Religious Or Righteous?

Text: Matthew 23:1-7

Strict observation of religious activities like giving of alms, praying and fasting, regular church attendance, payment of tithes and offering, and so on, without genuine repentance should not be mistaken for righteousness.

There are many church people who practice these things and still continue in sin – secret and open. The Lord will not accept any of them in lieu of godliness.

However, righteousness comes when a sinner hears the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, becomes convicted of sin and makes a decision to turn to God for pardon and forgiveness. God has promised to forgive every repentant sinner. He says: ‘If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9).

Those who refuse to accept Christ but continue in religious activities which do not save will eventually regret at the end of their lives. According to the Scripture, God is angry with such people and if they die in that condition, they will spend eternity in hell where Satan will torment them forever.

But the sinner who believes God’s promise to forgive and cleanse, he or she will receive pardon on the merit of Christ’s atonement on the Cross. The pardoned believer will have a witness of the Holy Spirit that he or she is born again and has become a child of God. Therefore, a new lifestyle will begin: ‘Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

In this renewed state of being, the believer will not only be religious but righteous, godly, holy, kind, loving, gracious and God-fearing. His everyday life will be different from what it used to be. His passion and pursuit will be centered on God and he will labour to get to heaven on the last day.

The question now is this: ‘are you merely religious or righteous?’ This is a question for you and me and for everyone who professes to be in Christ. Now is the best time to ‘examine yourself to know whether you are in the faith; prove your own self… (2 Corinthians 13:5). Yet, don’t deceive yourself thinking nobody knows and sees you; ‘God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap’ (Galatians 6:7).

And ultimately, ‘…the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His. And let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity’ (2 Timothy 2:19).

...building the body of Christ

Fear Not

Text: Isaiah 35:4; John 14:27; 2 Timothy 1:7

Fear not, fear not, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I will strengthen and guide thee, and help thee to stand,
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; my only design
Is to make you more holy, more pure, and refined.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I cannot desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
It mattereth not, for I’ll never, never forsake.

...building the body of Christ

Stop And Behold

The Bible teaches that "old things have passed away, behold, all things become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). This verse is telling you to stop what you're doing and take notice of what God is doing. If you don't like what's been happening, then behold, stop and take notice.

This is precisely what you are to do on this first day of the rest of your life. God is telling you that now is the time to stop and behold. Do not look at what is seen but stop and look at what is unseen. Look at life through the eyes of faith.

There is a physical world and there is a spiritual world. The physical world is temporary and the spiritual world is eternal. Why look at what is here today and gone tomorrow? No, with eyes of faith stop and behold that which lasts forever. Look into the world of the eternal.

Sometimes the bad things in life can overwhelm you. It appears that your problems are bigger than you are and, in truth, sometimes they are. But how much more in awe should you be and overwhelmed by what takes place in the realm of the spirit?

The difference between a natural person and a spiritual person is what's on their mind. The natural person looks at what is temporary and the spiritual person looks at what is eternal. The question to be asked is, "What's on your mind?"

What you think about determines the direction your life will take. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). Your life is programmed to go in the direction of your most dominant thought. What you think about determines what you'll do, where you'll go, and what you will become. Never minimize the value of a Godly thought. Your thoughts become your desires and the Bible says that God will give you the desires of your heart. The key is to stop and behold.

When you woke up this morning did you like everything you saw around you? If not, then stop and behold. Those things are subject to change. They probably won't change instantly. The Bible says old things "become" new. And when does this change occur? When you look at life through the eyes of faith.

You may not like everything you see in your life today. Most likely there are many things in your life that are not as they should be. But when you look into the eternal you will see God moving on your behalf. What you don't like in the natural world will soon be gone and will be replaced by that which no man can touch. You must not look at where you've been but must stop and behold where you're going. This is the key to success.

As you look ahead you will see a future that is bright, a future fueled by and sustained by the glory of God. With eyes of faith you will see His goodness and His favor overwhelming you like never before. You also will see the devil stepping in and trying to put a damper on those plans. Rest assured, he will not be successful as long as you look at the situation with eyes of faith.

You can counter his evil schemes by taking a moment to stop and behold all that God has already done for you. As you do that, old things pass away and the things of God become new. Before long you will see them manifesting before your very eyes. The things of the devil don't have a ground to stand on but the things of God are founded on a Rock!

The reason many people are vagabonds and drift around in life aimlessly is because they haven't taken the time to stop and behold. They do not know which direction their life will take because they don't know where they're going. They focus too much on the past and present and never take the time to stop and see where God is taking them.

