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The Marks of Immaturity, and How to Keep Growing

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

by John MacArthur

Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from Reckless Faith (Wheaton: Crossway, 1994, pp. 63-66). As you read, think about the fact that these words were written 17 years ago. For many of you YRR folks, John was writing to your parents!

The immaturity and lack of discernment that marked your parents’ generation explains much of what we’re living with today. On this, I think we are agreed: The YRR generation simply cannot follow the same course. So, listen to what your parents ignored, and together, let’s get this ship heading in the right direction.

Selfishness is one telltale sign of immaturity. Babies are completely self-centered. They scream if they don't get what they want when they want it. All they are aware of are their own needs and desires. They never say thanks for anything. They can't help others; they can't give anything. They can only receive.

And certainly there's nothing wrong with that when it occurs in the natural stage of infancy. But to see a child whose development is arrested so that he never gets beyond that stage of helpless selfishness—that is a tragedy.

And that is exactly the spiritual state of multitudes in the church today. They are utterly preoccupied with self. They want their own problems solved and their own comfort elevated. Their spiritual development is arrested, and they remain in a perpetual state of selfish helplessness. It is evidence of a tragic abnormality.

Arrested infancy, in turn, results in a lack of discernment. Just as a baby crawls along the floor, putting anything it finds in its mouth, spiritual babies don't know what is good for them and what isn't. Immaturity and failure to be discerning go together; they are virtually the same thing.

The tendency to stall in a state of immaturity also existed in New Testament times. Paul appealed to Christians repeatedly to grow up spiritually. In Ephesians 4:14-15, he wrote, “We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ” (emphasis added).

How do we grow spiritually? By “speaking the truth in love” to one another. We grow under the truth. It is the same truth by which we are sanctified, conformed to the image of Christ, made to be mature spiritually (John 17:17, 19). As we absorb the truth of God’s Word, we grow up and are built up. We might say accurately that the process of spiritual growth is a process of training for discernment.

Hebrews 5:12—6:1 underscores all this:

Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil. Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity.

The writer of Hebrews was telling his readers, “You're babies. You've been around long enough to be teachers, but instead I have to feed you milk. I have to keep giving you elementary things. You can't take solid food. You're not accustomed to the rich things of the Word—and that is tragic.”

Notice that in verse 14 he says discernment and maturity go hand in hand: “solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” Knowing and understanding the Word of righteousness—taking in solid food—trains your senses to discern good and evil.

The word “senses” in that verse is not a reference to the feelings, emotions, or other subjective sensory mechanisms. The writer of this epistle is explicitly encouraging his readers to exercise their minds. Those who “because of practice have their senses trained to discern” are the wise, the understanding, people who thrive on the solid food of the Word of God. As we have seen from the beginning, discernment results from a carefully disciplined mind. Discernment is not a matter of feelings, nor is it a mystical gift. Notice from the wisdom literature of the Old Testament how closely discernment is linked with a seasoned, developed, biblically informed mind.

  • Psalm 119:66: “Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Thy commandments.”
  • Proverbs 2:2-5: “Make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the Lord, and discover the knowledge of God.”
  • Proverbs 10:13: “On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found.”
  • Proverbs 16:21: “The wise in heart will be called discerning.”


The path to discernment is the way of spiritual maturity. And the only means to spiritual maturity is mastery of the Word of God.

Most people are discerning about things that are important to them. People who regard a healthy diet as crucial watch carefully what they eat. They read the fine print on the package to see how many grams of fat it has and what percentage of the daily required nutrients it offers.

People who work with pesticides or dangerous chemicals must be very discerning. They study the procedures and the precautions very carefully to avoid any potentially lethal exposure.

People who make investments in the stock market usually practice discernment. They study the cryptic listings in the newspaper on the stock market and watch the ticker tape.

Lawyers are very discerning with contracts. They have to figure out the legal jargon and make sure they understand what they are signing.

People who undergo delicate surgery are usually very discerning. They try to find the doctor with the finest skills—or at least verify that he has plenty of experience in whatever procedure he will be doing.

I know lots of people who are very discerning sports enthusiasts. They watch a football game and can assess any offense, any defense, any play. They often feel they are more discerning than whoever is calling the actual plays. They study statistics and averages and take it all very seriously.

