Contentment is satisfaction, having ease of mind.
What/who motivates you? What speaks to you to cause you to seek something else, something more?
Is it comfort? Is it convenience? Is it comparison? For me, it could be any of those at a given moment. Schedules, budgets and the considerations of others all get impacted.
When you get the relationship change; you get the job/budget change; you get the titles/credentials; you get the thing, the stuff, the feeling, your way…..the contentment doesn’t last. Does it? Those things will become outdated or broken or insignificant/inconsequential; but definitely all will burn up.
When there is a spark of discontent, these other things are immediately inventoried. I should FIRST look at my alignment with God, His Word, my walk in Christ, my engagement with the Holy Spirit. For me (for any of us) to be satisfied with the spiritual life just as it is at this point is simple laziness, rebellion or perhaps unbelief of who I am and should be in Christ. Putting up blinders or playing the ignorance card is what Pastor calls a ‘ghetto mindset’. This was shared in an earlier post – sense of entitlement, victim mentality, blame game, hopelessness and haplessness. We use these excuses with ourselves and actually God when we seem satisfied just where we are spiritually. Let us not confuse peace and freedom with getting what we want (when, where and how we want).
Do I need to wait until I am in a circumstance to recognize my discontent with my spirituality?
Do I need to wait until I hear the Word from the pulpit on Sunday or Wednesday to recognize I am grieving the Spirit?
Peace and freedom afford contentment. Peace and freedom are what God provides through spiritual maturation.
STATES OF MATURITY
1. Baby Christian
a. A new born Christian is not spiritual
b. Even church members can be carnal, being only babes in Christ (1Corinthians 3:1-4) – such Christians are jealous of one another and quarrel with one another instead of solving problems with different “weapons” (2 Corinthians 10:4) to serve God’s purposes, destroy human arguments and human divisions, and bring glory to Christ
c. 2 Corinthians 10:1-8 I, Paul, make a personal request to you with the gentleness and kindness of Christ. I’m shy when I’m with you, but I’m bossy when I’m away from you! 2 I beg you that when I’m with you in person, I won’t have to boss you around. I’m afraid that I may have to use that kind of behavior with those people who think we live by human standards. 3 Although we live in the world, we don’t fight our battles with human methods. 4 Our weapons that we fight with aren’t human, but instead they are powered by God for the destruction of fortresses. They destroy arguments, 5 and every defense that is raised up to oppose the knowledge of God. They capture every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 Once your obedience is complete, we are ready to punish any disobedience. 7 Look at what is right in front of you! If anyone is sure about belonging to Christ, that person should think again. We belong to Christ just like that person. 8 Even if I went on to brag about our authority, I wouldn’t be ashamed of it. The Lord gave us that authority to build you up and not to destroy you.
2. Carnal Christian
a. Carnal is anything related to the fleshly or worldly appetites and desires rather than to the Godly and spiritual desires
b. Been around long enough but unwilling to yield; estranged from God and prone to sin; whatever in the soul is week and tends toward ungodliness
c. Romans 1:28-32 Since they didn’t think it was worthwhile to acknowledge God, God abandoned them to a defective mind to do inappropriate things. 29 So they were filled with all injustice, wicked behavior, greed, and evil behavior. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, deception, and malice. They are gossips, 30 they slander people, and they hate God. They are rude and proud, and they brag. They invent ways to be evil, and they are disobedient to their parents. 31 They are without understanding, disloyal, without affection, and without mercy. 32 Though they know God’s decision that those who persist in such practices deserve death, they not only keep doing these things but also approve others who practice them.
