, and yet we're still rejoicing. Now, if you're growing in your Christian life, here's what happens. You begin to realize that spiritual battles are difficult and they're hard, but they're opportunities.

For example, this is bothering me today, and three months or six months from now, the same thing happens, and you know what? You say, thank You, Jesus. Thank You, thank You, thank You, dear Lord, for sending that in my life.

Because You're showing me now I can love You and I can forgive them with no problem whatsoever, so You can measure that. Then, of course, we begin to see trials and temptations as opportunities for growth. In other words, God, I want to thank You for how You're going to deal with this in my life.

I'm going to trust You. I don't know exactly what to do at this moment, but I know You'll show me how, and I'm going to deal with it, and You'll bring me through it. Then, of course, we begin to view service to Him as a high honor, not a burden. And I think how often people say, well, you know, I go to church and I just don't have time to serve in the church. You don't have time. Oh, God could give you time by taking away your job and everything else. But in other words, here's the thing about it, you have to find out what does God want you to do.

We're not saying that everybody ought to preach and teach and sing and acquire or lead the music or do anything else we do. But the truth is, you and I have time. You have time to visit somebody who's sick. You have time to witness to somebody who just opens the door wide open for you to share your faith. You and I have times to serve God in many, many, many ways, and we don't see it as a burden. For example, suppose I saw sermon preparation, which is a task for sure, every week, not once in a while, but every week because every sermon I want to be the best I can do. Suppose I saw that as a burden.

No, it's one more awesome opportunity. Listen, for me, do you know who grows the most? I do. Can I discover things? I've never discovered before. I see things in Scripture I never paid attention to. Here's the thing about it.

Watch this. God is going to stir you up enough and plow up your ground enough that when something new comes along, you think, hmm, how did I miss that Lord? The Christian life is a wonderful, exciting journey because you're growing into Christ's likeness.

You know what you're doing? You're putting yourself in a position for God to really bless you. Look, He says, My will is to conform you to the likeness of My Son.

And so, when you think about whether you're growing or not, see if that's the truth. Now, the next one is one of the most important lessons I've ever learned. We're able to view everything as coming from Him. That is probably one of the top lessons I've ever learned in the Christian life. You say, wait a minute, everything doesn't come from Him.

I didn't say that. I said we learn to see everything is coming from Him. And one of the toughest battles of my life when I had lots and lots of enemies who wanted to get rid of me and did everything possible.

And in the prayer room one day, it's like the Lord said to me, You want to win this battle? Do exactly what I tell you. You see everything is coming from Me, not them. No matter what they say, what they do, how they treat you, you see that as coming from Me. Because I could stop it, but I'm allowing it.

And I'm allowing it for a reason. So, if you will see that as coming from Me, you won't get angry, you won't get bitter, you won't get resentful, you won't get hostile. You won't get upset and you won't get hurt. And you'll just, you'll just be happy about it.

And you'll just figure out what in the world's going on, that they can do all of those things and you're just happy about the whole situation. It is a powerful lesson, because it is the truth. Nobody can do anything to a child of God unless he allows it. If we're going to grow in our Christian life, we have to lift our vision. Lord, no matter what they say, I'm going to say that's coming from You. You must have known that I needed that, Lord.

God sent them on. And what happens is you're able to see a difference in your life. Then of course, we'll sense when our faith's growing stronger. You'll be able to tell when you're growing stronger because things that used to bother you won't bother you. Places you used to go, you won't go anymore. Things you used to want, you don't want anymore.

Things you used to see, you don't see anymore. And you thank Him, seeing it as from Him, and you'll find your faith growing stronger. Then of course, if we are growing in the Lord, we're going to spend more time in worshiping Him and praising Him. Now, I don't understand people who don't go to church regularly. Now, you may be in one of those areas of this country that's not a church within fifty miles. I do realize there's some places a long ways away, or maybe somebody in your home, they can't be left alone.

