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The ability to see the brutal facts about your own weakness without loosing the drive to change is the true sign of maturity.

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12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

 

I’ve been blessed with a great father. I’ve learned countless lessons from him, but one in particular, spoke grace into my life. I was a teenage boy at the time and struggling with purity. I found myself feeling guilty all the time because I couldn’t seem to get past the struggle. I don’t remember any details about the conversation, but he said something to me that I still remember to this day. He said, “Son, the most important thing is to stay in the fight.” He explained that I didn’t need to fear unless I stopped fighting. I’m sure he said more beyond that, but those the words set me free from carrying the weight of guilt.

Today’s text says something very similar. After Paul re-assures his readers that he isn’t perfect, he says something very curious. He says, “let those of us who are mature think this way.” In other words, if you are mature you know you aren’t finished. Maturity isn’t found in perfection, but a sober understanding of incompleteness MIXED with a commitment to keep striving. The ability to see the brutal facts about your own weakness without loosing the drive to change is the true sign of maturity.

There are two alternatives to this tension. First, we could acknowledge our weaknesses as simply the way we are and fail to keep striving for change. For instance, a type A person could become overly comfortable with bowling people over and think, “This is just how I am.” Meanwhile, a type B person could become too comfortable with mediocre effort and think, “This is just how I am.” Second, if we always strive and never meet perfection, we can live under a world of guilt for all our shortcomings. Neither one of these extremes represent what Paul calls maturity. Take a few minutes to listen to the song “Lead On, Oh King Eternal.” As the song plays think through some areas where you still have room to grow and ask God to lead you on as you stay in the fight.[/vc_column_text][us_separator height=”25px” size=”custom”][vc_column_text]

By Aaron Bjorklund

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