24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
– Matthew 7:24-27
Stumbling and falling in our spiritual journeys are a common part of our humanness. Although we cannot excuse the reality of Sin, it is important for us to face the truth that we cannot allow sin to become our excuses either. The road to spiritual maturity requires of us to be truthful in our iniquities if we expect the truth to permeate the essence of our livelihood.
Honesty opens our hearts to Truth.
When we build a new house, we cannot overlook the fact that the foundation needs to be set right over the proper conditions. As Matthew 7 states, we cannot set our house’s foundation on sand, as it will be swept away by the storms that come. We may love the location for the home, but if the ground is shifty there is no foundation that can be set which would prevent the house from collapsing when the big storm or earthquake hits.
We cannot lie about the circumstances that we are in. Our spiritual foundations begin with our honesty before God – admitting our brokenness and our need for salvation. We cannot cover it up with righteousness or religion – that is but a facade which will quickly fade away. A lie can only be held for so long. If it is not revealed on earth, it will certainly be revealed before the Lord. Thus it is important for us to be personally truthful about our brokenness, struggles, bitterness, and un-forgiveness before the Lord. When we are open with God, it gives room for the Holy Spirit to work within us. He chooses to work this way because he desires to have a relationship with us. There is No sin too great or too many for God to handle!
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. – Matthew 18:21-22
Removing the Bandages
How do we practice the truth then? We must practice being truthful with God. This is the most painful part of maturing spiritually. Just as there is no sin too great or too many for God to handle, there is certainly no honesty and truthfulness too severe for the Lord to hear from us either. He does not look for proper words from us. He desires to know what we are most bothered by.
On the other hand, God also desires us to obey him. Not because he is a narcissist who needs absolute control, because that is something he could obtain on his own with or without our obedience. Rather, it is God’s desire for us to know him more in the process, so that we would discover and see just how great his will is! As we learn to give up our own desires for His, we would begin to discover how much greater his will was for us in the first place. How wonderful, how deep, and how glorious his love, mercy and grace is for us.
The pursuit and practice of maturing in the obedience is to grow a deeper understanding and appreciation for the wondrous glories of God in who He is. Our learning to let go of sinful tendencies are not merely the application of bandages on our sickness in sin and scars from pain. It is the spiritual act of removing the bandages themselves. Though we may be scarred, we are no longer bound by open wounds – no longer bound by shame. Though we might still have symptoms of pain, they no longer become what dictates our freedom to enjoy the Father.
Spiritual maturity is a firm understanding of who we are in the Lord. Our standing in the identity as God’s children, and not merely someone else’s. It is understanding that we are not merely a son or daughter of a parent who has physically or verbally abused you; we are not merely an orphan in worldly measure; we are not merely millionaire or someone living in poverty. We are God’s children – that becomes our identity, and where we stand so firmly and dare say even proudly. It is not an arrogance, but a humility in understanding that Christ died on the cross for me. That even in my sin and in my unclean state he chose to love me and adopt me as His child. This is the reason for our choosing obedience to His Word and His commands. This my friends is spiritual maturity.
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. – 1 John 1:28-3:1