I'm sure there are exceptions. But why don't you go to church? You say, I can't live a Christian life without it. Well, tell me what you're doing for Jesus. Tell me about how much time you're spending in prayer and worship.

I'm not saying that people can't. He says, forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as some do. You know why God puts us together? He puts us together, for example, to worship Him, to praise Him. Now, I can worship the Lord and praise God singularly in my house by myself.

I can shout or sing. I can praise the Lord and whatever it might be. But it's a whole lot more powerful when I hear you sing and we all praise the Lord. And we're all reading the Scripture and we're just having a good time praising God. He wants us to praise Him.

And you know what'll happen? When you're growing in the Lord, you want to be a part of a fellowship. You want to grow in the Lord. You want to be in His Word. You want to hear somebody explain the Word of God. You want to grow.

You want to see every single time an opportunity. And I remember when I was going to seminary, every opportunity I got, I went to Dallas, Texas, I went to the First Methodist Church to hear W.A. Criswell. There's something about him. The first time I ever heard him preach, I slipped over there with a friend of mine and sat on the third row and he walked out and just preached and he stepped up to the podium and he said, My text tonight is this grace wearing we stand. He's preaching to the book of Romans. And for the first time in my life, I heard somebody that I could say, Now that's what I call preaching the gospel. When he spoke, I listened to every word.

I didn't want to mimic anybody. There was something about him that I knew the Spirit of God was on this man. And so, we choose what we want to hear.

We choose whether we want to grow or not. Then, our desire to obey Him is becoming more and more intense and sin is less and less attractive. The more you and I live like Jesus, the less and less we're going to put up with the sin in our life. And God wants us to live a sanctified life. Now listen to this, a sanctified life is a life that has been set apart by God through the Holy Spirit to live a godly life. It doesn't mean that we're sinless, but sanctified means I've been set apart by Him.

You have, if you're saved, you're set apart by Him to live a godly life. And so, when that's true, here's what'll happen. You'll spend less and less time on foolish things, less and less money on foolish things, less and less time wasting your time when you could be filling your mind with godly thoughts and filling your mind with truth that builds you up, strengthens you, and empowers you to defend your faith.

And we need that in this day and time. Then, of course, we'll be more and more eager to share what Christ is doing in our life. As you grow in your Christian life, you want to tell it.

You can't keep it to yourself. And as I said before, you know, when I go to a restaurant or something, the first thing I'm doing is looking for an opportunity to say something to whoever's waiting on me that'll open the door for me to not tell them who I am. I don't even want them to know who I am. I just want them to know who Jesus is. You can just say, well, you have a lovely smile, disarmed, just like that.

Where are you from? And you can just take it easy. You may not say any more than that. Next time you go back, you ask another question. Before long, they want you to talk to them. And so, you can tell by your growing whether you have laid down all that, well, you know what, I may say the wrong thing. And God knows your heart. You know what it means to trust Jesus as your Savior. You know what it means to walk in the Spirit of God. You know the difference between sin and righteousness.

So, think about that part. Then, we are experiencing an ever-increasing awareness of His presence. I think personally for me, that word presence is number one. Walking in His presence, you sleep in His presence, you're rested with difficulties in His presence. And the more Godly you become, and the more Christ-like you become, and the more obedient you become. Listen, there's some things you absolutely would not say if Jesus were sitting here, or would not do.

Well, He is here. And see, the stronger you become as a believer, what happens is the more aware of His presence you are in some things, you don't tolerate in your life because you're a follower of Jesus Christ. Then, of course, you jealously guard your private devotions and your prayer. And I say one thing about this, listen carefully.

If you don't set a time and a place where you read the Word of God and pray, I'm telling you, it's not going to happen. Because you can always think of something else you've got to do. But listen to me, you cannot grow physically without being fed properly.

You cannot. And today, we've got all kinds of things about how much people eat and this, that, and the other. You know what the most important thing is? What do I feed my soul, my spirit? Whatever you feed it is what you're going to be a part of. And for example, if you ate nothing but fatty foods, for example, all the time, just ice cream and chocolate and cake and all the good things you think, you know what?