Their attitude is "whatever will be, will be" and "it is what it is." They believe they have no power to control their future but they are wrong. This power comes when they take the time to stop and behold. This power is supernatural and like a giant locomotive it has the ability to pull you through your current circumstances to a life that is filled with the glory of God.

Sad to say, the world is filled with people who like to be controlled like a puppet on a string. It's easier to let other people and certain events dictate which direction their life will take. Do not let this happen to you. God has given you one life to live and you must rise up and take stewardship of that which you've been given. You do that when you see into the realm of the spirit and by faith allow the Lord to order your steps accordingly.

Your responsibility is to obey the direction of the Lord and have the courage to put one foot in front of the other. As you do that consistently, in time you will arrive at the place you saw when you took the time to look at life through the eyes of faith.

For sure, this is a glorious place. It has to be because the Lord brought you here. A heavenly aroma fills this place and the smell of victory is everywhere. There are no weights holding you down and in the spirit you feel light as a feather.

You have come to be in the perfect will of God for your life and there is no more glorious place to be. It's wonderful! It's radiant! It's exciting! It's glorious! You have no worries here, no frets or concerns. You are in the arms of your beloved Jesus. He is your shepherd and you shall not want. Old things have indeed passed away and most certainly all things that pertain to your life have become new.

With the arms of Jesus around you it really doesn't matter what your circumstances are. What matters is that you let Jesus take you where He wants you to go. What you think is important today won't be important tomorrow. What is important is that you find your "secret place" where the presence of God dwells and by faith and obedience you go where He tells you to go and stay where He tells you to stay.

This is what the spiritual life is all about. God always leads you in triumph and in Him you go from glory to glory. Is there a better future than this? Certainly not!

Never let yourself get too caught up in the hustle and bustle of life. Your life and the days you live are more important than that. Stop and smell the roses. There is a whole other life out there waiting to be lived and you can live it when you slow down and take notice of what's out there.

Your godly thoughts and faith-filled imagination will become a photograph of the direction your life is taking. It tells you where you're going and what your life will become. There are no limits here and you can go as far as you want. Don't accept second best. Slow down, stop and behold, and become all you were meant to be. It's called living the good life.

*** Written by Randall J. Brewer ***

...building the body of Christ

Christian Humour – As Jesus Did

Text: Philippians 4:4; Psalm 32:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16

***Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused. Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others. ***

Old Pastor McTavish was dying. He sent a message for an IRS agent and his lawyer, both church members, to come to his home. When they arrived they were ushered up to his bedroom.

As they entered the room, Pastor McTavish motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. Then he grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled and stared at the ceiling.

For a time, no one said anything. Both the IRS agent and Lawyer were touched and flattered that the old preacher would ask them to be with him during his final moments. But they were also puzzled because Pastor McTavish had never given them any indication that he particularly liked either of them.

They both remembered how his many long, uncomfortable sermons about greed and covetousness had made them squirm in their seats.

Finally, the lawyer said, "Preacher, why did you ask the two of us to come?"

Pastor McTavish smiled weakly and said, "Jesus died between two thieves, and that's how I want to go, too."

*** Copyright David Tait | 'Laughing At Ourselves' | Walking With Jesus Ministries ***

...building the body of Christ

Christian Humour - Only One Miracle Today

Text: Philippians 4:4; Psalm 32:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16

***Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused. Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others. ***

Grandma Deanie took her little grandson Billy to the beach. They were having a good time until a huge wave came in and swept Billy out to sea. Grandma Deanie fell down on her knees and pleaded to the heavens, "Please return my grandson, - that's all I ask! PLEASE!!!"

A moment later, lo and behold, a wave swelled from the ocean and deposited the wet, yet unhurt child, at her feet. She checked him over to make sure that he was okay. He was fine. But still she looked up at the sky with an annoyed expression and said, "When we came he had a hat!"

*** Copyright David Tait | 'Laughing At Ourselves' | Walking With Jesus Ministries ***

...building the body of Christ

Ananias: A Man Whom God Could Use

Text: Acts 9:10-17

One of the most humbling truths revealed in Scripture is that God uses believers to accomplish His divine purposes.  Ananias, who was wonderfully used by the Lord, was the man who sought out and led Saul of Tarsus into fullness of blessing.  We read of him only twice in the New Testament, in Acts 9:10-17 and 22:12-16, but he is presented to us as the type of Christian whom God can use. Let’s consider the following points for a better understanding of the topic:-


God works through those who by the miracle of the New Birth and the baptism of the Holy Spirit have been made members of His Church, which is His Body (1 Corinthians 12:13).  In Acts 9:4 the Lord told Saul of Tarsus that in persecuting Christians he had been persecuting the Lord Himself, for believers are members of the Body of Christ. He is the Head and they are members of the Body – therefore, the disciples of the Lord and the Lord Himself are one.

