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Spiritual Fitness

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  1. Answering the Question: If I am a Christian, why Do I still struggle? Spiritual Fitness A Guide to Biblical Maturity

  2. Looking at the problem “Basically my wife was immature. I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats!” (Woody Allen) The promise: Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  3. Looking at the Problem Consider what God intended in our lives (Dennis Rainey) • Infants • Children • Adolescents • Adults • Mentors • Patriarchs Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  4. Hearing and Doing EZE 33:30 "As for you, son of man, your countrymen are talking together about you by the walls and at the doors of the houses, saying to each other, `Come and hear the message that has come from the LORD.' 31 My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. 32 Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  5. Hearing and doing LK 6:46"Why do you call me, `Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete." Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  6. Hearing and Doing • LK 8:21 He replied, "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice.“ • Philippians 4:9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  7. Hearing and Doing LK 8:11 "This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  8. Maturity matters • Studies indicate that the majority of people never fully mature. • Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly [fleshly]--mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly [fleshly]--. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly [fleshly]--? Are you not acting like mere men? 4 For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  9. The Church at Corinth • Could not understand the “solid” food of Scripture • Involved in “hero worship” • Questioned leadership • Tolerated immorality • Unable to make spiritual decisions • Were unloving • Abused gifts • Misunderstood doctrine (resurrection) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  10. John’s note John For four years I have put up with your yelling and complaining. You keep saying you’ll try harder, but I don’t see any change. I’m sorry, but I’m leaving. –Cherie Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  11. Recent Survey • Most Christians equate spiritual maturity with following the rules. • Most churchgoers are not clear what their church expects in terms of spiritual maturity. • Most Christians offer one-dimensional views of personal spiritual maturity. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  12. Recent Survey • Most pastors struggle with feeling the relevance as well as articulating a specific set of objectives for spirituality, often favoring activities over attitudes. • Pastors are surprisingly vague about the biblical references they use to chart spiritual maturity for people. Barna, George. www.Barna.org. Many Churchgoers and Faith Leaders Struggle to Define Spiritual Maturity. Internet article, faith/spirituality. May 2009. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  13. The Steps 1. Warm up • De-bunking the myths • Taking an assessment • Being motivated 2. Meet the Trainers 3. Measure Your Progress Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  14. Get Real – eliminating the myths of Maturity • Maturity is modeled by parents • Maturity is age related • Maturity is a all or nothing product’ • Maturity never regresses Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  15. Get Real – eliminating the myths of Maturity • Maturity is directly proportional to what we know • Maturity is easier for some personalities. • Maturity can be achieved without a relationship with Jesus Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  16. Maturity Defined Secularly • A movement from dependence and independence to interdependence • A shift from egocentricity to other-centricity • From passivity to pro-activity • From pleasure centered to purpose centered • From acquisition of knowledge to application Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  17. Maturity defined • And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18) • And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. . . to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, . . . (Romans 8:28-29) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  18. Maturity is: • To respond to our surrounding environment with the same heart, perspective, insight, and impact that Jesus has. • To represent what God looks like to those who have never seen him. • To develop and exhibit the skills necessary to negotiate life successfully. • To become in character all that God expects. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  19. Caution Growing Is Different than Changing • Growing is long term refinement towards a goal • Change requires immediate attention Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  20. Why is putting away childish things so hard? • When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (I Corinthians 13:11) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  21. Why is putting away childish things so hard? • Ignorance • Denial • Pride • Laziness • Impatience • Overwhelmed • Fear Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  22. Taking the Test

  23. Examine Yourself – the tests of: • Contrast • Application • Freedom • Stability • Control • Ageing • Direction • Transition • Insight/wisdom • The tongue • Mending • Endurance • Adversity • Solution • Motive • Prayer • witness Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  24. Contrast • The immature have a way of speaking, thinking and reasoning. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. (1Corinthians 13:11) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  25. Application • The immature cannot use God’s Word to meet needs and settle life’s issues We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews. 5:11 -14) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  26. Stability • The mature have spiritual stability. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. (Ephesians 4:14) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  27. Freedom • The mature have no need of direct supervision What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. . . 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:1) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  28. Control • Mature people evidence the control of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23 Ephesians 5:18-21 Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  29. Fruit of the Spirit • Love: Non-possessively caring for others in a proactive way that puts their needs above your own. • Joy: Allowing a smile of contentment to spread over your spirit, even when things are not going your way. • Peace: Experiencing a freedom from inner conflict in all circumstances. • Patience: Being able to wait without irritation and comment for people in your life. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  30. Fruit of the Spirit • Kindness: Expressing a tenderness and sensitivity, even when expressing the truth about a difficult matter. • Goodness: Exhibiting moral excellence in every activity with the goal of doing beneficial things in the lives of those around. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  31. Fruit of the Spirit • Faithfulness: Reflecting God’s “you can count on me” character in all circumstances and in such a way that people around you feel like they can depend on you. • Gentleness: Exhibiting the softer elements of strength under control. • Self-control: Expressing self-mastery in your use of your time, habits, and personal resources. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  32. Ageing • As the mature age, they reveal the process of maturing You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. 3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can train the younger women . . . (Titus 2:1-4) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  33. Direction • The mature live their lives in God’s will • Romans 12:1-2 God’s Word teaches 22 aspects of God’s will. Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  34. God’s Will 1. When we are without words in moments of suffering, the Holy Spirit is praying for it. (Romans 8:26-27) 2. God’s will involves a giving of ourselves to Him. (2 Corinthians 8:5) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  35. God’s Will 3. God wants us to live moral lives. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) 4. It is God’s will to give thanks in everything. • give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  36. God’s Will 5. God wants us to be doing good. • It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. (I Peter 3:17) 6. God’s will may take us out of the comfort zone into a time of suffering. • So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (1 Peter 4:19) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  37. God’s Will 7. God wants some to serve in special ways. • Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, (1 Corinthians 1:1) 8. He wants us to live up to the standard made possible by Christ. (Galatians 1:3-5) 9. God has revealed his will to us. (Ephesians 1:3-10) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  38. God’s Will 10. We are expected to understand his will.  • Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:15-18) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  39. God’s Will 11. We are expected to practice God’s will at work.  • Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. (Ephesians 6:6) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  40. God’s Will 12. God is at work in us to accomplish what he desires.  • PHIP 2:12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  41. God’s Will 13. Knowledge of his will should produce a life that is pleasing to him. (Colossians 1:9-14) 14. We can pray for this kind of will.  • Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. (Colossians 4:12) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  42. God’s Will 15. God gifted us according to what he wants accomplished. • God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. (Hebrews 2:4 ) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  43. God’s Will 16. God equips us to do his will. • May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  44. God’s Will 17. Our lives should be lived according to God’s will.  • Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 2 As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (I Peter 4:1-2) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  45. God’s Will 18. Doing God’s will has eternal value. • The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 2:17) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  46. God’s will 19. God grants prayers about his will. • This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of him. (I John 5:14-15) 20. God will reward those who do his will to the end.  • To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—(Revelation 2:26) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  47. God’s Will 21. We should pray for his will. "This, then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. ” (Matthew 6:9-10) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  48. God’s Will 22. There is a formula to discovering God’s will.  • Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  49. Transition • The mature are becoming someone Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 1:1) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love (2 Peter 1:5-7) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity

  50. Insight/Wisdom • The process of maturity yields insight and wisdom My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,:2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding,3 and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, 5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:1-6) Spiritual Fitness, A guide to biblical Maturity