Did you realize those are essentially the same skills that are required in spiritual discernment? Careful thought, keen interest, thorough analysis, close observation—together with alertness, attentiveness, thoughtfulness, and above all, a love of truth. All of us have those skills to some degree, and we use them in whatever field of endeavor is important to us.

Yet what could be more important than spiritual discernment?

There is no valid explanation for why contemporary Christians are so undiscerning—but it reveals a spiritual apathy that is deadly evil.

Can the church regain her ability to be discerning? Only by growing up spiritually. That means confronting the spirit of a relativistic age and diligently applying ourselves to the unfailing Word of God. We cannot gain discernment overnight, or through a mystical experience. Understanding the problem is not the answer. Discernment will come only as we train our minds to be understanding in the truth of God’s Word and learn to apply that truth skillfully to our lives.

John MacArthur


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#1  Posted by Eugene Cabrera  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 9:12 AM

I am thankful to Dr. Macarthur for using his voice to speak discerningly about the YRR. In light of all the positives this movement appears to be headed (or has accomplished by the grace of God), It seems few are willing to carefully point some deficiencies this movement has in risk of being called "arrogant" or out of touch with how to do church in a postmodern culture.

With that said, I do have a question regarding an article ("The Merger of Calvinism with Worldliness") written in 2009 by Dr. Peter Master (Minister of London's Metropolitan Tabernacle - Spurgeon's church) in regard to how his analysis to the "Resolved Conference" is comparable to this series on the YRR.

Here are some excerpts from his Article:

"The new Calvinists constantly extol the Puritans, but they do not want to worship or live as they did. One of the vaunted new conferences is called Resolved, after Jonathan Edwards’ famous youthful Resolutions (seventy searching undertakings). But the culture of this conference would unquestionably have met with the outright condemnation of that great theologian."

"Resolved is the brainchild of a member of Dr John MacArthur’s pastoral staff, gathering thousands of young people annually, and featuring the usual mix of Calvinism and extreme charismatic-style worship. Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere. At the same time they reflect on predestination and election. Worldly culture provides the bodily, emotional feelings, into which Christian thoughts are infused and floated. Biblical sentiments are harnessed to carnal entertainment. (Pictures of this conference on their website betray the totally worldly, showbusiness atmosphere created by the organisers."

"You cannot have Puritan soteriology without Puritan sanctification. You should not entice people to Calvinistic (or any) preaching by using worldly bait. We hope that young people in this movement will grasp the implications of the doctrines better than their teachers, and come away from the compromises. But there is a looming disaster in promoting this new form of Calvinism."

I guess my question is (I also seen this from another blog) does the "Resolved Conference" promote worldliness or some of the pragmatic trends John is speaking of in this series of post? and or

How do you discern the difference?

Thank you,

Eugene

#2  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 12:15 PM

#1 Eugene Cabrera

I guess my question is (I also seen this from another blog) does the "Resolved Conference" promote worldliness or some of the pragmatic trends John is speaking of in this series of post? and or How do you discern the difference?

I think you are hitting the nail right on with your questions. Are the churches promoting worldliness? I can say without a doubt – yes or maybe :-) At least, some are.

The fruits produced are the only way we can discern the results – right?

But who is to blame? Is it the Church or the individual Christians? I for sure know my responsibility to help my brother.

I had an incidence last week, when I visited an old Christian friend I have known for many years. He has two children, now in their early twenties. His daughter has just moved out to live with her boyfriend, and his son just began smoking recently. Both of them have been to Bible school. I was grieved in my heart, so of course we talked about it, and the answer was as always – Christian liberty. They want to show the world, that Christianity is liberty and embrace sinners.

Very sad, isn’t it?

#3  Posted by Mark Cooper  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 1:57 PM

Thank you, John MacArthur, for always pointing us back to the Word of God. Time after time you attempt to scoop us out of our Pop Culture and get us beyond fads. Thank you for reminding us just how selfish we are as a culture....It's so obvious. I am a wretched, selfish man who has never had a thought TOTALLY outside of myself and my own motives and desires.

Lord, put in us a desire to follow You and to have our focus be on Holiness and a true desire to love our fellow man. To pick him up when we see him struggling. To think outside of ourselves and to be a clear vessel for your love.