During His earthly ministry Jesus had an earthly body and worked through that, but now His body is the Church, and from Heaven He (the Head) works through the individual members of that body. Ananias was a member of that body, and if you and I are to be used by the Lord we too must be members of that body. This is the first qualification of a successful soul-winner.


When God reached Naaman He did it through “a young girl” (2 Kings 5:2).  When God wanted to lead Saul of Tarsus into the assurance of salvation He used Ananias. But who was he? He was a disciple (Acts 9:10) – not an apostle, not an outstanding man, and not necessarily a leader. The fact that God delights to use ordinary people should be a great encouragement to many – look up 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.


In Acts 22:12 we read that Ananias was “devout” and “highly respected by all the Jews”. This means that his life was above reproach, his conduct was blameless and there was no insincerity about his testimony; he showed forth the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in his actions and words and made “the teaching about God our Saviour attractive” – look up Titus 2:10. God will only use those whose lives are consistent and glorifying to Him.  Is yours glorifying Him daily?


Unfortunately some Christians are not at the disposal of the Lord; if He told them to invite their neighbour to come to church they would not be willing to do it; if He told them to leave their job and go far away as a missionary they would not obey; if He told them to give a certain portion of “their” money to His work they would not be prepared to do it. 

Ananias, however, was wholly at God’s disposal. How do we know this?  Acts 9:10 tells us that he was living so close to the Lord that he could hear Him speaking to him.  Read verses 10-14, and notice the note of intimacy in this conversation between Ananias and the Lord.

He was on speaking terms with God. Can the same be said about you? Also, Ananias was willing to obey the Lord without question.  It is true he did ask the Lord some questions, but immediately God told him that his job was to “go” (verse 15) we read that Ananias “went” (verse 17).  Instant obedience!


Notice from verse 17 that Ananias did not go to Saul and say, “You’re a wicked persecutor of the Church! You have done much evil!” (verse 13). No – he put his arms round Saul and said, “Brother Saul…” – and surely there was emotion in his voice and compassion in his heart when he said this! Here is a great test:  when another Christian has hurt you, are you able to go to him and say, “Brother…”?  Your answer will determine whether God can or cannot use you.


We infer this from verses 13 and 14 – and look up and compare 1 Chronicles 12:32 and Esther 1:13.  There is, however, a yet more important knowledge that we must possess if we are to be ready for God to use us in soul-winning service, and this is indicated in 2 Timothy 2:15.  We must know how to use our Bible in pointing someone to Christ.

Can you turn to the portions and verses which show why we need a Saviour…why Jesus Christ is the Saviour we need…why He is the only Saviour…and how, when and on what conditions He saves…keeps…and satisfies…?


Look at verse 17. On the very threshold of his new life Ananias led Saul of Tarsus into the fullness of spiritual blessing, for he showed him how to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”. Ananias was obviously in the enjoyment of this fullness himself, and he knew how imperative it is for any Christian to be filled with the Holy Spirit if he is to live graciously and serve effectively – look up Acts 2:4 and Ephesians 5:18.

We can never lead others into blessings which we have not experienced ourselves. Are you enjoying the blessing of a Spirit-filled life?

*** Written by Francis W. Dixon | Words of Life Ministries ***

...building the body of Christ

A Testimony Of God’s Love And Faithfulness

Text: John 3:16; John 15:9-13; 2 Timothy 2:13

August 1st, 2008 is a day I will forever remember in my lifetime. It was a day my dad and I narrowly escaped death; that was before my dad eventually was caught up into the clouds in May, 2015. Not that we were truly worthy to be alive that day but ‘God commandeth His love towards us…’ and showed us His grace, mercy and faithfulness.

I was trying to gain admission into a University in my state of origin. I had done the Post University Matriculation Examination and got a good grade that surpassed even the cutoff marks. Later did I discover that I couldn’t gain the admission because my choice of course was one of such that hadn’t been accredited by the National University Regulatory body. Hence, no student could be admitted to the University for that course.

My dad and I had traveled to meet a sister-in-law of his nephew, who was one of the University’s Heads of Departments at that time if she could assist in any way. Our effort was futile and I believed and still believe today that the disappointment was to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for my life.