d. Carnality causes include:
i. Corrupt motives – John 6:26-27
ii. Failure to see the cross – Luke 22:33-37
iii. Living after the flesh – Romans 8:12-13
iv. Twofold – John 13:36-38
v. Commitment of the carnal – Matthew 26:51-52
e. Results of carnality include:
i. A divided church – 1 Corinthians 1:10-21
ii. A struggling soul – Romans 7:14-25
iii. Death – Romans 6:23, 8:5-8, 12-13
iv. Deformation and stymied growth thus remaining a babe in Christ – 1 Corinthians 3:1-2
v. Dullness of hearing – Hebrews 5:11
vi. Falling and failing – Luke 22:33-37, Hebrews 6:9-20
vii. Grieving the Lord – Mark 9:19-22
viii. Has be to be treated as a babe in Christ – 1 Corinthians 3:1-2, Hebrews 5:11-6:3
ix. Hurting and cutting a minister – 2 Corinthians 2:3-4
x. Self –deception – 1 Corinthians 3:18-23
xi. Works shall be burned up in the judgment – 1 Corinthians 3:13-15
3. Back Slider Christian
a. Longer time Christians may be deficient in their yielding to the Spirit
b. You can back slide in certain areas but be steadfast and committed to others
c. Backsliding is:
i. Turning from God 1 – Kings 11:9
ii. Leaving the first love – Revelation 2:4
iii. Departing from the simplicity of the gospel – 2 Corinthians 11:3; Galatians 3:1-3; Galatians 5:4,7
d. Results of backsliding include:
i. A failing faith – Luke 22:21-32
ii. A shipwrecked faith – 1 Timothy 1:19
iii. Being immature – Hebrews 5:11-6:2
iv. Being offended by Christ – Matthew 26:31-35; Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:27-31
v. Compromising and being permissive – Revelation 2:18-29
vi. Denying Christ – Matthew 26:31-34, 54-62; Mark 14-27-31; Luke 22:31-34, 54-62; John 13:36-38, 15-18, 25-27
vii. Drifting away – Hebrews 2:1-4
viii. Falling away – Hebrews 5:11-6:8
ix. Hardening one’s heart, depravity – Hebrews 3:7-19
x. Loving the world – 2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:15-16
xi. Missing God’s rest – Hebrews 12:14-17
xii. Satan sifting as wheat – Luke 22:31-32
xiii. Withdrawing from the church – Hebrews 10:25
xiv. Flailing – Romans 6:1-2, 7:14-25; Galatians 1:6-9; Hebrews 10:26-39; 1 John 5:16; Rev. 2:4-6
e. The flesh may control the period of backsliding, but when coming back to the Lord the growth process doesn’t have to start at zero
f. Colossians 2 I want you to know how much I struggle for you, for those in Laodicea, and for all who haven’t known me personally. 2 My goal is that their hearts would be encouraged and united together in love so that they might have all the riches of assurance that come with understanding, so that they might have the knowledge of the secret plan[a] of God, namely Christ. 3 All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. 4 I’m telling you this so that no one deceives you with convincing arguments, 5 because even though I am absent physically, I’m with you in spirit. I’m happy to see the discipline and stability of your faith in Christ.6 So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him. 7 Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught. 8 See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ. 9 All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body. 10 And you have been filled by him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11 You were also circumcised by him. This wasn’t performed by human hands—the whole body was removed through this circumcision by Christ. 12 You were buried with him through baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead because of the things you had done wrong and because your body wasn’t circumcised, God made you alive with Christ and forgave all the things you had done wrong. 14 He destroyed the record of the debt we owed, with its requirements that worked against us. He canceled it by nailing it to the cross. 15 When he disarmed the rulers and authorities, he exposed them to public disgrace by leading them in a triumphal parade. 16 So don’t let anyone judge you about eating or drinking or about a festival, a new moon observance, or sabbaths. 17 These religious practices are only a shadow of what was coming—the body that cast the shadow is Christ. 18 Don’t let anyone who wants to practice harsh self-denial and worship angels rob you of the prize. They go into detail about what they have seen in visions and have become unjustifiably arrogant by their selfish way of thinking. 19 They don’t stay connected to the head. The head nourishes and supports the whole body through the joints and ligaments, so the body grows with a growth that is from God. 20 If you died with Christ to the way the world thinks and acts, why do you submit to rules and regulations as though you were living in the world? 21 “Don’t handle!” “Don’t taste!” “Don’t touch!” 22 All these things cease to exist when they are used. Such rules are human commandments and teachings. 23 They look like they are wise with this self-made religion and their self-denial by the harsh treatment of the body, but they are no help against indulging in selfish immoral behavior.
