Breaking the Cycle Part V
Breaking the cycle of immaturity
Synopsis of Sermon 10/31/10
Delivered by Bishop Walker II
Text: 1 Corinthians 13:11 11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
The Christian journey is one of maturation. We mature or evolve and develop into what God’s intent is for our lives. It is a process by where we grow in order that we might be entrusted with more. God will never entrust us with what we do not demonstrate the ability to handle. There are many people who have chosen to resist the process, because of their level of commitment and dedication which results from their lack of spiritual maturity. You would be amazed of those that want the benefits of being a Christian, but don’t want the responsibility. Much like this, there are people that want the benefits of being with us, but don’t want the responsibility that goes with it. We live in world where people are fascinated by fantasy and fiction. This makes it easy to stay immature and to play around, because risk stimulates carnality. This explains why people are so reckless in life and why people are so careless. Some people go through life and play with other folks life, because they are playing with their own life. This is important, because a person that is immature is literally content with talking the part of a Christian, looking the part of a Christian, but they are not at a point where they can be the part that God has called us to be as Christians.
Look at Jesus when he enlisted the disciples. This is really the process of discipleship. Jesus says, “I am taking you from where you are”. Jesus knows where they are, but he says to them that if they follow him, there is an evolution that is going to take place within their lives. In other words, they are going to become something they otherwise would never have become had they not followed him. There are certain indicators and certain tests that measure our levels of maturity. Every now and then, God will give us a test not to show him where we are, but so that we may know where we are. The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportioned to the embarrassment they can tolerate. This is why Paul shares with the church of Corinth who were known for being immature. Paul shares that God wants to break this cycle of immaturity in our life. There is so much that God wants to do in and through us, but many of us are still playing church. We don’t pray the way we ought to for instance. It just becomes some ritual to us and there is no sincerity in what we do. As a result, when we go through crisis, we find out that our ritual (of praying) really doesn’t have the power to get a breakthrough. God says it is time for all of us to reevaluate our lives, our crowds, and the places that we hang out at and then we need to start reflecting on our spirit of maturity. It is really time for the church of at large to grow up. Some people are still depending on others to do for us what God has empowered us to do for ourselves. We have to get to a point where we are ready to grow up. We have to be determined to break this cycle of immaturity.
Paul in Corinthians 13:11b says 11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: – In other words when we was a child:
a. We communicated as a child. -What came out of our mouth was clearly immature stuff.
b. We comprehended life as a child – Our comprehension was based on what our spiritual maturity allowed us to comprehend.
c. We made conclusions as a child. – We never had the whole picture. So we went through life with a very distorted view of what life was supposed to be for us.
If we are going to break the cycle today, we are going to have to change our character.
I. Must Change your Character
1. Character is behavior on display. It is that virtue that makes us who we are. It is that thing that determines destiny.
2. God will only release the full magnitude of blessing upon those that have character. Gifts can get the blessing, but character allows you to keep it.
3. The text says when I was a child. Paul acknowledges that all of us go through seasons where we are just childish. Ex- Some people would like for you to believe that they were born with a tambourine in their hands and they came out speaking in tongues. They want you to think that they were always deep and spiritual, but the truth is all of us have been at the place that the next scripture talks about. Ephesians 2:3 says 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. – We were naughty by nature, because that was our childish way. You have to admit that all of us have been there, but you have to get to a point where you know the indicators of spiritual maturity.
4. Indicators of spiritual maturity:
a. You are a worrier– We worry too much. You will know when you are not in a place of maturity, because you worry yourself to death. You come and get a word and as soon as you get bad news you still worry about it. You up all night long and you can’t sleep or eat. You just got a worry demon on you all the time. This is a sign of immaturity. You got to remember what Philippians 4:6-7 says. It says 6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.- In other words, when you grow up, you are able to sleep at night, because you don’t worry.
b. You’re a Whiner -Because you are a worrier, you become a winner. You are always complaining about something or another. It is never about you and always about everyone else. You whine about every single thing. This is that murmuring crowd Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians 10:10 where it says 10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.- The point is this, murmuring is an indication of spiritual immaturity.
c. You’re a Wimp- Because you are whiner, you end up a wimp. You end up being a pushover. If you not mature, you look mature and you look spiritual, but really you are not. The Devil is not intimidated by you, because he knows it is just an act. This is why he comes at you like he does. He knows you are going to tuck your tail and run. You walking around pretending to be something that you are not. 2 Timothy 1:7 says 7For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. – We are not a wimp!
5. Again in the text Paul says 11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child…We must understand that what we do determines who we are.
6. What we do determines who we are. When we say we are saved, there are certain things that we must outgrow. Grown people in the natural, don’t play in playpens. Ex – If you go McDonalds and you see a 20 yr old really playing with children in the pen (really playing, really sliding, really bouncing the balls), then you would say something is wrong with that person. We are like them, we are spiritual in God’s word full of the Holy Ghost, but look at some of the places we dwell. People are looking at us like we are out of our mind. You mean we haven’t got past this type of behavior yet? Paul says grow up!