On our way back home, a truck at a distance away was slowly coming towards our direction but at the left lane of the road. We were at the right and on seeing a terrible pothole at our lane, my dad sped up so as to take the left lane before the truck was close and avert the pothole. We had almost gotten to the spot of the pothole while on the left lane, only for the truck driver to also open the throttle and aimed for a collision.

My dad was caught unawares but managed to swerve back to the right lane. And because we were at top speed, my dad couldn’t balance the car and had to make several swerves to the right and to the left and to the right and so on till the car somersaulted into a roadside ditch.

Truth be told, I was dumbfounded and good as gone in my mind. I had felt that was the end but somehow, I was breathing and because we had out seat-belts on, we didn’t sustain any major injuries. My dad regained composure and asked if I was okay. I simply nodded in the affirmative and on realizing that something terrible had just happened the tears couldn’t be caged. They came freely. And the rest was history.

This indeed is a testimony of God’s love and faithfulness towards me and dad. Those who lose their lives on daily basis on the road sometimes don’t necessarily go through similar ordeal and they are no more. But here I am sharing this testimony, having no doubt whatsoever that God loves me. And He loves you too!

Our death has been paid for at the Cross by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And no sudden death can ever overcome a true child of God. I can tell you that this incident strongly reaffirms my faith in believing that death by accident (in whatever shape or form) has no power over me.

Undoubtedly, everyone has a testimony to share about God’s love and faithfulness in their lives and family. Only an ingrate would say God hasn’t been good and faithful to him or her. For by what power and might do we breathe and sustain our heartbeats if not for God’s? By what intelligence do we go out and come in daily without being hurt and harmed if not for God’s?

A retired pastor when asked to talk about the greatest lesson he had learnt during his over fifty years of preaching and ministry. He said, “I have thought about it… and boiled it down to the one thing that has made the most difference in my life and sustained me through all my trials.

“The one thing I can rely on when tears, heartbreak, pain, fear and sorrow paralyze me… the one thing that always comforts me: Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”

It’s no doubt that Jesus loves you and me. He loves us enough to lay down His life for you and me at Calvary. For “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”. And “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 15:13; 3:16).

We are alive today only because of His grace. “It is of the Lord’s mercy that we are not consumed, because his compassion fail not. They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). Great is thy faithfulness O God!

I have experienced His faithfulness and still do. I am a living testimony; O, yes I am. Have you also experienced God’s faithfulness, love and kindness in your life? Has He been good to you, to your friends and your family? Then don’t keep it to yourself. Tell of His goodness and bless His holy name.

“Let us lift up our hearts with our hands unto God in the heavens” to praise and worship His Majesty. “O, give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good and His mercies endureth forever… To Him alone who doeth great wonders: for His mercy endureth forever…” (Lamentations 3:41; Psalms 136:1-26).

Blessed be the name of the Lord! Amen.

*** Written by Jacobs Adewale (Admin) ***

...building the body of Christ

Christian Humour - God’s Way?

Text: Philippians 4:4; Psalm 32:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:16

***Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused. Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others. ***

And God populated the earth with broccoli and cauliflower and spinach and green and yellow vegetables of all kinds, so man and woman would live long and healthy lives. And Satan developed the fast foods industry. And fast foods brought forth the 99 cent double cheeseburger. And Satan said to man, "You want fries with that?" And man said, "Supersize them." And man gained pounds.

And God created the healthful yoghurt, that woman might keep her figure that man found so fair. And Satan froze the yoghurt, and he brought forth chocolate, nuts and brightly colored sprinkle candy to put on the yoghurt. And woman gained pounds.

And God said, "Try my crispy fresh salad." And Satan brought forth creamy dressings, bacon bits, and shredded cheese. And there was ice cream for dessert. And woman gained pounds.

And God said, "I have sent your heart healthy vegetables and olive oil with which to cook them." And Satan brought forth chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And man gained pounds, and his bad cholesterol went through the roof.

And God brought forth running shoes, and man resolved to lose those extra pounds. And Satan brought forth cable TV with remote control so man would not have to toil to change channels between ESPN and ESPN2. And man gained pounds.

And God brought forth the potato, a vegetable naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy centre into chips and deep-fried them. And he created sour cream dip also. And man clutched his remote control and ate the potato chips swaddled in cholesterol. And Satan saw and said, "It is good." And man went into cardiac arrest.

