(James 1:2-4 TPT)
2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!
3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things.
4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.
(Gen 39:21-23 ERV)
21 The Lord was with Joseph and continued to show his kindness to him, so the commander of the prison guards began to like Joseph.
22 The commander of the guards put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. Joseph was their leader, but he still did the same work they did.
23 The commander of the guards trusted Joseph with everything that was in the prison. This happened because the Lord was with Joseph. The Lord helped Joseph be successful in everything he did.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. It’s Time to Grow Up!
With everything going on in the world right now, I believe this series is critical. It takes maturity to walk with God through and after a global pandemic and make it out on the other side with your faith intact. This is what this series on “faith and patience” is about. This is why we have been learning about patient endurance. Life is not always going to go the way you want it, but if you can maintain your faith throughout any storm, you will be considered “mature” in God’s eyes. Side note on that, one that my wife brought up this past weekend, God may answer you but the blessing might not come in the way you thought it was going to show up. It might not come in the way you wanted it or how you wanted it. So, don’t hinder you blessing because it didn’t go the way you thought it was going to! Dr. Myles Monroe once said, many people forgo their blessing because when their blessing came, it looked like work, and therefore, they quit before it was time or they didn’t pursue it at all! Don’t let this be you! And be open to that perspective!
One of the issues I see with believers opening our hearts to Godly maturity is a lack of understanding concerning what maturity in Christ is or what it looks like. Being mature in Christ does not mean you have memorized a bunch of scriptures, (even though that’s good, but if you don’t live those scriptures it means nothing). Being a mature believer does not mean you have been a “church goer” for a long time, (even though going to church is good, but if we go to church but never BECOME the church, and live it out in this world, it means nothing). In this series, I am painting a picture of what it looks like to be mature in Christ. Both faith and patience are required to live a life that is pleasing in God’s sight, and the latter is especially required to mature as a child of God.
2. What it looks like to be a MATURE believer!
I will provide a three-part answer.
a) A mature believer has faith and they live by it.
— This person has the audacity to believe God on His level as God speaks it and we don’t come up with it ourselves, (that is hugely important).
— So when God speaks (in a dream while they are sleeping, an open vision while they are awake, through the Holy Spirit, or through someone else, through the Holy Scriptures etc.), no matter how big, outlandish, or outrageous the promise is, this person believes that God can and that He will DO, perform it in his/her life.(As long as this is a God dream, otherwise, it’s a pipe dream, please remember that).
— Not only does this person believe God, but this person then has the audacity to launch OUT into what God said, even when there is no sense-realm evidence to support it, and even if there is a plethora of sense-realm evidence against it. (as it pertains to God’s timing, not ours).
— A mature believer lives by faith because without faith they know it is impossible to please God! (Heb 11:6).
b) A mature believer has patience and they are continually developing in it.
— Not only does this person believe God, but they also understand that God’s promises will not manifest overnight. So, he/she is not moved by time or circumstances.
— Not being moved by time takes maturity. This person is so convinced that God will do what He said He would do, that they are willing to hold on God’s promises for days, weeks, months, years, and even decades if that is what it takes.
— Not being moved by circumstances takes maturity as well. This person knows that situations change all the time and that things may get worse before they get better, but through it all, God is still God, His promise is still true, and He will never turn His back on His Word. So, while situations change, God does not, and this person maintains their faith in an immutable God.
— This person has added patience to their faith. This patient endurance is helping them develop into the mature believer God requires us to be. They believe God, and they are committed to continuing to believe God, no matter how long it takes. The patient endurance that is in operation in their life is the great indicator of Christian maturity.
C) I will also point out true maturity is knowing it’s all about God and for His glory and not ours. Anything that takes away from God is vainglory and a sin according to scripture. Maturity knows we are supposed to walk in humility, and point the focus to Christ at all times because we know it’s all about Him anyway! Everything is to Him, for Him, and about Him! Anything less is immaturity! So, we need to understand this as we are supposed to always being in the pursuit of bringing glory to God, where it will always belonged!
*** Since this person is unmoved, unchanged, and unfazed by the changes of this world, and they keep their faith intact throughout any and all opposition, they are mature. The text says, there is “nothing missing and nothing lacking” in their life.
So how do I spell MATURITY? I spell it E.N.D.U.R.A.N.C.E
(I will also say it’s knowing the Bible and living that Bible). Can’t be mature if we don’t know and live His Word, period!
3. The power of embracing THE PROCESS!
Joseph never went to Bible college. He did not attend seminary. He did not even have a Bible to read. But he had a dream from God and he held on to the dream, no matter what came his way, and no matter how long it took. He ultimately laid hold of what God promised, but it took more than two decades. This is a clear picture of faith and patience!
I will discuss this last point further, but for today I will simply highlight the fact that Joseph did not wait on God with a BITTER attitude, at least the text doesn’t say he did. When things took a turn for the worse, instead of getting BITTER, Joseph embraced the process and he got BETTER every step of the way.
At Potiphar’s house, Joseph learned things he was not going to learn at home. In prison, Joseph learned things he was not going to learn in Potiphar’s house. My point here is that every part of your journey is important; even the parts you don’t like. God is always processing you for the next level, step, stage and season. So, when something happens that you don’t like, or that you did not expect, instead of getting BITTER, determine in your heart that you will get BETTER!
Living with this mindset you will not just make it to heaven someday. You will maximize your purpose and potential while you are in the land of the living, and you will ENJOY THE JOURNEY!
Closing Prayer: Father, I want to be mature. I want to get to the point where there is nothing missing and nothing lacking in my life. Therefore, I know I have to go through to get to and pain and suffering helps me get here, even if I don’t like it! I thank You for this teaching. I now understand the power of patient endurance. I must add patience to my faith. I declare that I do. I embrace the grace to endure, overcome, withstand, confront, cope, live through, and ultimately triumph over all opposition; no matter how long it takes! Living this way, I will experience Your best, in this world, before I die! And I grow up into the mature believer You have called me to be! I Pray this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.