There are progressive steps to maturity in Jesus Christ. These steps are outlined several times in Scripture, yet it seems that few Christians even know about them, much less follow the course where they lead. The failure to know these steps is probably the greatest reason for the defeat of those who fail to walk in a victorious Christian life. Our goal is to first see and understand these steps to maturity, while beginning the ascent up the mountain of the Lord, conquering ourselves and the enemies assigned to thwart us. At the same time, we must grow in vision, faith, and power which is the sure result of maturity in Christ.
The first step toward the success of any journey is to understand where we are going. What is our destination in Christ? Simply put, it is to have our intimate relationship with God restored, to become like Him, and to do the works that He did. Also necessary to successfully navigate to our destination is knowing where we started from. A map with the destination clearly marked will not do us any good unless we know where we are presently located on the map. So these two matters are foremost as we begin — first understanding where we are going, and then understanding where our starting point is.
The Fall of man was the result of our first parents disobeying the com-mandment of the Lord. Disobedience was then sown into the fabric of man’s nature. If you read the first two chapters in the Bible, and then the last two, you have the complete story. Everything between those two chapters deals with one essential subject — redemption. The goal of redemption is to restore man to his original condition before the Fall, which is walking with God, obeying Him, and fulfilling His mandate to rule over the earth.
However, by the unfathomable riches of God’s grace, He also established that He would not only restore man to the condition from which he had fallen, but raise him up as a glorious “new creation.” This new creation man was to be much more than simply restored to the condition of the first Adam. God walked with Adam in the garden, but the new creation man actually has God living in him! God has actually made man His temple and God now dwells in man! This is so glorious that it is often difficult even for those who have tasted the gift of salvation to fully comprehend.
The Lord created man for His pleasure, and the Lord’s pleasure comes from having fellowship with men. He loved walking with Adam, teaching, and listening to him. This was the most tragic loss of the Fall — man’s relationship to God. The ultimate purpose of redemption is the restoration of that relationship. That is why the Bible is composed almost entirely of stories of how the Lord has related to men and women in this redemption process. The ultimate quest of every Christian life is therefore to be the intimate friend of the Lord. If there is any way we can measure true Christian maturity, it will be by how close we are to God.
Moses had one of the most special relationships with God that any man has had. An example of this relationship is found in Exodus 33:9-11:
“And it came about, whenever Moses entered the tent,
the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent;
and the LORD would speak with Moses.
When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent,
all the people would arise and worship, each at the entrance of his tent.
Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face,
just as a man speaks to his friend.”
Think how wonderful it would be if every time we wanted to speak with the Lord, He would descend from heaven and speak with us face to face just like He did with Moses. Do you think that would make your prayer life a little more exciting? However, the Scripture states that what we have in the New Covenant is even better than the relationship Moses had with the Lord, as we see in 2 Corinthians 3:7-10:
“But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory,
so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses
because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,
how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?
For if the ministry of condemnation has glory,
much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.
For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory
on account of the glory that surpasses it.”
Here we see that the glory of what we have been given in the New Covenant is so great that what Moses had, even the visible glory that reflected from his face, can hardly be compared to it! We do not just meet with God face to face — we have Him living inside of us! He does not just descend to meet with us — He dwells with us continually.
Because Moses met with God face to face, his face shone with the glory of God. However, since God dwells inside of us, our whole lives should reflect His glory, not just our skin, but in everything we do. This is our calling — to be His temple, the place where His glory is manifested. This is our quest, which is more than understanding it — it is doing it. Our maturity will be reflected by how much of His glory is manifested through our lives. The reality of this should be just as clear on Monday morning as it is on Sunday morning.
We are going to study the progressive steps to maturity in this calling. I will lay an outline, and occasionally give references to other works for a more extensive study. However, we must always keep in mind that our goal is not just to study, but to walk in the maturity of our callings.
~ Pastor Rick Joyner
|Pastor Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church.|