Growing Up

1 Corinthians 13:11   (NLT)   When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.

Praise God; He wants us to expand, grow, mature, explore new horizons, have more significant and meaningful experiences. Childhood has fun experiences or perks on its own. But we can’t remain as children forever. God gives us the environment and all 1 Corinthians 13.11 - Grow Upessential elements to mature. Yes, it’s good to be on the receiving end of things, where we don’t have to worry about making a living, where we are not given a lot of responsibilities, where we have a lot of time to play, where we’re favored with more understanding and leniency when we sin, make mistakes, or fail.

But there is a time to leave childhood and the childishness that comes with it. There is a time for leading than being led. There is a time for being responsible in feeding others, and caring for others instead of being led, cared for, and fed. There is a time when we are called to greater work and sacrifice rather than greater pleasure and leisure. The world needs men and women who are not afraid to take on responsibility, to take the blame if it needs be instead of passing them on to others. We need man and woman to lead others in doing what is right, what is godly, and what is good. Instead of blind leading the blind, we need people who will lead others to the light. People who see clearly, people with vision.

As we grow and mature, we find greater sense of purpose. We’re no longer tossed to-and-fro buy by every wind of fad, fashion, or trend. We utilize time more wisely, more productively. We do not allow the mundane to occupy our precious time, energy, and other resources. We become more careful and responsible with the choices we make, the words we speak, the actions we take, the doctrines we believe, the opinions we express. We are fully aware there are consequences to our actions.

There are greater expectations in adulthood, in growth and maturity, and we welcome them joyfully. It is then when we can live more productively and more helpfully in God’s Kingdom, in the lives of other people, even in the world itself.

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Living in His Promises

Numbers 14:8   (NLT)   And if the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us. It is a rich land flowing with milk and honey.

How wonderful it is to know God leads us to a rich land flowing with milk and honey. Our precious Lord Jesus came with a purpose of giving us life and life abundantly—life full of purpose and meaning. Many of us have heard and quoted Jeremiah’s words telling Numbers 14.8 - Living in His Promisesus about the Lord’s plans that are good and not evil, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. I can’t help but sense a soul-refreshing comfort and assurance whenever I remember the Lord making us lie down in lush green meadows.

There are deterrents and oppositions to this. Many times, others have their own version of a land flowing with milk and honey. We’re careful because this can be true even with believers. Not everyone allows God’s Word to take deep and strong roots in their hearts. Simple trials make them look back to the immediate fun and pleasures of their past. Often, blindness kicks in. They lose sight of the obvious and powerful miracles and blessings God has brought them. Their once dreaded but endured past, their land of slavery and bondage, they see now as the land flowing with milk and honey.

But how pleasant it is to us who live for God’s pleasure. Despite all the obstacles, challenges, oppositions and enemies, despite our inabilities and limitations, God isn’t stopped; He brings us safely to His promise. Anything or anyone who gets in the way becomes a helpless prey to the promise. The presence of hurdles before us is trumped by God’s presence in and among us. Why fear? Caveat: I’m not suggesting Christian journey is perfect—that we will always please God. There are moments of slips and failures. But God knows who His sincere followers are. And in His unfailing love, He forgives the contrite and repentant. He restores our souls and leads us back to the paths of righteousness—to the path of promise.

Our minds and hearts are set: the Lord is our God. We live for His pleasure. We’re living in His promise—a land flowing with milk and honey. And we’re journeying to the next. It’s a journey of promise to another promise. There’s no life better than the life of a believer.

Help Build Others’ Dreams

Genesis 41:44   (NLT) And Pharaoh said to him, “I am Pharaoh, but no one will lift a hand or foot in the entire land of Egypt without your approval.”

Pharaoh appointed Joseph as his 2nd in command. He gave Joseph what many may consider too much power to delegate to one person. He did it without any kind of insecurity about his position. He recognized the Lord’s work in the life of Joseph, that Genesis 41.44 - Helping Build Others' Dreamsbecause of God, Joseph was wise and intelligent. Sure enough, his confidence and trust in Joseph was justified. Joseph was diligent; he was loyal; he indeed saved the world from famine, and because of him, pharaoh was personally enriched.

We’re not afraid of promoting people who are deserving of certain positions. We’re not insecure or threatened when others succeed; promotion comes from the Lord. We want to help others succeed; we want to help them fulfill their dreams. We cannot be too careful that it paralyzes us and stunts our growth or the growth of our team. We lift others up, positioning them appropriately where they could function the most. This makes them most productive, growing and helping the team in the process.

God is a trustworthy God. He is in control of all things. Even when others really want to rise up against us after they’re put in a position, God protects us, preserves us, and sustains us. He knows how to take good care of us; He also knows how to effectively handle our enemies: “For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right” (Psalm 84:11). That’s settled.