Mark

#4  Posted by David Smith  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 2:25 PM

#1 Eugene Cabrera

At the time Peter Masters wrote the article you quoted, someone took great issue with his reference to "extreme charismatic-style worship". There is simply no way that the worship at Resolved can be described as that. And if Masters can't get something as simple as that correct, are the rest of his allegations valid?

Masters basically has a big hang-up about contemporary music, and he regards all of it as worldly and unbiblical. I think this is much too simplistic an analysis. His views are far removed from the mainstream of evangelicalism and I wouldn't take much notice of him.

As I said on another previous article, exactly what is "wordly" and what isn't is a highly subjective question. I agree with Rudi that the fruit is what matters.

#2 Rudi Jensen

I grew up in a very conservative/traditional evangelical church, and there were situations worse than the ones you describe with both young and old members. You can't link them to any particular style of church, and I'd want to see some detailed statistics before suggesting that they are more prevalent in any particular group.

Let me say something about smoking, one of the things you mentioned. Why is it wrong? We'd normally say because your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and smoking damages your body. Fine. But being overweight is also very bad for your health. And how many pastors in the US tell their congregations that eating too much and exercising too little is a sin? Young people are very sensitive to this sort of hypocrisy and tend to rebel against it. I'm not saying this was the situation with your friend, but the church as a whole tends to be very selective about what preaches against.

#5  Posted by Tommy Clayton  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 2:40 PM

Great comment, David. I agree with your assessment of Peter Masters' article.

This description of the Resolved Conference by Masters made me smile: "Young people are encouraged to feel the very same sensational nervous impact of loud rhythmic music on the body that they would experience in a large, worldly pop concert, complete with replicated lighting and atmosphere."

#6  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 2:54 PM

The brother who discipled me 30 years ago, gave me a very practical advise. Every day to stand before the crusified Lord. The day you can look Him in His eyes and not feel shame, that will be the day you lost your first love.

I'm not comparing proper behavior to the world, but what I owe Him in love.

#7  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 3:32 PM

Somewhere we have gotten hooked on the notion that all things old are good, and all things new are bad. The same spark of genius that wrote “How Great Thou Art” is alive today in some, but “not all”, contemporary pieces of music. I love the old standards, and am a total traditionalist, as are many in my church, and we do sing the old hymns. We have our own small orchestra, which many of the youth from our Christian school participate in and some adult musicians from the congregation also contribute.

Go to You Tube and pull up MercyMe and listen to “I can Only Imagine.” I would give the lyrics but don’t know if I can. But the words inspire awe and worship for our great God and Savior. I can handle a few of these contemporary songs, if they are well orchestrated and well written.

P.S. You're a treasure Rudi. What you are doing as far as transcribing JM's sermons is such a wonderful thing. God bless you!

#8  Posted by Eugene Cabrera  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 5:31 PM

#4 David

Thank you for your response, I don't necessarily agree with Dr. Masters but I ask these questions because the music at Resolved is obviously different from what is played at Grace Community Church. Why would this be so? Is music at Resolved appropriate for that generation and not at Grace? That seems inconsistent. It seems that the worship (worship referring to style of music) at Resolved is contexualized in order to be relevant to a younger generation. I understand that styles change as culture does, and that the content of the message (Word of God - Doctrine) should not - but is that not the same argument that the YRR uses?

I am 33 and was saved over 10 yrs ago from the 2Pac's, Snoop Dog's, Too Short (rap music) and now I love hymns (and other Christian music). Talk about a miracle, I went from 2pac to a Mighty Fortress is our God. For the last 10 years I had no taste for rap music but now all of a sudden there are artist who rap with solid Doctrine in their songs. I like the music and enjoy the content, but I keep asking myself does their message (style) alienate other people even if they rap truth. The beat of the songs also bring me back to how I use to feel when listening to my music choice of the past. While their seems to be a "Reformed Rap movement" ( alot of positive things happening. They were also invited to speak at the Master's College), I am trying to discern how this movement will fair out in the future and if it's edifying and pleasing to my Lord.

Is there much difference from this Reformed Rap movement then the YRR addressed in these post?

