Have you ever been in a situation where you know the truth, but the person you're talking with doesn't know you know the truth and so they lie? All the while, you can't believe the person you are talking with is looking you right in the eye and deceiving you.
I love it when authentic Christians share their genuine struggles in living out their faith. It's refreshing to see and hear another brother or sister owning up to immaturity and seeking greater maturity. It's the mark of real humility. Pride makes it exceptionally difficult owning up to immaturity. How many times have you acted immaturely and refused to confess it to those who were affected? We don't like to admit we are wrong.
I have some friends who, every time they act immaturely or show their lack of faith, will quickly confess it and repent. Yet, there are others who, even after being confronted with their immaturity or lack of faith, will attempt to lie their way out of it. Hey--let's be honest!
As Christians we have the gift of the Holy Spirit to convict us when we have disobeyed or when we have acted immaturely. However, pride is loud and often drowns out the Spirit's voice of conviction. Many Christians refuse to walk in step with the Spirit in the area of humility, fearful they will lose the respect of others if they show any signs of weakness or imperfection.
Even after the Spirit brings conviction, many Christians try to persuade themselves that what they did or said was right. Eventually this leads to a cold and hard heart where there is no longer an openness to the Spirit. Before long there is no sensitivity to the Spirit; pride inhibits the Spirit's evaluation and correction.
For us to overcome juvenile Christianity we must learn to accept the Spirit's correction and change.
How do we learn to hear and respond to the corrective voice of the Spirit? First, we must admit we need it! Correction is only as valuable as the heart is pliable. As we admit that we are in need of greater maturity, greater faith and greater obedience, we must invite the Spirit's conviction and correction into our lives.
This is where many people are stuck. Pride keeps many Christians from ever opening up to the Spirit's correction, especially those who are convinced that they are never wrong. And if they are convicted, then refuse to change.
Secondly, we must prayerfully invite the Spirit to evaluate our words and deeds and welcome His conviction when He finds we have not acted Christ-like.
Often we fail to confess our sins to one another because we think others don't know our sins. Some sins, however, are as obvious as the nose on our face. Confessing our sins and immaturity with others allows us to "pray for each other so that you may be healed."
Prayerfully invite the Spirit to help you evaluate your day and to expose words and deeds that fall short of being Christ-like. Then go to those who observed your immaturity and ask for their forgiveness and prayer their prayers.
Finally, stop watching others and begin watching yourself! Too much time is spent hounding the imperfections of others while our own imperfections spread like a raging forest fire. If you are a professional nit-picker or if you think your Spiritual gift is judging others, declare a 30 day fast from this harmful and destructive habit. Instead, spend the next 30 days asking the LORD to, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting"(Psalm 139:23-24).
Dear Heavenly Father, we desire to walk closer with You today than we did yesterday. To do this, we humble ourselves before You and ask that You would send Your Holy Spirit to examine us, and to correct the areas of immaturity in our lives. In Jesus' Mighty Name, AMEN!