Kingdom Living: Becoming Mature in Christ
For years, I have struggled in my Christian walk to arrive at a place where I could live my life according to biblical principles. Most people I have ministered to over the years share this same desire: to become all that God has created them to be. As I observed fellow believers, I would sometimes envy those who seemed to have it “all together,” who seemed to live a life of “perfect” biblical balance.
Yet, what I have found, through years of counseling, is that despite outward appearances, most believers struggle with deep inner issues within their lives — issues such as sin and lack of self-discipline. If you are struggling with these areas in your life, know that, from this moment on, you are not alone, or even that unusual.
As a Western Christian, I have tried hard to do things “right.” I have punched all the right tickets on this train of life — having completed a university education, obtained a modicum of success in my professional career, and have been faithful to the local church.
Despite these “right” steps, in many ways, I (seemingly) went in the wrong direction. In truth, I probably gave more emphasis to psychology than to Bible training and ministry. For many years, I thought I had made a mistake in the direction that I selected; yet, today I am convinced the Lord’s hand was in it all.
Through my selection of psychology as a profession, God has allowed me to study human behavior, marriage and family counseling, as well as to prepare more fully for the ministry. You see, the Lord knew the overall plan and purpose for my life — He knew the beginning, and He knows the end.
The same is true for your life!
God knows where you are now, and no matter how fragmented the parts of your life might seem at the moment, He knows where you are going — and your life has a purpose!
I remember shortly after I was saved, my mom would encourage me to read the book of Proverbs. At an early age, I developed a hunger for God’s Word and a hunger to know God in all of His fullness.
The primary scripture the Lord gave me as a young lad was Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path.”
I desired God’s direction and guidance. I also desired wisdom to be able to help others who hurt and needed specialized ministry. After time, and growing in God, I began to study the field of psychology, developing a fascination as to why people do what they do, and what makes them function.
Through my university and graduate school training, I found there were not nearly as many concrete answers as there were nagging questions — questions about why people do what they do, how dysfunctional patterns develop — questions, questions, questions, but not always sufficient answers.
I sought God with all of my heart, asking Him to show me what model, what plan could be found in the Word that people could use to get to the place where they can be truly whole in the Lord. I found there were two keys toward experiencing inspired understanding:
- Seek after God, and He will give you wisdom, and,
- Be obedient to those things God shows you.
I did not always properly respond to the first key God gave me, the second one was frequently slow in coming. Herein lies a key to spiritual growth. The Living Bible says, “Growth in wisdom comes from obeying his laws” (Psalm 111:10).
As we obey God’s guidance, putting His revelations into practice through obedience, we grow.
Stay tuned for part II. Dr. Stan
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