As for us, we look for people whose dreams we can help fulfill. We recognize their skills, talents, abilities and God’s favor in their lives. We see those who the world is afraid of and insecure about—people who they try to stop from going higher. We don’t get threatened by them; that’s a reason why we grow—much faster and stronger. Our security, our position, our status— it’s the Lord we trust for those. We rest in confidence; we are secure. We help others; we lift them up; more people live their dreams; they grow; the team grows; and it’s a joy being a part of making it happen.

 

Diligence and Assurance

Hebrews 6:11   (KJV)   11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:

Diligence plays a huge part in fully assuring our hope. This is specifically referring to work and labour of love for our spiritual family.

Hebrews 6.11 - Diligence and AssuranceThere may be times when we don’t really feel like loving. We want to be on the receiving end. Others have times of laziness. But our days are exciting exactly because we don’t allow our moods and circumstances to dictate how our days go.

In the process, we keep on growing; we keep on progressing in our Christian journey; we keep becoming more productive as God’s people; more people are blessed through us. We contribute in the Kingdom purposes and mission.

We believe in the supernatural, in the eternal, in the spiritual. We believe in heaven; we believe in God; we believe the return of our Lord Jesus. This results in us living full lives—lives truly blessed—recipients of, and channels of. Through us, more people are helped living out their fullness as well.

More Valuable than All Our Achievements

Philippians 3:8   (KJV)   Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

We are pursuing something more significant than any and all achievements we or anyone else can ever achieve. Knowing Jesus more carries infinitely more value than all our advancements and accomplishments—even the spiritual kind. We don’t mind losing Philippians 3.8 - More Valuable than All Our Achievementseverything no matter how precious they may be in the natural eyes and in society’s estimation. Compared to Jesus, they’re like useless garbage.

When it comes to our salvation, our best efforts amount to nothing. We humbly admit: our best efforts still fail miserably short of God’s glorious standards. It’s foolish to anchor our hope in ourselves. Perfection is far from anyone’s reach. The Lord Jesus alone can claim sinlessness. He’s the One to “run after;” He’s the One we take true pride and joy in.

It isn’t wrong to be proud of each other who sincerely and diligently try to do our best to faithfully live out our faith before the Lord and before the watching world. A good testimony—an exemplary life is admirable. There’s a place for compliments. We’re also called to encourage others, and to tell them “good job” when they really do well. It’s befitting for believers to do our best in all our works. Many times, we excel. Even our unbelieving bosses or peers notice.

We shine the light of Jesus through us—that’s a natural goal we have in everything we do. That’s very biblical. We will get applause, approval, and commendations; we may even receive promotion. We’re also called to grow in the knowledge and likeness of our Lord. All these give us sense of satisfaction, and that’s perfectly appropriate. But when it comes to comparing the value of all those achievements and progress to the value of an intimate knowledge and relationship with Jesus, the choice for us is undoubtedly clear: He’s our hands-down preference. Our ultimate pride is not ourselves, it’s Him.

 

Out of Comfort Zone

Job 31:34   (KJV)   34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?

Job was asking a rhetorical question. He didn’t fear what people would say or how people would act towards Him—even unfavorable ones. He obviously cared for His reputation—and rightly so; we’re called to let our light shine before men—not for self-タマゴglorification, but for God’s glory. But He didn’t allow anyone to paralyze him to seclusion.

Not everyone is a people person. This is me. I’d rather be in my room or alone rather than socialize—even in party settings. I believe there are many others like me. But we don’t allow this to derail us or shun us from our responsibilities, mission, calling, and destiny. Our destiny is too great for us to allow others to steal it away from us. No, no threat from them, no amount of demeaning criticisms—truth or lies, no belittling looks, no smirks, no condemning accusations will keep us trapped in our comfort zones. We won’t be kept hiding “behind doors.” We break out of it, we grow, we broaden our horizon, and we keep moving farther, higher, deeper, bigger.

Dear God, we realize that You’ve created everyone of us differently—fearfully and wonderfully, but differently nonetheless, and that’s good; that’s very good; that’s how You operate. May we never complain about the way you designed us, rather, may we seize the strengths and the good about our personalities and use them as leverage to take us to each higher step. May we never make a “god” out of people by abdicating our future into their control. With You always being with us, may we face every situation and every person with a realistic yet faith-filled attitude about ourselves, about others, and about life as we keep progressing in our journey—facing each challenge day after day with neither fear nor intimidation, but with courage and boldness. It will take a lot for many of us to develop such attitude, but all things are possible with You and for those who believe in You.

Meditations

Psalms 1:2   (KJV)    But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Psalm 1.2 - MeditationDelighting in God’s Holy Word and meditating on it go together.

We enjoy a deeper relationship with the Word of God. Because we intensely delight in His Word, we spend our precious time with it. We expectantly dig or dive deeper. There are numerous other ways of relating to God’s Word, but just simply, willingly, sincerely, longingly immersing ourselves in it’s truth through focused meditation really helps our roots go deep.

Dear God and Father, may we never foolishly treat Your Word lightly or superficially. Help us to spend intimate moments with Your precious revelation. It has so much to give. Help us not to deprive ourselves of so much of the precious treasure we can find buried deeper in each letter and word we read with our eyes.