What Maturity In Christ Looks Like

nature-768458 copyMy heart has been burning for a while now.  These words threaten to spill in a fiery tumble onto your screen.  My heart, seared with Paul’s message to the Corinthian church.

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.  2 Co 11:3

Dear beautiful western church, it isn’t about the size of our buildings or our meetings.  The size of our ministry platform has NOTHING to do with the size of our reward in heaven nor does it necessarily reflect the scope of our obedience here on earth.  If our meetings grow because they are benignly catering to popular culture, we are missing Jesus.

Maturity in Christ is not measured by the edginess of our spiritual encounters or the complexity of our spiritual systems.  Maturity is not mastering some new heavenly protocol of engagement.

In our western world, the complex is often heralded as the purview of the mature and wise.  But Jesus never, ever made the simple complex.  That is what the pharisees did.  They “complexified” {yes I just invented a new word} what God gave and then became experts in the field of their own religious intricacies. Jesus warned us about that.  Watch out for that kind of leaven {Mt 16:12}.

Maturity is not measured by the scope of our influence, the number of prayers miraculously answered or by how many ministry training events and mission trips we have completed.  It isn’t determined by our Facebook following or social media reach.

Maturity is found in the simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus.  Period.

I’m burning on the inside because I’ve been watching deception and distraction take out people I care about.  It isn’t OK with me.

Maturity is not found in embracing esoteric “elohim energy” or “agape frequency” or programs of mystical fasting that come directly out of Hinduism from New Age Yogis.  Breatharianism is not Jesus- it is straight-up occult spiritism. I lived in India. I have seen this thing up close and personal.  Last I checked, Jesus said to taste and see that He was good and He is throwing a wedding feast. He is very much into eating.  I am beyond disturbed folks I know (and love) are welcoming this as the next big God-thing into their lives and the lives of those they influence.  IT. IS. NOT. OK.

I’m watching others get pulled away by focusing on nephilim agendas, aliens and transdimensional “prophetic” experiences so much that their theology is becoming closer to a Star Trek episode than the reality of Who Jesus is.  Basically the enemy is successfully offering genuinely hungry hearts a dressed-up hipster version of gnosticism as new revelation, a quest for secret hidden knowledge and power. But it is in JESUS all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found {Col 2:3}.  Inside of Him.  Inside of His heart.  Not anywhere else.

Gut honest.  I wrote a book about the biblical supernatural lifestyle available to us in Jesus.  I still believe in everything I wrote (as it was rooted in Jesus and in Scripture}, but I don’t even like to use the word supernatural anymore.  It has too much potential mixture in it.  I think I want to start calling our journey the “super-normal” Christian life.  Where God’s normal becomes our natural.  It is the Christ-centered life where He is our aim, our goal, our focus, our delight, our joy, our everything.

Maturity is when we no longer have to be spoon fed and hope that the next event will sustain us through… to the next event.  Does God use meetings and conferences to pour into and encourage us?  Absolutely.  But following our five favorite ministry speakers from event to event cannot be the core of our journey with Jesus. I fed my kids in Africa when they were little.  But as they grew they learned how to feed themselves.  Feeding a 6 month old every meal by hand was right and healthy.  Spoon feeding a 16 year old is a sign something is seriously wrong.

Beautiful church, we must, must cultivate our own personal history with God.  No one can do that for us. He must be the center.  Him.  If anything or anyone else has taken center stage in our hearts, it’s idolatry.

I know I may have stepped on some of your toes in this tumbling discourse.  You are absolutely free to disagree with me. You are free to be mad at me and think I just don’t get it or am beneath your spiritual plane. No worries at all.  But may I ask you this?

Where is the living, breathing person of King Jesus in the midst of your spiritual pursuits?  Is HE the center of your gaze, the focus of your fascination, the deepest hunger of your heart, the greatest goal of your desire?

If He isn’t, there’s no condemnation here from me.  None at all.  Just an invitation.

Maybe it is time to ask Him to refocus our hearts, to spend some time out in creation with Him away from latest spiritual fads and trendy doctrines to listen in stillness. Perhaps it is time to let the daisies and the grass of the field which Jesus clothes in splendor remind us of maturity, simplicity, humility and abandoned devotion.  To let His love’s gaze strip all the complexity away until it is just us and Jesus again, spun round and round in His arms until all we can see is Him.

Dear Jesus, it is You and You alone Whom I endlessly crave.  Selah.