How to Develop a Mature Christian Mind – Guest Post

The following post was written by Demian Farnworth, blogger for  Fallen and Flawed. To learn more about Demian, click on the links at the end of his challenging post.

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Last week I got a little frustrated when a friend emailed me this question: “Are you intimate with Jesus?”

Partly because I’m a guy and when I think of intimacy, my mind doesn’t immediately race to another GUY. But I was also frustrated because that question was attached to one of Oswald Chambers devotions.

Why would an Oswald Chambers devotion upset me?

It wasn’t the devotion itself that annoyed me. It’s the popular sentiment in America that some how we could achieve intimacy with Jesus from a devotion that annoyed me.

Don’t get me wrong: I like Chambers a lot. I cut my teeth on him as a baby Christian. But a devotion is emblematic of what’s wrong with our culture: We want our problems solved in a quick, neat manner.

What Would Chambers Think?

Looking back, I’ve often wondered if Chambers would appreciate his sermons being diced up into tidy little chunks. I don’t think he ever intended them to be consumed that way.

We’ll never really know.

But here’s the deal [I’m jumping on the encouragement band wagon now]: the amount we invest into our faith determines the amount we get out.

Little in. Little out. Much in. Much out.

If we invest 5 minutes a day with a devotion and one sunday sermon a week, we will get the equivalent in spiritual dividends. And while I can’t be precise on how much your return will be, trust me: It won’t be much.

We need to go beyond this if we are sick of spiritual frustration, weakness and doubt…if we want to become mature Christians.

Defining Biblical Surrender and Training

And really, it’s not about us. What we might gain. It’s a command from Christ: “Seek first the kingdom of God and all of these things will be added.

We should do it, then, because we want to obey God. But what we need to do first is define that intimacy and surrender we often talk about but never articulate.

Paul said in Romans 12:1 that we are to be living sacrifices. Five minutes a day and one hour on Sunday is not a sacrifice.

It’s a joke.

Let me put it in military terms. We don’t give a soldier a combat manual, tell him to skim it five minutes a day, show up for an hour on Sunday to do manuevers and then expect him to take the enemy.

Neither do we send our Marines to an Iron Maiden concert and then cut them loose on the foe at the end of the night.

No. We make them sweat in training so they won’t bleed much in combat.

Think about how Jesus prepared for ministry. Forty days of solitude, fasting and Bible study. No wonder he could resist the devil’s persistent temptations.

Listen: In every other arena of life, if we want to become the best–we train. If we want to learn a new trade–we train. If we want to learn a new sport–we train.

Why should our spiritual life be any different?

What Is Spiritual Training?

So, how do we train? says we must be renewed in our minds. How in the world do we do THAT?

Paul said he buffeted his body so that he might not fall away. So that he might win the prize. What is this buffeting Paul talks about? The Bible tells us that he fasted. Prayed. Studied his Bible. Sung hymns. Shared the gospel.

Naturally, his effort involved discipline and self-control. And I guaranteed he invested more than five minutes a day.

It all comes down to this: If we are dealing with spiritual failure, frustration or weakness, it’s our own fault.

We have the means to renew our minds–to prepare ourselves to succeed–right in front of us. It’s the Word of God. Furthermore, God tells us that the power is already in us–that’s the Holy Spirit.

We just need to learn how to depend on him.

Why Spiritual Maturity Is So Important

What’s at stake if we neglect to surrender, train and discipline our minds and bodies to serve Christ?

That you’ll be miserable is the least of your worries. The true danger is that you might fall away when persecution arises:

“We must therefore pay even more attention to what we have heard, so that we will not drift away.”

Want to know what’s interesting about that passage? The writer was talking to a Christian church who was under persecution while serving others. You’d think he’d pat them on the back. He didn’t.

Instead, he pointed out that they were immature and needed to be taught again the elementary truths of God’s Word:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food.

Temptation to abandon our faith is real. And the writer of Hebrews offers only one antidote: getting back to the fundamentals of the faith.

Paul’s Approach to Spiritual Maturity

Indeed, Paul always did the same when he encouraged the persecuted, rebuked sinners or corrected spiritual mistakes–he drove them back to the fundamentals of the faith.