7. Your character is on the line. The devil has a systematic way to attack our character, because he is after our destiny. Watch your thoughts, they become words; watch your words, they become actions; watch your actions, they become habits; watch your habits, they become character; watch your character, it becomes destiny. – In other words, watch what you think about, because if it sits there long enough, you will start speaking it and because you start speaking it, it won’t be long until you will talk yourself into it. Once you talk yourself into it and you get away with it, you think you can do it again developing habitual behavior and now all of a sudden it becomes a habit. Now that you have this habit, it defines what you are. For example, now you don’t just drink, you have become an alcoholic. You are being defined by your condition. Now that it starts affecting your destiny you are distracted from your destination. The real issue is, at the end of the day when you are sitting around, and if the Lord blesses you to be on this earth another for 90yrs or longer, when people define your life, what will be said about how you end up? What will be sum total of your character? Once you change your character, it puts a demand on changing your crowd.
II. Change your crowd
1. Changing character puts a demand on changing your crowd. You will realize that many problems we have has lot to do with the people we hang around. We are fine by ourselves most time, but we need a partner in crime. We need a coconspirator.
2. Paul says in the text, “11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, (I understood life as a child)”.
What this indicates is that a person that has difficulty choosing the right crowd of has:
a. Low self esteem – This thing allows us to live beneath the potential that God has for our life. In other words, we don’t have a clear understanding of who we are. As a result, we spend time with people and we want them to define and affirm us. If no one ever told us we was fearfully and wonderfully made, if no one told us that we were the head and not the tail, if no one told us that we were a royal priesthood and chosen generation, then we will attach ourselves to people based on our low self esteem. Ex – Though we don’t admit it, many of us have had low self esteem issues. We lived for the opinions of others. Why do you think people wear clothes they can’t fit in anymore? They are trying to get people to affirm who they are. When you are comfortable with who you are, you don’t need anybody to tell you how good you look and how smart you are. It is not about being arrogant; it is about being confident. We know who we are! We come against that spirit of low esteem, because if you have low self estee you will attach us to negative relationships for affirmation purposes.
b. Lousy environments – The environment gets crazy. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says 14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? Amos 3:3 says 3Can two walk together, except they be agreed? – How do we end up in these lousy environments? How do we end up in these crazy places and end up living in error?
c. Living in error – In other words, our life is nothing but one big lie. Its true birds of feather flock together. Gossipers hang out together, crazy folk hang out together, and negative people hang out together. If all these type of people hang out together, then why do we hang out with them? Many of us who have folk in our lives that influence us to do what we wouldn’t ordinarily do. That’s really what being a young person is about. You can change a young person’s crowd and it will change their destiny. It’s about influence. Ex- This is why you got to be careful with new members when they join the church. You can get them around the wrong people and they will poison them. When you hang around a certain environment, it becomes your world view. You have to determine that you will not hang out with those who are negative because you understand what Psalm 1:1-6 says when it says 1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. – When we change our crowd we start changing.
3. When we change our crowd we change:
a. Purpose- We change our places, because everywhere we go has purpose. Know that every place you go is strategic and who we go with is strategic also. So we only go places that has purpose tied to it. This is why we wait to hear this Psalm 37:23 says 23The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.- You can ask us all day to go with you, but if God hasn’t ordered us to go that way, it ain’t happening. We only go places where purpose is attached. For example Abraham left his homeland to go to a place that God told him, because purpose attached to it.
b. Productive– We only go places where we can be productive. We go places that add value not devalue.
c. Peace– We only go places where there’s peace. We don’t follow after drama. We have to declare we want to be where peace is. We realize that anyone outside the will of God will have nothing but drama or pain and foolishness to deal with. This is why we have to declare “Lord I want to be where peace is”. Isaiah 55:12 says 12For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. – God said he will lead us where peace is.
4. We got to change our crowd. When we change our character, it puts a demand on our crowd.
5. Many people say they are mature, but they do admit that they have some spiritual immaturity. We get a word and shout, but yet we worry all night long when bad news comes. Sometimes we worry, we whine, so we realize that we do need a character change. We will also admit that we know there are parasitic relationships that we know we should let go of. The truth is, we feel if we let them go, no one will pick those people up. We feel obligated. Know that if God allowed Jonah to be thrown off the ship, then that’s proof that there are those we can throw off of our ship until they grow up.
III. Change Course
1. How you end up is s a direct response to the course you choose to take. 1 Corinthians 13:11c says… but when I became a man, I put away childish things. – When we got revelation (apprehension of truth at your own level of comprehension) we put away childish things.
2. No matter what we use to be, we know we have a revelation that revealed to us the potential that is resident inside of us. Some people act the way they act, because they never got revelation.
3. It is not Gods desire for us to live beneath our promised potential. We get caught up in what feels good to us and we miss what is good for us? Paul says when he became a man or in other words when he came into revelation, he put immature things away. There is always an “a ha” moment in a message. Ex- In seminary, they tell you to always tell people your thesis or what you are trying to say, why you trying to say it, and this is what it has to do with you. We are going to now tell you what it means to come to a place of spiritual maturity.
4. How do you know when you are spiritually mature? You will know because it is the ability to stick with a job until it is finished, the ability to do a job without being supervised, the ability to carry money without spending it, and the ability to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.- In other words, you stick to a job and finish it (i.e.-start school and finish it), we go to work and stay there the full time, even though we know our boss has gone for the day, we actually have money and don’t want to spend it at the next mall we pass, and to have been done wrong and actually not want to get even (for many of us, this is the hard one). Let’s break this cycle of immaturity.