Journal Phil 1 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all—for your progress and joy in the faith—so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus (because of my coming to you again).
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel and not frightened in anything by your opponents.” Phil 1:25-28
Observation: The more I read into the scriptures, the more I seem to see that the toil and work is not stuff to do, but to progress in maturity.
Analysis: Maturity is such a misunderstood and misapplied word.
“What is maturity”, I think? I could look up a definition but today, what really counts, is how I “see” it.
Maturity is not getting old and counting years accumulated as somehow maturity. Anyone who knows me would question whether I was “mature” or just a 15-year-old kid in a 64-year-old body. And they would be correct in questioning that—I couldn’t blame them. My wife still has trouble figuring out what age husband she is living with.
Why is this subject so difficult? Is it because many feel like “maturity”, especially “maturity in Christ or the Gospel” is something that happens through the passage of time or osmosis?
Is “maturity” something to actively pursue, to long for, to resolutely build into? I think the answer is yes.
Being mature in the Gospel, in Christ, is more than just being settled in the subject of faith. There are at least two steps in projecting maturity: 1) being committed, being resolute for my manner of life being worthy of the Gospel, and; 2) showing it (cp 1 Tim 4:15).
I don’t want my life, even at my age, to slow down the maturing act of the Gospel. Fierce pursuit after God isn’t just a young person’s gig. Ferocity after the Gospel, growing in maturity, progressing deeply after the Word, Precepts, Doctrine is something to run after all the days of my life.
We just finished Hebrews. Note: “Exhort one another, day after day…”; “Stir up each other…” right out of the Book of Hebrews. I don’t do this enough, and to you folks whom I talk to often, I am so sorry I don’t. By not doing these things, by neglecting the practice, I actively disobey God.
Note to self: I wonder why I seem to be ramping up about being fierce?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, my soul is stirred because of You! Allow these writings to continue to stir me up for days, weeks, months to come. Work in me a certain resolve (the only word I can think of lately) to ramp up my pursuit of You.
So far, I have this practice of writing. I await other avenues that you open, if any. Let my manner of life be a testimony of Your activity, Your Grace. AMEN