When you think of a mature Christian, what are some qualities that come to mind?
Perhaps the fruit of the Spirit, obedience, humility, and wisdom. Those are all good answers. But what about repentance and genuine remorse over sin? I know it sounds negative, but what if that repentance comes from a deep longing to be close to God? Matt reminded us in our study of 1 Samuel 7 that the sign of a good relationship is that whenever you’re apart, you miss each other quickly. You lament the distance and long to be back together again. How many of us use God for our own gain instead of seeking him as the ultimate end? God is our helper, for sure, but we can't treat him like some good luck charm or wishing well.
Do you know the story of Hachiko, the Japenese Akita whose owner died? He waited nine years at the train station for his owner to return! What would it look like in your life to have that kind of “gorilla-glue” devotion to the Lord and desire for his presence? When we sin, we should be quick to confess and turn back to God, not because we fear losing his love, but because we long to be close to him. That means we’ll be eager to rid our hearts of rival loves. What specific idol do you need to put away in order to give yourself exclusively to the Lord?
Often God will bring us to a point of desperation to remind us of our weakness and of the emptiness of life apart from him. Those moments when we hear the Philistines are on the attack are moments of mercy, inviting us to turn to him in true repentance and faith and to experience his presence and power in our lives.
Here are some passages we can meditate on this week to help us mature in our relationship with God: Matt. 4:17; 10:37-38, Rom. 12:1-2, Col. 3:1-2; & Rev. 2:4-5.
What would it look like for me to truly repent?
What would it look like to be devoted to God’s will?
What in my life needs to be adjusted to align more closely with God’s will?
How can I make my relationship with Jesus a priority?
What earthly things are robbing me of my affection for Jesus?
Have I lost my first love?
What are some practical steps I can take to restore my love for Jesus?