g. Colossians 3 Therefore, if you were raised with Christ, look for the things that are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right side. 2 Think about the things above and not things on earth. 3 You died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. 5 So put to death the parts of your life that belong to the earth, such as sexual immorality, moral corruption, lust, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6 The wrath of God is coming upon disobedient people because of these things. 7 You used to live this way, when you were alive to these things. 8 But now set aside these things, such as anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene language. 9 Don’t lie to each other. Take off the old human nature with its practices 10 and put on the new nature, which is renewed in knowledge by conforming to the image of the one who created it. 11 In this image there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all things and in all people. 12 Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. 14 And over all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people. 16 The word of Christ must live in you richly. Teach and warn each other with all wisdom by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him. 18 Wives, submit to your husbands in a way that is appropriate in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and don’t be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, because this pleases the Lord. 21 Parents, don’t provoke your children in a way that ends up discouraging them. 22 Slaves, obey your masters on earth in everything. Don’t just obey like people pleasers when they are watching. Instead, obey with the single motivation of fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, do it from the heart for the Lord and not for people. 24 You know that you will receive an inheritance as a reward. You serve the Lord Christ. 25 But evildoers will receive their reward for their evil actions. There is no discrimination.
1 Corinthians 3 – Brothers and sisters, I couldn’t talk to you like spiritual people but like unspiritual people, like babies in Christ. 2 I gave you milk to drink instead of solid food, because you weren’t up to it yet. 3 Now you are still not up to it because you are still unspiritual. When jealousy and fighting exist between you, aren’t you unspiritual and living by human standards? 4 When someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and someone else says, “I belong to Apollos,” aren’t you acting like people without the Spirit?
• :1 – Talk to you not as an adult but a baby
• :2 – saints must be sensitive
• :3 – you are still controlled by your flesh
• :4 – it doesn’t matter what church you go to
These are stages of growth within maturity
• Romans 12:2 Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is—what is good and pleasing and mature.
• We are born using our head and head.
• Our head needs a new birth so that our heart is now involved.
Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to each other, in the same way God forgave you in Christ.
• People you hang around should exhibit this scripture
John 15:1, 2 – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 He removes any of my branches that don’t produce fruit, and he trims any branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit.
• The storms I go through are not compared to those of the heathen.
• I am pruned instead of destroyed
John 15: 4, 5 – Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch can’t produce fruit by itself, but must remain in the vine. Likewise, you can’t produce fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, then you will produce much fruit. Without me, you can’t do anything.
• Your growth rate is your willingness to submit
Sanctification involves not being carnal and not backsliding
• Abstaining from fleshly lusts – 1 Peter 2:11-12
• Being spiritual minded – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
• Prayer – 2 Corinthians 13:7-10
• Taking precautions against carnality – Hebrews 6:9-20,12:1
• Power of the Spirit – Romans 8:1-17, 12-13; Romans 7:14-17; 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:14; Hebrews 5:11-6:3
• Doing no evil 2 Corinthians 13:7
• Fighting and warring against carnality – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
• Praying and fasting – Mark 9:28-29
• Purging our carnality – 1 Corinthians 5:7
• Watching and standing fast – 1 Corinthians 16:13
• Not being corrupted under a man’s ministry; lukewarm – Revelations 3:14-22
• Address spiritual immaturity – 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Hebrews 5:11-6:3
• Address the carnal mind of mind – Romans 8:5-8
• Address the natural, fleshly nature of man – Romans 7:14-17
• Heeding advice for drifters – Hebrews 10:32-39
• Not to turn back – Galatians 4:8-11
• Restoration – Galatians 6:1-5; James 5:19-20