And he always told them to develop a mature Christian mind.

What is a mature Christian mind? A mature Christian mind is a mind preoccupied with God. A mind absorbed with him in prayer and meditation.

The fastest route to developing a mind like this is to remember five or six Bible verses and ponder them all day.

A mature Christian mind is also a mind that sees life in light of a Christian worldview. It’s a mind growing in intellectual excellence. It’s a mind bred on the Bible, books, sermons and teaching. It’s a mind that engages believer and non-believer in conversation about important worldview issues.

And it’s a mind that listens well.

The hard truth about “following Jesus” [I prefer that to “intimacy”] is this: It costs. And it costs a lot. The same goes for developing a mature Christian mind.

But with regular practice that goes beyond a five-minute devotion and an hour on Sunday we can develop into mature Christian men and women bent one thing–and one thing only–pleasing God.

About the Author: Demian Farnworth is editor for an international humanitarian aid organization and blogger for Fallen and Flawed. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

2:1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food,

10 thoughts on “How to Develop a Mature Christian Mind – Guest Post”

  1. “Paul said in that we are to be living sacrifices. Five minutes a day and one hour on Sunday is not a sacrifice.
    It’s a joke.”

    I can’t add anything more than a hearty “Amen!”

  2. Excellent article, Demian. Thank you for your insight.

    There is little that I can add other than the importance of offering plenty of milk *and* plenty of meat in our churches. One of my personal struggles is patience with people who have been Christians longer than me and are still drinking milk. They need to be encouraged to grow, not berated for their immaturity. Your article is encouraging for both baby believers and mature believers.

    Thank you again, brother.

    -Dave

  3. Thanks for your post Damian… I enjoyed reading it. I hope it’s not your last. I really appreciated where you are coming from. Two passages came to mind as a read it.

    1) “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not go weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” As you said Damian, if we sow little then we can’t expect to reap much spiritual maturity. If we are serious about our relationship with God, we will make the time to invest into Him and the work He has for us, and not just give him the left overs of our busy and ‘important’ lives. On a side note I hate it when people (and at times myself!) says they don’t have time to spend quality time with God in bible study and prayer. Quite simply they are saying it’s not important enough to them to MAKE time.

    Also it’s important to note that the trials that WILL come along in our walk with Christ will prove what is truly in our hearts.If we are truly grounded in the saving grace of Christ, then those trial will humble us and allow God to raise us up stronger then before. It’s never easy at the time, but our perseverance in such times will prove whether true spiritual regeneration has occurred within us or whether we are lip praising.

    That leads me on to the second passage: which talks about being a worker approved by God. You spoke of training in your blog Damian… well as you said it if you want to be effective and successful at anything you have to put in the hard yards. In a blog which I am posting tomorrow I talk about how I respect athlete’s preparation and training to get to the level of competition they require. In particular Gymnastics. How can we expect to be training and ready to serve our Lord, let alone know the God we worship, if we don’t spend time with Him, allowing Him to build our spiritual muscles so that we can take on what lies ahead and better allow His Spirit to equip and guide us.

    One last point… this is turning into a blog in itself!!… You mentioned , one of my favourite verses by the way. In being transformed by the renewal of our mind, it’s important to note that God does the renewal and transforming, not us in our ‘efforts’. An athlete may have grounds to boast in all the training they do, but we dare not boast in how much ‘time we spend with God’ as a means of either guilting or showing others how ‘spiritually mature’ we are. We have no grounds to boast as none of us deserve to be saved by Christ, let alone mature in our relationship with God and faith. It’s by God’s grace and the Holy Spirit alone that we understand any truth and are equipped to serve Him. That way God gets all the glory and not us. If we are so spiritually mature, then we shouldn’t be publicizing how much time we spend with God, let alone what we sacrifice to give to Him.

    Thanks again for your thoughts Damian… I enjoyed reading them. chat soon.

  4. Excellent post.

    “Little in. Little out. Much in. Much out.”
    I would like to testify that the more you get after you have put much in, the more you are triggered to go out and get some more and so, you end up putting more in.

    I think this is a wonderful post and I will post it on my blog under Blog Posts I Like. Thanks.

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