And God sighed, and created quadruple bypass surgery, angioplastys, and stents. And Satan established HMOs...

*** Copyright David Tait | 'Laughing At Ourselves' | Walking With Jesus Ministries ***

...building the body of Christ

The Cross

Text: John 3:15-16; Isaiah 53; Romans 4:24-25; 1 Peter 3:18

In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.

I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agonies and blood;
He fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.

Sure never till my latest breath,
 Shall I forget that look!
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.

A second look He gave, which said,
 "I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayest live."

Thus while His death my sin displays
 In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too!

*** Written by John Newton ***

...building the body of Christ

It All Belongs To God

Key Verse: These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season (Psalm 104:27)

We fear losing our job, our health insurance and our retirement benefits, so we amass possessions, thinking the more we have the safer we are. The same insecurity motivated the builders of the Tower of Babel: “…let us build…a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).

Can’t you hear the fear in those words? Just like us stockpiling pensions, possessions and property, they accumulated and stacked until their tower of belongings grew so tall it reached heaven. Then they said, “We are safe!” But God said, “No you aren’t!”

The Bible says, “Command those who are rich…not to…trust in uncertain riches but in the living God… (1 Timothy 6:17). Riches don’t bring security. The more you have, the more you have to lose. It’s ironic; the more you accumulate the more protective you become, and the greater your concern that it could all be swept away by events you can’t control.

That’s not how God intended you to live. He wants you to save and He wants you to sow. And when you have done all that wisdom demands, to trust in nothing but Him. The Psalmist said: “…living things…small and great…all wait for You, that you may give them their food in due season” (Psalm 104:25-27 NKJV). And He does.

God’s the great giver, absolutely generous and utterly dependable. The resounding message of the Scripture is clear: God owns it all. God shares it all. So place your trust in Him – not in belongings.

...building the body of Christ

It's Time To Grow Up 1

Text: 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 2:2

Key Verse: "Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God..." (Hebrews 6:1)

Getting saved is not all there is to the salvation experience. Many who have confessed Jesus as their Lord and Savior believe that once they're born-again they can eat, drink, and be merry until Jesus comes back to take them home to heaven. These people are greatly deceived and will not fulfill their destiny if they continue to believe and act this way.

Every person who has made Jesus the Lord of their life has an assignment from on high for which they will be held accountable at the judgment seat of Christ. The end is upon us and now is the time to work and not play because life is a vapor and is quickly passing us by.

Jesus is coming soon and the kingdom must be advanced and the work of the ministry must be done. God is raising up an army of believers right now who are being trained and will soon be receiving assignments from above. Pay attention, listen well, and put into practice that which you have learned. Take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow because your training is very important and will soon be complete.

You are a soldier in the army of the Lord and soldiers are not in training forever. They're trained and then they're sent on an assignment. Without a doubt God gives us all things to enjoy and we are to be happy and joyful in our everyday lives. However, having fun all the time is not what we're here for. There will be plenty of time for fun in the afterlife but in the here and now we've got a heavenly calling on our lives and the fulfillment of that call is what living the good life is all about.

Everybody has a call, everybody has a place, but you must be trained until you reach a level of maturity where you can perform and operate in the graces and abilities God gives you. In other words, you have to grow up. It is the will of God for you to be perfected, developed, and matured for the work of the ministry.

You can't serve God fully and completely unless you are spiritually grown up. You don't give a five year old a grenade launcher and send him into battle. But the more grown up and mature you are, the greater your development in the things of God, the greater and more effective your contribution to the overall building up of the body of Christ will be.

It is a commandment in the Word of God that you become like Jesus for He is the perfect example of being grown up and mature. 1 John 4:17 says, "As He is, so are we in the world." Jesus was not a whining baby nor was He childish. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords! When you grow up and become a mighty warrior like He is, you'll be able to endure hardness like a good soldier. You'll fight on the front lines of battle and push through the adversary. You'll complete the mission you were commissioned to do.

God needs warriors who don't sit around and think about how they feel all the time. He needs grown up and mature believers who press on in battle whose war cry is, "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world! I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me!"

Everybody has a call on their life to advance the kingdom of God. He gives you special gifts and abilities to help fulfill that call but you have to grow up to see the manifestation of those gifts. If you remain a baby you won't see the full potential your spiritual gifts can achieve. For this reason God gave to the church anointed ministers to help all believers become all they were meant to be.

Ephesians 4:11-16 says, "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;

that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive, but, speaking the truth in love may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - from which the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love."

