Struggles in reaching maturity
This week’s prayers are written by Bernard Langford. The aim of these prayers is to help us see and understand how God can help us move from being spiritual youngsters to mature adults. With the help of the Holy Spirit we can be transformed so that we become strong and steadfast in the Lord.
August 8 – A New Creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” (NIV)
Sometimes, Lord, it is difficult when we read this verse after we have perhaps fallen out with our spouse, or behaved in a non-Christian way in a given situation. It makes us sad to think that we have let You down – but thank You, Lord, You understand that moving from one degree of glory to another is not an ‘overnight fix’.
Thank You that You provide Your word and the grace, and kind brothers and sisters in the faith, to help us move from being a spiritual babe to a mature adult.
So, as we come before You today, we ask that You forgive us for the things we should have done but have not done. Wash us clean by the precious blood of Jesus so that we can move forward without the failures and the guilt of the last week. Lead us deeper into the experience of Your life-changing love in Jesus. Amen.
August 9 – Flesh versus the Spirit – Romans 7:21-24
“So I find this law at work. When I want to do good, evil is there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law (ways), but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work in my body. What a wretched man/woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (NIV).
These battles we have, not only when we first become a Christian but as we mature too, need to be faced if we are to go from spiritual strength to strength. So let us take hold of Your truth, and the power of the Word and Holy Spirit, and break free from the chains that imprison us in the old life, ways and attitudes. With Jesus there is always a way!
Romans 8:1-2 says “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ, because through Jesus Christ the law of the Spirit of life set us free from the law of sin and death”
August 10 – Renewing my mind – Romans 12:2
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of the 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” (NIV)
Lord, we recognise that Your desire is to transform our lives, and lifestyles, for the better; and that changing our attitudes does not happen overnight. For some of us the journey can be difficult when it comes to changing our habits and life patterns, and this is where we ask for a double dose of Your grace.
Lord, some of the past might have damaged us emotionally and psychologically with bad memories and attitudes that are deeply ingrained within us, but You, Lord can help in repairing our broken lives.
Nothing is impossible for You; so come Lord, bring that healing and repair the brokenness within so that I can lead a victorious life and in freedom rather than being imprisoned. In Jesu’s name. Amen
John 10:10 says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have to the full”
August 11 – Feeding on Milk or Meat? – 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 (and Hebrews 5:11-14)
“Brothers (and sisters), I do not address you as spiritual but worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food (meat), for you were not ready for it” (NIV with additions).
There are occasions in our lives when sometimes hard words need to be said to us to bring about the realisation that change needs to take place.
Making no progress in our spiritual life is in some ways like our jobs where we are stuck in a rut and going nowhere. It is at times like these when decisions have to be made if I want to move on.
Do I want to get in to that place where I move ‘smoothly’ through life with God and experience real freedom and the peace that passes all understanding, or am I going to make life difficult for myself?
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for being prepared to accept second best when it comes to living my life as a Christian. Help me to reach the goal that You have set for me.
You created me to be someone special, and I want to get to that place so pour out Your Holy Spirit on my life so that I will have the grace to face up to the things that need to change in my life. In Jesu’s name. Amen.
August 12 – Learning to listening to the Holy Spirit –Acts 27-28
This account of Paul’s journey to Rome is exciting, dramatic and enlightening too. It demonstrates that Paul was so ‘in tune’ with God that he could hear so clearly what the Holy Spirit was saying and advising.
In 27:10 & 22, he made it clear that the journey was going to be difficult and later reminded them of this fact. In 27:25 he said “So keep up your courage, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as He told me”.
Reading these chapters provides a wonderful insight into the level of maturity and ‘togetherness’ that Paul experienced with God and the Holy Spirit – how amazing!
Lord thank You for Paul. His suffering for You brought about a level of maturity that we should be aiming for. Lord, help us move forward so that we can reach the very heights that You have set for our lives.
Whilst we may not all be a ‘Paul,’ You have determined our path – so come Lord Jesus, equip and guide us into that place that You planned for us. Amen
August 13 – Age is no passport to maturity in God – 1 Timothy 4:12-16
Paul said to Timothy “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity”.
In Colossians 3:1-3 also encourages us “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.’
Thank You, Heavenly Father, that You have spoken to me about needing to feed ‘on spiritual meat’ rather than being suckled with milk. I want my journey with You to a strong, an unbreakable one.
You have taken me on so far in my life because of the love You have shown towards me in Jesus, and I ask that You will give me the grace to ensure that my heart’s desire is to want to give You something back.
Help me with the blockages that prevent me from giving freely. Lord, I need Your help and abundant grace so that I can be set free from any chains that bind me. In Jesu’s name I ask. Amen.
August 14 – Not my will but Yours – Matthew 26:36-46
Maturity comes with making the right choices and sometimes making big sacrifices.
Reading through the passage, hopefully in a meditative way, you begin to feel the very deep struggles that Jesus had when being confronted with His final major earthly decision.
In V42 Jesus had reached the point where He was able to say, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may Your will be done”.
Jesus’ death brought us life and when God asks you to give something up then you will undoubtedly benefit from making that decision.
Lord Jesus, we thank You for the abundant love and sacrifice that You give us from the very first minute we lay our lives down and follow You. We give thanks that You showed us the way by coming to serve rather than be served.
You laid down Your life for us and I ask that You will give me the grace to step forward and pick up the baton/ministry that You prepared for me. Let me be a prince not a spiritual pauper, Lord. I ask in Your precious name. Amen