Growing Up Emotionally and Spiritually

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
tempertantrums.jpg“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2, NKJV).
Spiritual growth is required of Christians, if we will mature in the faith. Christians that remain stagnant are not growing, but slowly dying spiritually. Peter points out that the study of Scripture facilitates this growth. We learn how we are to conduct ourselves in life situations and how to take God’s Word to the world. We find transformation by the immersion in Christ and by our daily walk in the Lord (Romans 12:1-2).
The Christian walk requires constant attention to God’s will for our lives. We cannot conduct our spiritual lives on automatic pilot.
“Moving through life on ‘automatic pilot’ means, ‘A state of mind in which one acts without deliberate effort or self-awareness.’ It refers to disengaging our brains as we perform routine tasks without much conscious thought. The Christian life cannot be lived on automatic pilot.” /1
Remaining constantly aware of who we are as Christians, we walk through life as new creatures with different mindsets, manners and purpose. We relate to people in a completely new way.
However, there is more to the story.
Do we realize that to accomplish much of what the Lord wants us to do, we must also grow up emotionally? Emotional maturity is important when we try to live as Christians. Since we cannot live on automatic pilot, we must be cognizant of how we are supposed to live. Moreover, very little of God’s will for our lives is natural to us as humans.
God calls us to be transformed, rather than doing what is natural. The human, emotional reaction to being wronged is to lash out and seek revenge on our enemies. The Lord calls us to fill our hearts with Scripture, so we can avoid these sins. We must remain aware of God’s will and act contrary to the normal, fleshly tendencies of man.
Emotional immaturity can make these transformed behaviors more complicated or block them completely.
Scripture teaches us to be united in the Lord’s church (1 Corinthians 1:10). Unity requires that we remain focused on God and put others above ourselves. We develop a big-picture mentality where we put the plan of God above our own way and wishes (Ephesians 3:20-21).
If we are, instead, paranoid, insecure, argumentative, jealous or a host of other things, we cannot get through the haze of our own weaknesses and do God’s will. We must fight through them and try to put them behind us, because they may be destroying our congregations and relationships.
If we will turn the other cheek or carry the gospel to a lost and dying world that hates God, we will have to toughen up (John 17:11-16).
Insecurity can neutralize the work of God in our lives and allow Satan a foothold. We must be growing emotionally as well as spiritually, if we will ever make an impact in a lost world. Our immaturity can destroy the positive work of Christ in our communities. Therefore, we must do all that we can to get them out of the way so that God can be glorified.

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