Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Colossians 1:3-4 "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints."
Review from yesterday:
In yesterday's post we considered what the Bible in general and the Book of Colossians in particular has to say about the subject of spiritual maturity. We noted the following point of application: Your calling as a Christian is to grow up into spiritual maturity. Today we continue this series by noting some patterns that are associated with spiritual maturity in the Christian life.
Growing up into spiritual maturity – Patterns and Particular areas Colossians 1:1-12
As we have noted already, the point of application for today’s post is: your calling as a Christian is to grow up into spiritual maturity. What patterns and particular areas do we find in Colossians 1:1-12 when it comes to growing up into spiritual maturity?
Patterns for growing up into spiritual maturity: “inward”, “upward” & “outward”, cultivated by the scriptures and the local church – Colossians 1:1-8
Paul’s formal greeting to this church in Colossians 1:1-2 begins our exploration of the patterns for growing up into spiritual maturity. Particularly in Colossians 1:2, we see reference to the Colossians in terms of their spiritual identity as “saints” or “holy ones”, their relationship to one another in the term “faithful brethren” and then their relationship to their Lord by the little phrase “in Christ”. Paul then launches into his thankfulness for the Colossians as a result of seeing their spiritual maturity. He zeroes in on the three-fold pattern of spiritual maturity we just saw in Colossians 1:2: an “inward” element, an “outward” element and an “upward element”. In other words, all spiritual maturity can be measured by how well we are cultivating our hearts (inward), relating to other people (outward) and focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ (upward). Think of these 3 patterns as the three braided rope of spiritual maturity.
First we see how and where spiritual maturity begins: on the inward level in Colossians 1:3-4a: "We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith….” Next we find how the “inward” patterns of our spiritual maturity ought to lead to the “upward” focus of the Christian life – Jesus Christ – also in Colossians 1:4 “since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus….”. Then thirdly, that “inward” and “upward” pattern of spiritual maturity should naturally lead to how we “outwardly” relate to other people. All three patterns are seen in their full bloom in Colossians 1:4 “since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints.”
With that “three-braided” rope of spiritual maturity explained, the question is: how is spiritual maturity cultivated?
To find out the answer, come back tomorrow....