Advent Day 13, the Gift of Learning with a Purpose

December 13

The Gift of learning with a purpose

This Advent Daily Devotional is focusing on the gifts God gives us, as uncovered in the book of Ephesians. 

 Have you ever visited one of the great redwood forests in California?  These natural skyscrapers set records for height and girth.  And they never stop growing until it’s time for them to die.

How about you?  Are you still growing?  Spiritually?  Or have you peaked and are just waiting until it’s time to move from this life to the next?  I believe that for a Christ-follower, retirement is not an option.

You’ve heard it said that God has a wonderful plan for your life… and the idea is that we grow to fullness, maturity in the faith.  Not just grow old… but grow in maturity of the faith.  God does not want you to reach a certain level that you might determine on your own as “being mature” and then let you stop or coast the rest of your life.  God expects growth from you, year after year, season after season, just like the giant and grand redwood trees.

I want to gently challenge and encourage you:  Do you have the same level of faith you had a few years ago?  Or, are you experiencing a fresh and daily delivery of manna from heaven? 

Do you remember the manna that rained down on the people of Israel as they wandered through the desert for 40 years?  God gave them just what they needed for that day by way of a bread-like food, each and every morning. 

The people of God need to look to God to provide for them every spiritual blessing  — remember, that was our first gift in Ephesians 1:3 — every day.  If you were to measure the relationship you have with God, is it new and fresh and growing every day?  Or, do you take that relationship for granted?  May I encourage us to press in to all that God wants us to receive, fresh and new each day? 

God has given the body of Christ great leaders and teachers, both inside your local congregation and outside of it, or those who have gone before us whose writings can inspire and teach.  He has put people on the mission field, who by their example of living for God daily in a small village, can teach us how to depend on God… or how to see the miraculous move of the Holy Spirit in a way we’ve not seen before.   They all have great things to teach, if you are willing to be taught.

Today’s gift is from Ephesians 4:11-13: 

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

While there is a number of ways to look at this passage, I’d like to focus on the “so that” portion.  God desires we become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  Another way of saying that is “learning with a purpose.”

Do you have a bucket list that includes learning new things?  I hope so.  May I encourage you to search out and find new ways to learn new things about how great is our God in heaven?  May I encourage you to grow in spiritual maturity?  Paul says that those who are mature are not tossed here and there by the waves when trials or challenging times come. They press into the love of Christ, as the head of the body, which holds us, collectively, all together.   And they do so by their willingness to be taught and encouraged by those who hold the spiritual leadership posts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher. 

Every single one of us can find someone more spiritually mature than we are.  Search them out and learn from them.  It will strengthen you… so that down the road, you might embrace the position of leadership yourself.  And don’t ever give up learning more and more about God’s love and plan for you.

Receive the gift of learning with a purpose… and keep growing.

Father God, let me never tire of desiring to learn more and more about you and your love and perfect plan for my life.  In Jesus’ name,  Amen.

 

© 2011. Rich Ronald

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