Some of us earned the ‘Perfect Attendance’ award at the end of school years not because of how happy we were to walk into that academic building and soak in all the knowledge available, but because we had parents who truly believed if bodily fluids stayed in for 10 seconds or no limbs disappeared, school attendance was a must. The tardy and absentee counts were monitored as closely as the grades reflected on a report card. A student just showing up to school meant so many things to different people. The community anticipates future citizens and their contributions. The school got money just for the warm bodies present. Many of the parents/guardians expected scholarship and leadership progress while others just wanted compliance. And for each student, the motive changes with the day and opportunity – security, significance, acceptance or to compare, compete, control. The right attitude or focus helps the time pass by AND we actually get something out of attending.
Just showing up is often used to track commitment, loyalty, belief in the program or worth of a program. If no one shows up it gets cancelled, right? Well…not always, so sometimes attendance is used as a passive/aggressive way to express satisfaction or acceptance. Our motives and our priorities are reflected in our attendance. Do I go just for show? Or do I go to get more?
I fool myself if I think by just attending and hoping for growth it will happen. Maturity and freedom are not automatic or received through osmosis as we age. It doesn’t happen just because conditions or circumstances change over a course of time. And trial and error will wear us out unnecessarily. Effort is required on my part in engaging my heart, mind and body to progress. I won’t run a mile if I cannot walk for 15 minutes. I won’t get a space cleaned walking past it or just talking about it. Relationship, job, education, goal fulfillment just won’t happen without continuous effort through completion.
All of these sound good and can be important but once you accept Jesus as your personal savior AND you acknowledge God as THE source of life, freedom, success, wisdom, contentment….THEN we should be on a quest to know AND do what that means. Right? If not, then we are speaking volumes what our priority or belief really is. We hope our attendance says one thing, but we work on the other thing. We hope we will suddenly lose a taste for whatever holds us. We hope somehow, someway there is a switch on the 100th day of attendance – like the 100th customer coming through the line and the balloons, confetti, music, cheers and fat oversized check come out with a surprise. Whew!!!
To believe the Bible (And I do. Don’t you?) …we see example after example after example of folk in attendance but longing for something else.
• Adam was JUST THERE. He wasn’t even in the conversation.
• Lot’s wife was ON THE ROAD to safety and JUST WANTED to see what she was leaving.
• Judas was present WITH THE LORD and yet he chose to be THAT GUY. Now without Christ’s sacrifice I would be outside of God’s family….but to be THAT GUY.
Time does not produce maturity.
• Time AND diligence in applying, studying AND obeying God’s Word will result in maturity.
• If you want to accelerate in maturity, you must totally commit to giving God total control of every aspect of your life.
• Spirituality is a grown up relation to the Holy Spirit. The way you do anything is the way you do everything.
Every high priest is taken from the people and put in charge of things that relate to God for their sake, in order to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2 The high priest is able to deal gently with the ignorant and those who are misled since he himself is prone to weakness. 3 Because of his weakness, he must offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for the people. 4 No one takes this honor for themselves but takes it only when they are called by God, just like Aaron.
5 In the same way Christ also didn’t promote himself to become high priest. Instead, it was the one who said to him, You are my Son. Today I have become your Father,
6 as he also says in another place, You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.[a]
7 During his days on earth, Christ offered prayers and requests with loud cries and tears as his sacrifices to the one who was able to save him from death. He was heard because of his godly devotion. 8 Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. 9 After he had been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who obeys him. 10 He was appointed by God to be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
11 We have a lot to say about this topic, and it’s difficult to explain, because you have been lazy and you haven’t been listening. 12 Although you should have been teachers by now, you need someone to teach you an introduction to the basics about God’s message. You have come to the place where you need milk instead of solid food. 13 Everyone who lives on milk is not used to the word of righteousness, because they are babies. 14 But solid food is for the mature, whose senses are trained by practice to distinguish between good and evil.
• You cannot physically grow up if you ignore certain muscles.
• God wants us to grow up in Christ.
Therefore, as a prisoner for the Lord, I encourage you to live as people worthy of the call you received from God. 2 Conduct yourselves with all humility, gentleness, and patience. Accept each other with love, 3 and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together. 4 You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.
7 God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ. 8 That’s why scripture says, When he climbed up to the heights, he captured prisoners, and he gave gifts to people.[a]
9 What does the phrase “he climbed up” mean if it doesn’t mean that he had first gone down into the lower regions, the earth? 10 The one who went down is the same one who climbed up above all the heavens so that he might fill everything.
11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we aren’t supposed to be infants any longer who can be tossed and blown around by every wind that comes from teaching with deceitful scheming and the tricks people play to deliberately mislead others. 15 Instead, by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ, 16 who is the head. The whole body grows from him, as it is joined and held together by all the supporting ligaments. The body makes itself grow in that it builds itself up with love as each one does their part.
The old and new life
17 So I’m telling you this, and I insist on it in the Lord: you shouldn’t live your life like the Gentiles anymore. They base their lives on pointless thinking, 18 and they are in the dark in their reasoning. They are disconnected from God’s life because of their ignorance and their closed hearts. 19 They are people who lack all sense of right and wrong, and who have turned themselves over to doing whatever feels good and to practicing every sort of corruption along with greed.
20 But you didn’t learn that sort of thing from Christ. 21 Since you really listened to him and you were taught how the truth is in Jesus, 22 change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by deceitful desires. 23 Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit 24 and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness.
25 Therefore, after you have gotten rid of lying, Each of you must tell the truth to your neighbor[b] because we are parts of each other in the same body. 26 Be angry without sinning.[c] Don’t let the sun set on your anger. 27 Don’t provide an opportunity for the devil. 28 Thieves should no longer steal. Instead, they should go to work, using their hands to do good so that they will have something to share with whoever is in need.
29 Don’t let any foul words come out of your mouth. Only say what is helpful when it is needed for building up the community so that it benefits those who hear what you say. 30 Don’t make the Holy Spirit of God unhappy—you were sealed by him for the day of redemption. 31 Put aside all bitterness, losing your temper, anger, shouting, and slander, along with every other evil. 32 Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.
I Corinthians 4:15
You may have ten thousand mentors in Christ, but you don’t have many fathers. I gave birth to you in Christ Jesus through the gospel