God uses people who surrender to the call on their life to do the work of the ministry and He has positioned you to be His answer to the needs of those around you.

You are called to build up and edify the church but first you must grow up to the full stature of Christ. The Message Bible says we are to be "fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. No prolonged infancy among us, please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love - like Christ in everything."

You must see the need to grow up before you can begin the journey to spiritual maturity. There is an over exaggeration of one's own maturity and most Christians won't admit they're spiritual babies. People who get upset when they're told to grow up think they already have but the fact that they are upset proves that they have not.

One characteristic of being immature is to think you're more mature than you actually are. There are Christian babies everywhere and this can be confusing to new believers because there are spiritual infants in fifty year old bodies.

It is God's will for you to grow up and He has anointed people to tell you where you actually are in your spiritual development and what needs to happen next. You need to be told the truth in love and this truth will set you free from the restrictions of childhood. Babies can't do much. They have things decided for them. They don't have the freedom and the responsibilities and the rewards that adults do. Babies live in a small world that they are the center of. The only thing they are aware of is what pertains to them.

Babies have themselves on their mind all the time. They like to vent and it's not pretty and it's not nice. Babies need somebody to do things for them. Spiritual babies look to somebody else for everything. They want their problems fixed and be told what to do. More than half the believers in the world want other people to pray for them and believe for them. These people need to be confronted and asked, "Why can't you pray for yourself?" Babies need to grow up and learn to put on their own clothes and start doing things for themselves. They need to work and carry their own weight and take on their responsibility to the body of Christ.

The majority of your learning comes from you doing the work of the ministry. You need to learn how to grow up and not burden other people with what you're dealing with. You need to deal with things for yourself. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:1, "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ." Babies can't handle much. Babies will ask you things you can't tell them because they don't have the maturity and understanding to comprehend the answer to their questions.

You can't feed a baby a T-bone steak. Everybody has room to grow. You need to grow up from where you are right now and you need to do it quickly. It is not okay to be a childish baby for thirty years. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:14, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." You need a mature, well developed spirit to evaluate and discern the things of God.

When you grow up you get very interested in the things of God, for no longer is it foolishness to you but instead is the source of life. Don't be fooled into thinking you can discern the things of God with a great intellect. It doesn't matter how smart you think you are. A good education only goes so far for it can't tap into the realm of the Spirit.

Some people are so dumb and ignorant that they actually think they're smart, that they know more than anybody else, including God. They'll dispute over doctrine or any little thing that comes up like what color the carpet should be at church. They complain if the church service went too long and they'll stay home if it's too cold out to go to church. You say up, they say down. You say left, they say right. You say white, they say black. It is time for these spiritual babies to grow up! Paul said, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11).

The Message Bible says, "When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good." Those who are deceived into thinking they're more grown up than they actually are become rebellious to the point where they won't let anybody show them where they're missing the mark and failing to grow up.

It is shameful for a person to while away the years of their life and not grow up and reach their full potential. Jesus said in Matthew 5:48, "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." People often neglect this verse because they falsely believe the manifestation of it is not possible. They assume the fulfillment of what Jesus said is beyond them so they pass right over it and move on to the next verse. The truth of the matter is that Jesus did not say try to be perfect, He said do it! Be ye perfect. He would not tell you to do something were it not possible for you to do so.

In the Bible the word "perfect" does not mean 'flawless.' Everything and everybody in the natural realm is flawed in some way because of sin and the curse that is on the earth. God is a Spirit and He's not holding a magnifying glass on your flesh. Thank God for that. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). His eyes roam to and fro across the earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is perfect and loyal toward Him (2 Chronicles 16:9). That does not mean 'flawless.'

People say "nobody's perfect" so they don't even try but the Word commands you to be perfect and therefore you must be able to be perfect. The Hebrew word for "perfect" is 'complete' and a composite of both Hebrew and Greek means 'brought to its end, complete, lacking nothing necessary to completeness, brought to its completion.' Philippians 1:6 says, "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." According to scripture, a person who is perfect is mature, fully grown, and completely developed. The more mature you are, the more you'll be like Jesus.

God intends for you to reach your full potential and for that to happen you must grow beyond where you are now. You know you're grown up when you become like Jesus. 1 John 2:6 says, "He who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked." Jesus emptied Himself and walked the earth as a perfect and mature man proving it can be done. He is now calling you to do the same thing and it is exciting to believe that you can.

--- Please click: "HERE" to read It's Time To Grow Up 2 ---

*** Written by Randall J. Brewer ***

...building the body of Christ