Maturing Followers

A couple of weeks ago I was pushing my granddaughter on the glider of her swing set. When we swing on the glider, Rilyn has to bring her little friends along. Dora gets stuffed into the crack of the seat across from her, while Giraffe sits on her lap. The interesting thing about Rilyn is that she likes me to push her as high as the glider will go, so we have to strap her and Giraffe into the seat with my belt.
As I began pushing her higher and higher, I heard Rilyn reassuring Dora and Giraffe that everything was going to be OK. She said to them several times, “You don’t have to worry, I will keep you safe, it’s OK.” Well, for two and half years old, I thought Rilyn’s words of comfort were amazingly mature.
In the past two articles, I have been sharing some insights from Jim Putman’s book, Discipleshift. He would say that one way of determining a person’s spiritual maturity is to simply listen to what a person says. Quoting Jesus from Luke 6:45, Putman would say “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” So far I have shared examples from the “dead,” “infant,” and “child,” stage. In this article I will share some examples of what a young adult and parent would say as they are becoming more like Jesus.
In I John 2:13-14 we find that a spiritual young adult is increasingly gaining victory over evil and is growing in intimacy with the Father. They are becoming less self-centered and more God and others centered. Walking as Jesus walked is becoming a more prominent way of life. A spiritual young adult can be heard saying things like:
In my devotions today, I began to meditate on why it is that God is mindful of mankind.
I’d like to go on the Haiti mission trip this summer because I believe I will gain new insight into what God wants to do with my life.
I love teaching Sunday School, it seems God is working through me to help the kids grow in their understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.
I have a coworker who thinks most Christians are hypocrites, I know I’m not perfect, but I shared how God is changing my life.
I was in the grocery line last week and because of the government shut down, the clerk wouldn’t take the food stamps of the person in front of me, so I just paid for her groceries.
And then finally, although the Holy Spirit is the only one who births people spiritually, a spiritual parent is one who intentionally disciples one or more people. Spiritual parents are passionate about bringing the Kingdom of God to their circle of influence which flows from their love relationship with God. A spiritual parent says things like:
I wonder how I could build relationships with some of the people in the trailer court.
I’m going to start a small group to help our men become spiritual leaders of their family.
Kids, as part of our devotions tonight, I’d like to share my vision for our family.
I have had several classmates in our school whose dads have passed away, I think I will ask my Pastor to join me in starting a support group.
My business has been so profitable; I think I’m going to fund a new church start in our Classis.
After reflecting on my swing time with Rilyn, I could only wonder how many times Mitchel and Traci reassured her that she doesn’t have to be afraid either; in a sense, Rilyn is becoming a growing disciple of her parents. And how about you, do the things you say and do reflect that you are a maturing follower of Jesus? Under His Mercy, Mike

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