THE GIFT OF LEARNING WITH A PURPOSE
Have you ever visited one of the great redwood forests in California? These natural skyscrapers set records for height and girth. They never stop growing until it’s time for them to die.
How about you? Are you still growing spiritually? Or do you say you have “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. The idea is that we grow to fullness and 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 for 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? 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 bread-like food each and every morning. Are you experiencing a fresh and daily delivery of manna from heaven?
Dear child, look to God to provide you with every spiritual blessing every day. Remember, that was our first gift on Day 1 from Ephesians 1:3. If you were to measure the relationship you have with God, is it new and fresh and growing? Or do you take that relationship for granted? May I encourage you to press into all that God wants you to receive each day? Even today.
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 still 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. All of these people have great things to teach if you are willing to be taught.
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. (Ephesians 4:11-13, NIV).
While there are 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 the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. May I suggest another way of saying that is “learning with a purpose?”
Do you have a bucket list that includes learning new things? Do you wonder how to search out and find new ways to learn new truths about God’s greatness? I hope so. 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. They do so by their willingness to be taught and encouraged by those who hold the spiritual leadership posts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher.
Every single one of us can find someone more spiritually mature than we are; that may even be someone who is chronically younger. Search them out and learn from them. It will strengthen you so that, down the road, you might embrace the position of leadership yourself. Don’t ever give up learning more and more about God’s love and plan for you. They say the best way to learn is to teach. So, you might also consider mentoring or coaching.
Open your hands today and receive the gift of learning with a purpose. Don’t ever stop. Keep growing.
Father God, help 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.
This advent devotional can be found on the YouVersion Bible App here.