Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:1-14
Observation: Paul shares his final words with the Corinthians, showing that the journey of faith ultimately leads to becoming a mature follower of Jesus. He says that, like Jesus who was crucified in weakness but rose from the grave with power, we should also see our weakness as way to humble ourselves and grow closer to him.
Application: While Peter Pan never wanted to grow up, I was on the total opposite side of the spectrum. I was all about growing up. I wanted to read books above my reading level, shave my legs, get my ears pierced, feel qualified to stay home alone without a babysitter – I just wanted to grow up and experience everything that came with the elusive allure of “maturity.”
I soon found out that growing up also came with more challenges and responsibilities. It came with curfews and rules and expectations. While the actual “reward” part of maturity was fun, the added responsibilities were rarely as enjoyable. Growing up was a process, one that takes time and patience and some resilience.
Faith is a lot like growing up.
Maturity is Paul’s ultimate hope for the Corinthians. Although he doesn’t always use that word, he constantly points them back to growing in their faith. He knows that the reward of faithfulness is great, but the process is painful.
Growing up in our faith means repentance. It means turning away from our old sin, just like the sins Paul talked about at the very end of chapter 12 (impurity, sexual immorality, eagerness for lustful pleasure).
Growing up in our faith means stripping off our old behaviors, layer by layer, and embracing new life with Christ.
Growing up in our faith means becoming others-focused. As Paul writes in verse 11, “Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.”
Growing up in our faith isn’t a project; it’s a process. We’ll never reach completion until the day that we’re united with our Lord in heaven. Until then, we’re in a maturing process. Every day, we find new depths of our sin, new things that hold us back from God’s best for us. So, we strip. We peel away. We endure. And, we mature. We become more and more like Jesus Christ – humble, selfless, and pure.
Prayer: God, I pray for maturity in my faith. I pray for perseverance in my calling. I ask that you help me strip away dysfunction and anything that keeps me from becoming more and more like your Son, Jesus. When my faith is tested, when I feel weak, I pray you will help me to endure. Amen.
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