Today was a little bit different than normal. While we were gone from home our water heater began to leak and required replacement. While our state properties caretaker David Allen replaced the water heater, I had the opportunity to sit in my recliner and read the Sunday newspaper through and listen to the idle chat on the television. During this time, I decided to surf through the channels on cable television and found a plethora of “Christian” television which featured a lot of people I have never heard of before. Obviously they have some following or they wouldn’t be on television, right? Or maybe I am just behind on things. There were some casual observations that started me thinking. Here they are, not in any particular order:
1. Seems like none of the preachers wear a full suit in the pulpit when they preach.
2. Lots of upbeat music.
3. Slick presentation, good editing and camera work.
4. Everyone preaching a series of some type.
5. Most of the preaching could have been identified as, “self-help.”
6. Lots of what I would call “fluff.”
Now, I am not offering any type of criticism, I am sure they all do great work, however, it did start me to thinking. What does real growth and spiritual maturity look like to the outside world? Is this what the average sinner is looking for? Or do they just surf on by to the action and adventure channels and watch a good movie? Of course there are the channels featuring a paternity test to learn “who is yo’ daddy,” or “he is cheating on her and she it cheating on him, while their persons of romantic interest are cheating with each other.
Then I thought, “Is real spiritual growth going on among us?” Is a real change taking place in anyone’s life? Is our relationship with God and with each other growing or failing?” Whenever I have such questions, I always go first to the Scriptures to see if there is a word for my life from the Lord, and if it is something I should share with others.
I personally believe there are some marks of maturity and discipleship the church should be striving for and there will be noticeable signs of our spiritual growth that goes beyond the fluff and the hype of post-modern Christianity. Since I shared six observations, here are six more.
1. Real spiritual growth will show spiritual fruit. Your life will change, and when it doe’s others should notice. That will be fruitful: 2 Corinthians 9:10)
2. Real spiritual growth will cause your relationship with Jesus Christ to deepen. (Ephesians 4:15)
3. Real spiritual growth will cause love to increase in your life. (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
4. Real spiritual growth brings maturity (Hebrews 6:1)
5. Real spiritual growth causes a hunger and thirst for the Word of God. (1 Peter 2:2)
6. Real spiritual growth will help us to grow in Grace and Knowledge. (2 Peter 3:18)
Isn’t it time for us to all grow up? I know that is what is in my heart, and I hope it is in yours too.