(written August 29, 2005)
Since grade school until before graduating from college, I think I was pretty much the same inside. I used to think it was because I was so psychologically mature at an early age.
In the relatively short time that I’ve encountered, known, and welcomed Jesus as the center of my soul, SOBRANG tindi at bilis ng maturity rate ko. (Definitely an external cause --- if I can change myself I would have done so long ago, right?) Sabi nga ni Cherry (my former cell leader), ang bilis ng growth ko.
This is not to boast. No part of me is boasting right now. I’m just so AMAZED at what God has done inside me and through me.
The scales have, season by season, been falling away from my eyes.
And, yeah, it’s humbling (ang dami ko palang imperfections, failures, and sins!). Yet, I wouldn’t want it any other way! I wouldn’t want any other me! (Of course I want to be more like Christ with each passing moment, but God has shaped me in a unique set of circumstances that I am pleased to call my life.)
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
“I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.
“All of us who are spiritually mature should think this way, too. And if there are things you do not agree with, God will make them clear to you. But we should continue following the truth we already have.
“Brothers and sisters, all of you should try to follow my example and to copy those who live the way we showed you. Many people live like enemies of the cross of Christ. I have often told you about them, and it makes me cry to tell you about them now. In the end, they will be destroyed. They do whatever their bodies want, they are proud of their shameful acts, and they think only about earthly things. But our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. By his power to rule all things, he will change our simple bodies and make them like his own glorious body.
“My dear brothers and sisters, I love you and want to see you. You bring me joy and make me proud of you, so stand strong in the Lord as I have told you.”
(Philippians 3:12-21, 4:1)
“Remind the believers to yield to the authority of rulers and government leaders, to obey them, to be ready to do good, to speak no evil about anyone, to live in peace, and to be gentle and polite to all people.
“In the past we also were foolish. We did not obey, we were wrong, and we were slaves to many things our bodies wanted and enjoyed. We spent our lives doing evil and being jealous. People hated us, and we hated each other. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior was shown, he saved us because of his mercy. It was not because of good deeds we did to be right with him. He saved us through the washing that made us new people through the Holy Spirit. God poured out richly upon us that Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ our Savior. Being right with God by his grace, we could have the hope of receiving the life that never ends.”
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
“If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
“Command and teach these things. Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
“Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
(1 Timothy 4)
“The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious, and even those that are not [obvious] cannot be hidden [for long!].”
(1 Timothy 5:24-25)
Now to a subtle shift of the topic… :)
“I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
(1 Timothy 2:9-10)
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But women will be saved [or restored] through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.”
(1 Timothy 2:11-15)
Hmmm! Lord, ito na ang next focus of my maturity! (In other words, next subject/theme to grow up in…)
I have to admit that this is a struggle. I have many questions regarding womanhood and *cough, cough* submission. Well, as I read of other people in the Bible, it becomes clear that God would rather have me bring those questions to Him. Confront Him if need be, as opposed to turning away completely.
In the meantime, let me not blaspheme, or present my own views, in an area where I am still in the process of understanding God’s will.
Go go go maturity! :)