Hebrews 11:24 “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. “

     At some point in time we all have to grow up.  Or do we?  Today, anthropologists and sociologists are among many who point out that adolescence seems to have become quite a drawn out affair in our post modern societies.  One writer points out; “In 2004, a group of sociologists from U. Penn. published a paper comparing attitudes towards these markers of adulthood across the last century; certain markers, such as marriage, were de-emphasised, while the overall trend was, in the words of one reporter, ‘that it takes much longer to make the transition to adulthood today than a few decades ago, and longer than at any time in America’s history. According to traditional benchmarks, 65 percent of males had reached adulthood by the age of 30 in 1960 and only 31 percent had reached adulthood in 2000.’ ”  (the new adulthood

     The Bible tells us we must mature;  “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Cor 13:11)  We are to take nourishment from His Word;  “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby; . . . ” (1 Peter 2:2).  And as we grow in His Word we move to ‘adult food’;  “For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”  (Hebrews 5: 13,14)   Paul makes the connection between carnality and lack of maturity in his letter to the Corinthian church; “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3)

     The account of Moses’ early life is found in Exodus 2.  He was, in his youth, carnal.  His quick temper led him to kill a man (Exodus 2:12).  He was fearful (Exodus 2: 14) and became a fugitive (Exodus 2: 15) Moses had a disposition to sin.  And why not?  He was raised as a privileged member of the royal family – he was raised by the world with all the advantages and appetites of the world.  He was as much a slave in Egypt as his countrymen were, only the chains of his bondage were golden.  The interplay of their slavery is highlighted in scripture;  “And when he [Moses] went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?  And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.”  (Exodus 2: 13, 14)  Moses ran away from Pharaoh and Moses ran away from his people!

     Carnality always moves a person (or a church) to apathy, confusion, strife, fearfulness, prideful violence (physical or emotional) and retreat.  We see this in the early life of Moses, Paul saw it in the church at Corinth and we see this in our society. And when a church retreats, it is divisive, fearful or mistrustful of God’s provisioning;  Sadly we see carnality in the church today.  When Moses, with great difficulty and a lot of convincing by God, finally took up his calling, he led God’s people out of bondage.  The psalmist knew what Moses finally came to experience –  that strength comes from trust – from faith;  “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.” (Psalm 31:24)

     Paul exhorts us; “Watch ye; stand fast in the faith; acquit yourselves like men; be strong.”  (1 Corinthians 16:13)  Maturity isn’t what you say you are;  it is what you do.  Looking at it that way, we quickly see that none of us are mature all the time.  If you are like me you are quite capable of being very spiritually immature from time to time.  OK – carnality is a constant battle.   Brian Knowles in his article about spiritual maturity writes;  “In rare moments of introspection we may wonder, ‘what have I done with all of these years? I seem as carnal today as when I started.’ We may even question the validity of our own conversion.  In a way, the very willingness to ask such questions is itself an indicator of at least some spiritual growth. It takes a degree of maturity and humility to recognize and acknowledge one’s spiritual shortcomings. If you find yourself thinking this way from time to time, you’re probably on the right path. None of us should ever be satisfied with the state of our spirituality.”

     Jesus gave us a new commandment;  “A new commandment I give unto you: that ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)  Moses came to experience this sort of love (he was faithful to his people), King Saul couldn’t seem to overcome his carnality.  King David had great moments of this kind of love as he struggled with his own carnality  Jesus loves perfectly.   Jesus is telling us to grow up so that we can love one another in His way not any carnal adolescent self-centered(self-righteous) way.  What does perfect love look like? 

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, IT IS NOT SELF-SEEKING, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. LOVE NEVER FAILS . . . ” (1Corinthians 13:4-8).

     Let us all practice this kind of spiritual maturity! Praise the Lord!!!

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