I am The Godfather series f-a-n. I watch it at least ten to twenty times a year. I know.
The fun now is watching for and catching the little things – words, expressions, background, movement. This calendar year I have watched it about seven times now. There is one particular line that has been sticking with me. The scene is patriarch Don Vito Corleone sitting in the garden with son Michael Corleone who has been given the family business reigns. Don Corleone is giving advice and inquiring about home life and he says “…..I spent my life trying not to be careless. Women and children can be careless, but not men.”
Whhhaaaaat?!?! I don’t always roll my eyes at that part anymore but I still mumble ‘yeah, right’. Don Corleone may have ignored or excused poor choices and a lack of integrity in women and children, but we know consequences do not discriminate.
No matter how we justify, explain, or compare to feel better about ourselves and our decisions, each of us has to treat each new week, day, hour, minute and second as opportunities to grow – to mature.
Living victoriously requires maturing.
Ephesians 4:15 says “Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head”.
The most important thing is expressing faith in love. We often make fear, or pride, or tradition the basis of faith. Failing to mature spiritually will result in the inability to experience the freedom of walking spiritually.
I am subject to the power of sin in my attitude, words, decisions, and ambitions without maturing. This is living beneath true freedom. I am therefore always in contention and getting beat up by the enemy AND causing others to stumble. I will find myself at fault or blame someone else for circumstances and challenges. I will not reflect the glory of God in my life. I will be kept down with my focus on the world during this period.
Do not get caught up into existentialism (just existing for the moment) and hedonism (feeling good). The enemy keeps the looking and the feeling good. And let’s face it; we are attracted to feeling good.
John 8:31-38 says So Jesus said to those who believed in him, “If you obey my teaching, you are really my disciples; you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. We are the descendants of Abraham,” they answered, “and we have never been anybody’s slaves. What do you mean, then, by saying, ‘You will be free’?” Jesus said to them, “I am telling you the truth: everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave does not belong to a family permanently, but a son belongs there forever. If the Son sets you free, then you will be really free. I know you are Abraham’s descendants. Yet you are trying to kill me, because you will not accept my teaching. I talk about what my Father has shown me, but you do what your father has told you.”
I may believe in Him, but not obey. If I don’t obey then I am not a disciple. I may be in the church with position or ‘good’ standing, but not have God’s influence in my life. Satan’s influence and falling into temptation (through my feelings, fears, or carelessness) will keep me in bondage with sin.
I DO BELIEVE. I WANT TO MATURE.
- We must seek to know God and how He wants us to walk right in a relationship with Him
- Ephesians 4:11-13
- Hebrews 10:19-25
- We are to grasp our true identify in Jesus Christ
- Are we ignoring when we fail to live up to our identity?
- What excuse do we use to justify for this failure?
- We must accept the reality that Satan is real
- Maturity is a lifetime process
- Freedom is an event; a choice made over and over and over
- 2 Peter 1:3
- Maturity is a continuing process
- Freedom is the position we take
- We must assume personal responsibility for our own maturity and freedom
- Philippians 3:12-16
- Galatians 5:1
- Psalm 51
- Psalm 32
- Our nature, history, habits, beliefs did not just appear; it was a length of time. So our maturity will take time; we must be deliberate with each word and deed
Cultivating a relationship with God requires me plant seeds that take root in the ground and produces fruit as a result of a relationship with Him.
- Psalm 107:37
- Galatians 5:22-23
The ground is me – heart (spirit), head (soul) and hand (body).
What is in the ground – my nature, beliefs and character – will show in my acts, behavior and conduct.
- Mark 4:44
- Psalm 119: 9, 11
- Matthew 13:1-23
- Psalm 6:19
- Isaiah 28:24