Moving toward Maturity – Part 2
“But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes.” (Psalm 78:56 NIV)
… After being in bondage for centuries, the Jewish people had to overcome their slave mentality or they would never have been able to conquer their enemies and claim their inheritance. Israel’s complaining and criticizing was a constant irritation to both Moses and the Lord. But this juvenile attitude is also true of many of God’s people today who should be enjoying their freedom in Christ. If you find yourself thinking or saying any of the following statements, you are still living like a slave and you need to start moving toward maturity.
“I don’t see why that happened!” Mature believers walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). The Lord was preparing his people for the battles and blessings that they would meet in the Promised Land. Every temptation we overcome can help to sharpen our spiritual eyes and strengthen our spiritual muscles, and every trial can help us grow in grace.
“Lord, I’ve had enough trouble!” During their wilderness journey, the Jews experienced hunger, thirst, and the attacks of enemy armies, and their usual response was to complain. None of us is entitled to anything. All we receive is by the grace of God and we should not complain.
“I’m entitled to get what I want!” The people asked for meat to eat and God gave it to them, but many of them died because of this (Numbers 11). Have you grown enough in your spiritual life that you can be thankful for unanswered prayer?
“Oh, for the good old days!” Whenever the going got tough, the Jews wanted to go back to Egypt, back to slavery and pain. But that was not God’s plan. “Let us go on to perfection [maturity]” is our challenge (Hebrews 6:1). Growing from babyhood to adulthood isn’t easy, but who wants to remain in the cradle and the playpen?
Provoking God by our childishness and rebellion only grieves him and robs us of the best he has planned for us. We who belong to Christ are no longer “of the world” (John 17:16), but is there anything of the world still in our hearts? If so, then let’s confess it and forsake it so that, like Israel of old, we don’t compromise and get back into bondage. Our citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
-Warren Wiersbe (excerpted from the devotional book Old Testament Words for Today)
Read Psalm 78:52-72.