Friday, April 13, 2007

Pursuing Maturity

A church will look like Christ as it listens to Christ.

I’ve been pondering the statement above for some time now. I really do believe that a church will look like Christ as it listens to Christ. Also, I believe the same is true for our individual lives. A Christian will look more and more like Christ as he or she submits to Christ’s Word. Think about this with me.

This statement assumes at least two things and implies one huge reality. First, notice that this statement assumes that a church wants to look like Christ. It assumes that reflecting the character of Jesus is important and central. Another way of communicating this would be to say, “A church will mature as it listens to Christ.” As a church (and as a Christian), we must have as our goal to grow in maturity. Likeness to Jesus does not just happen. It is a pursuit. Remember: the goal of the church is not how many people are coming, but what the people are becoming (Ephesians 4:1-16).

Second, notice that this statement assumes that Christ’s voice can be heard. It is possible to listen to Christ today. We find the Word of Christ in the Bible. He has spoken finally and fully, and we have His Words written down and translated into a language we can understand.

Finally, notice the huge implication of this statement. If a church matures as it listens to Christ, the church must position herself to hear God’s Word as clearly and as much as possible. A primary means of grace is the preaching, teaching, reading, and obeying of Christ’s voice contained in the Bible. If we don’t understand this, we will never hear the force of Paul’s charge to Timothy: “Preach the Word” (2 Tim. 4:2). Why leave Timothy with this charge? Why not charge him to be a good organizer or vision-caster? Paul leaves this charge with Timothy
because Paul knows that God builds (matures) His Church by His Word.

John Piper has often said, “Beholding is becoming.” We become increasingly like whatever we focus on. I could not agree more. The more we behold Christ in and through His Word, the more we will become like Him and reflect His beauty to this world.

Longing to be like Him,
Justin Childers

2 comments:

Dutch said...

Good words Justin!

One thought...
You stated: "If a church matures as it listens to Christ, the church must position herself to hear God’s Word as clearly and as much as possible."

I would amend to say that the church (and us as individuals) must "continually" position herself to hear God's Word. The reason being, as you also stated this is a pursuit, that as we grow He will reveal more to us and we need to hear or listen at each step. If we think that we have arrived and cease to listen, we will stall in our pursuit.

I pray that I too will look more like Christ!

Mark Redfern said...

Justin,

"A Christian will look more and more like Christ as he or she submits to Christ’s Word." Key word: Submits.

We can hear Christ's word, but we must be more than hearers. True listeners are doers. We will only become like Christ by listening and obeying.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way, not only to be happy in Jesus, but also to be like Him.

Good thoughts. I couldn't agree with you more. This is the reason I am not more like Christ than I am. There is certainly no shortage of hearing and reading in my life. But, will I apply it? I want to. God help us!