You'd be in foul shape after a while. If you neglect the Word of God and read other magazines and all the junk and stuff like that, you can't grow and be like Jesus doing that. You know that's important. Then, of course, watch this. You'll know how well you're growing when you just love to spend time alone with God. It has nothing to do how long.

It depends on what's going on. But when you think of who God is and that He loves you and He's willing to spend as much time with you as you're willing to spend with Him, He, listen, you'll be growing in your Christian life when you're saying, Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus.

Thank you. I'm going to have this time just alone with you. And somebody said to me, You know I'm so excited about what's going on in my life because now I'm going to be able to spend more time alone with the Lord and less time I have to work. You have to make time. I guarantee you the devil's got a list this long for every one of us.

You need to do this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this. And when you finish doing all that, you don't have nothing to show for it. It's a choice we make, how much time we spend with it. Then, of course, one of the things that's so important when you're growing, the more you grow in the Lord, the more you're going to want to give.

Why? Because you're becoming more like Him. He says He's conformed us to the likeness of His Son. And so, God's always given to us. We're going to want to give more to others and to the Lord's work, whatever it might be. And then there's going to be a continuous growing hunger in your heart for God.

Can't get enough. Now watch this. If you're really hungry and you go to a restaurant and you've got plenty of money to buy anything you want, what do you do? You think, oh, this is what I think I want.

You spend your money on it. It may satisfy you or it may not. I can tell you this. You're always satisfied when you spend time with Him. He'll see to that. Because you're growing into Christ's likeness, you're honoring Him and He's going to honor you.

And one last thing I'd say. If you're growing, you're going to feel God's love. You're going to feel He loves you. Listen, I can give you a testimony that'll make it short. There was a time in my life, and I'd been a pastor for a number of years. If you asked me if God loved me, I'd tell you yes.

If you asked me, do you feel it, I didn't feel it. I didn't feel like I was worthy of it. And I was preaching to other people about the love of God. But when I went back to look at my sermons, I only had one.

And it was not worth listening to. You can't preach something you don't practice. And so, when I think about growing in the Christian life, when you are able to experience and sense and feel the love of God in your life, now watch this. Satan'll say, what about this, what about this, what about this, what about this?

You just ignore that. We're talking about God's love for you doesn't change whether you sin or not. His love doesn't change. You suffer the consequences of disobedience, but He loves you just the same. Now, if you've never trusted Jesus as your Savior, number one, you ask Him to forgive you of your sins based on what He did at the cross. Surrender your life to Him and ask Him to help you grow as a believer, as a follower of Jesus. And be true to Him and watch what an awesome thing He does in your life. So, I would simply ask you the question this morning, nobody's business but yours, would you say on the basis of what you've heard that you are growing in your Christian life and you're excited about Jesus, or would you have to say, whew, I thought I was.

Then if you just thought you were, what are you willing to do about it? Are you willing to ask God to forgive you that you're not growing like you ought to be growing? You want to repent of your sin and you want to ask Him, God, what am I holding onto in my life that I should not be holding onto that's keeping me from growing the way You want me to grow?

God, I'll let it go. Amen? And Father, we thank You for Your forgiveness and Your cleansing, thank You that You're right here, twenty-four hours a day, sixty minutes in every hour and sixty seconds in every minute, willing to aid us, help us to grow into Christ's likeness. We pray this morning that You'll speak to somebody, Father, who's unsaved and to realize what a tragic life they're living.

They may have all the money, all the popularity, all the prestige, all the glory, all the position, all of that without You is zero. Open their eyes, dear God, to help them see. They need to be forgiven of their sins. They need to repent of their sins.

They need to surrender themselves to You and really begin living for the first time in their life. In Jesus's name, amen. Thank you for listening to part two of Moving Toward Maturity. If you'd like to know more about Charles Stanley or InTouch Ministries, stop by InTouch.org. This podcast is a presentation of InTouch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-29 05:37:25 / 2024-05-29 05:46:39 / 9

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