Are you wrong or are you just immature?
If something is wrong with you (or someone else) then it needs to be made right. If you are immature, you just need to grow up.
As a Christian, Jesus took away everything that was wrong with you, nailed it to a cross and buried it in a grave. He joins our spirit with His and then puts us in an environment (the new covenant) in which we can grow up into the fullness of what we were meant to be in Christ.
As a follower of Christ, if you are still thinking that something is wrong with you (or someone else) then you will work really hard to fix yourself (or them). Because no one likes being wrong. Being wrong hurts people. Being wrong hurts yourself. So I find that people start to use God to try and fix themselves or someone they love. They use his principles, the Word and even prayer to try and overcome the “wrongness” in their own soul. Unfortunately, this is a common practice that has left many of us tired and discouraged.
There is a fundamental problem with this approach. The Bible puts it this way, “8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers…” (1 Tim. 1:8-9)
When we demand change through our own “performance” of God’s laws we are now using these things “unlawfully”…because God’s laws are not laid down for the righteous. They are laid down for those who have yet to submit to the gospel, receive the love and forgiveness of God and thus they are continuing a life of lawlessness and disobedience. These are the ones who must understand that they are in need of a Savior and the law is a tool to produce that understanding. Merciful Jesus!
So if I am wrong then I need the law to show me what is right. But once I am born again, I am righteous, even if that righteousness is unable to fully manifest through my own spiritual immaturity. However, if I am immature then I just need the right environment, enough time and nourishment to grow up.
Unfortunately it is very consequential to misunderstand these things because the use of the law actually empowers sin (1 Cor. 15:56). Contrast that with God’s environment of grace which promotes spiritual momentum, growth into Christlikeness and maturation from sinful and destructive behaviors and thought patterns (Eph. 2:8, Acts 13:43)
Fruitlessness on a tree doesn’t necessarily mean it is a bad tree…it just might mean that it is not in the right environment to grow in.
Grace, which governs the new covenant, is the environment and the power through which immature believers grow up out of sinful thoughts and behaviors and become more like Christ. It is the environment of grace that allows the righteousness of Christ to truly come forth. If the power of sin is in the law (1 Cor. 15:56) then the power of righteousness is in grace (Rom. 6:14). Grace is God’s power to confer his righteousness upon us. Righteous spirits, righteous thoughts, righteous emotions and righteous deeds.
When we refuse to allow our minds to be renewed we stay stuck in the “right or wrong” mentality and the only way we move the needle and “change” is through the self-application of God’s principles and truths. The effectiveness hinges on our ability to “stick with it” or “be faithful” knowing that if we are not, we will not truly overcome.
I’m not worried that my daughter Eleanor is unable to speak at 7 weeks old. I’m not worried that my 5 year old can’t run as fast as me. I understand their limitations are connected to their stage of development and that if I continue to provide a healthy environment for them to grow up then I will see them reach their full potential. If I think that something is wrong with one of my kids because they are unable to do something that someone older and wiser is able to do, then I wrongfully try to “fix” them and I will apply pressure to the “weak” places in their life instead of giving them time and room to grow. This application of pressure to immaturity will only serve to stunt their growth in that area.
But when I understand God’s design…that with time, nourishment, affection and patience they will grow up out of their limitations, I can have compassion for their areas of immaturity without demanding that they grow up or condemning them as if something is wrong.
The same principle applies in our spiritual journey. When we apply pressure (try harder, do more) to the weaker areas of our spiritual life, we end up stunting our own growth. The remedy is God’s grace found and experienced in the new covenant. Listen to these truths over and over and allow them to wash over those areas of your spiritual life where you feel weak and impotent. They will strengthen you and cause you to grow up into him!
You have been born again through the living and abiding word of God! (1 Peter 1:23)
You have become the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ! (2 Cor. 5:21)
Sin no longer has dominion over you because you are not under law, but under grace! (Rom. 6:14)
Jesus, through his work, has made you a good tree, designed by God to bear good fruit. (Matt. 12:33) If you stay where he put you (abide) in this reality (John 15), the nourishing presence and affection of God will cause all the beauty of Christ to be formed in your soul and expressed through your life. God doesn’t hate you, you are his own flesh. Members of HIS body. He nourishes and cherishes you!Ephesians 5:29
You have been born again through the living and abiding word of God!1 Peter 1:23
You have become the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ!2 Cor. 5:21
Sin no longer has dominion over you because you are not under law, but under grace!Rom. 6:14