Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
(Philippians 3:15-16 ESV)
Over the past couple of days Paul has been explaining to his readers that he is not perfect and still has a long way to go when it comes to his spiritual growth. He still has a lot to learn and a lot of changing to do. This was also true of the Philippians and is true of us today.
In today’s passage Paul says that those “who are mature” will likewise understand that they are not perfect. By “mature” Paul is not referring to older people but to people who have been believers for a long time as opposed to those who are new to the faith.
Anyone who has been a follower of Christ for a while will certainly attest to the fact that spiritual growth does not happen overnight. It is a continual process of learning followed by obeying.
Younger, less mature believers may “think otherwise”. They may have improper expectations about their spiritual growth. Perhaps they think they should be growing faster than they are and may get discouraged when they don’t see changes happening in their lives as quickly as they would like. Or they may erroneously think that they have attained spiritual perfection.
Thinking too highly of oneself is a sign of immaturity. So is thinking too lowly of oneself. God wants us to be humble (a major theme of Paul’s letter to the Philippians). Humility comes from “holding true” to what we are. What we are is righteous in God’s sight.
Everyone who is born-again is an adopted child of God [John 1:12]. At the moment a person becomes a believer his/her sins are completely forgiven, never to be brought up by God again [Micah 7:19; Hebrews 8:12; Isaiah 43:25 et. al].
Therefore we do not need to let our mistakes – past, present, or future – hold us down. As we learned yesterday, we need to forget the past. Instead we need press on towards the goal at our own pace. If a person is a true believer then God is with them and will never leave them. He will constantly be working in their lives to change them into what He designed them to be.
Paul warned anyone who “thinks otherwise” to simply pray and be open to God revealing the truth. God wants us to know the truth. He does not want us to go through life incorrectly. Even understanding this is a sign of spiritual maturity.
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