It’s Time to Grow Up
The book of James focuses on growing up and maturing and if there ever was a time in our history when Christians needed to grow up and mature, it’s today. James speaks to spiritual progression. He wrote about little children growing into strong young men and women of faith who have God’s Word abiding in them and are overcomers in a world filled with obstacles and trials.
James starts this incredible letter this way:
James, a bondservant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad: Greetings. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Notice first of all he calls himself a bondservant. The Greek word is doulos and it’s used no fewer than 125 times in the New Testament. I think God, as he wants us to grow up in our faith, is dropping a very unsubtle hint. Just as James and the early believers understood this relationship of being a slave to God, so must we today. We can’t be a slave to sin or technology or football or whatever else holds us back from the freedom of growing in Christ. No, especially today we need to be a slave to God.
Question: Have you grown into the joy unspeakable and full of glory that comes from being a slave, a bondservant of Jesus Christ?
That is where real life is. Or, are you still in the baby stage of your relationship with God crying and demanding what you want, when you want it? It is time to grow up, beloved.
How do we grow up into servant hood? 1) we’ve must remember Who we are serving, and 2) we have to remember what They did for you. We are serving the Lord Jesus Christ. And, He has rescued us. He has freed us. He has had mercy on us when we didn’t deserve it. He has done everything to save us and give us a full life.
We also grow up, or progress in our faith, when we “count it all joy when we fall into various trials.” James says if we are going to be a successful servants of God, if we are going to grow into real discipleship, we need to know something: when we fall into a trial that is all around us, we need to command ourselves with authority to be cheerful and to be calm in the midst of it. Don’t lose it; don’t quit and give up and become bitter at God or bitter at people and continually say, “woe is me.” Don’t do that.
I know it’s not easy, but being a Christian today isn’t for sissies. Standing for our faith isn’t for sissies and wimps. More than any time I can remember we need a mature perspective that looks the trial or obstacle or circumstance or disease in the eye and says, “Hey, you are not going to get the best of me because it is not in the will of God for me, in Jesus Christ, to be overcome by trials. I have the authority to overcome the trial, through Christ.”
One problem with the American church is that we’re so used to being so comfortable and so coddled that when trials come we freak out; we don’t know what to do; we don’t command ourselves with authority to have cheerfulness and calm. We wig out. People watch us wig out and God’s kingdom isn’t expanding in our hearts. We need to grow up in a huge way.
Friends, Faith will produce patience and maturity—the things that we really need. Maturity is the goal. 2 Peter 3:18, But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. It’s about growing.
Maturity doesn’t happen simply by us coming to church; it happens by us coming to church and weaning ourselves from milk and going after something solid. Are you ready for a meal that you’ve never had before? Are you ready to be a bondservant for Jesus and as these trials come our way stand firm with the joy of the Lord?