Thank you,

Eugene

#9  Posted by Bryan Chasteen  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 6:27 PM

"How do we grow spiritually? By “speaking the truth in love” to one another. We grow under the truth. It is the same truth by which we are sanctified, conformed to the image of Christ, made to be mature spiritually (John 17:17, 19). As we absorb the truth of God’s Word, we grow up and are built up. We might say accurately that the process of spiritual growth is a process of training for discernment." I can think of no better way to grow than one on one discipleship whereby a more mature believer comes alongside a weaker one and teaches him the tenants of the faith. This is sorely lacking because it requires selflessness and selfishness must be repented of.

#10  Posted by Joel Ken  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 8:45 PM

Whoever wrote in the Editor's Note already created a barrier to MacArthur's blog by using the term "your parents." I thought that was pretty ridiculous.

So, the YRR have to deal with their parents being insulted while the parents of GCC are safe n sound? Another unnecessary separation. Could have just used the term "our parents" or the "older generation" or something.

Apart from that, MacArthur's the bomb-diggity, and it's a great article.

#11  Posted by Steve Nuhn  |  Thursday, August 04, 2011at 9:23 PM

I'd like to reiterate the question about the Resolve Conference. Not to critique, but with as much genuineness I can muster typing on a blog. I watched Dr. MacArthur's sermon from the conference about what to look for in a church via GCC's website and was so encouraged by the message. I'm dealing with some very similar topics in my own church, but I'll get to that later. I listened to other sermons as well with equal encouragement. I was browsing some of the other videos from the conference when I played on with a guy name Dustin (from GCC I believe) and he was introducing a rap singer. It seemed like the tone completely changed. I was shocked to see someone wrapping in the same conference as these great sermons. I really felt like I'd been punched in the gut. Please don't think I'm sensationalizing this myself, it was not that I thought "how could they?", I really thought, "have I been too harsh in my thinking".

Enter, MY church. The average age at my church is middle aged, but what I’m thinking now is more babe like, ...spiritually. They gather in droves for the latest music event or Christian entertainment but when I suggest bible conferences or meetings to focus on the study of scripture they have no interest.

I don't intent to focus on music for music sake here, it's more about the motivation behind it. One lady in my church said she likes our church because she can wear jeans and be comfortable. Am I wrong for encouraging her to be more concerned for the preaching and exalting God than her own comfort. I read Romans 1:16 in a bible study before we left for a mission trip to encourage them to not be ashamed of presenting the gospel during an event we call a block party to get as many people to come as possible. I told them we have to take time to preach to these people and I was told "oh that will drive them away".

How are these things related? Is there really such a thing and Christian rap, Christian comedians, and contemporary Christianity? And what is the A.B.C.'s of salvation? Is that really an effective way to present the gospel?

Forgive me if I seem harsh, I've been struggling with these questions for some time now. I'm praying for correction as much as direction.

Thank you Dr. MacArthur for a very important subject to my own heart and clearly many others. You and the staff at GTY and GCC are among my hero's of the faith.

Steve

#12  Posted by David Smith  |  Friday, August 05, 2011at 2:29 AM

#5 Tommy Clayton

I'm glad you found my remarks helpful.

#8 Eugene Cabrera

Reading JM's previous article - Grow Up Advice for YRRs (part 2) - I think his concern, which I share, is primarily with the way a significant part of the YRR movement seems obsessed with wanting to be "trendy" and following the fads of youth culture. I see that as a different thing to, for example, using a different style of music in meetings designed for the college generation.

I can give an example from my current church, but note that this is just for illustration and not to say that we are perfect.

By God's grace and thanks to the hard work of our gifted youth pastor, my church has a large number of teenage believers, some from non-church backgrounds. A few years ago, we felt that the best way to develop this work was to create a specific sunday evening congregation for them. Their style of service is different, and, yes, the music isn't the same as our regular church music. That, to my mind, is contextualisation, and numbers have continued to grow. (And by the way, many of these kids also attend the normal service as well).

But we're not constantly looking to be "hip", our youth pastor doesn't worry about whether he's wearing the right clothes, and we don't copy the ways of the world to "impact the culture".

I think that's the difference. It can seem a bit subtle at times, but hopefully will become clearer as JM writes more. And I'm sure others will correct me if I've got the wrong idea.

I'm not familiar with "reformed rap" so can't comment there.

#13  Posted by Justin Garcia  |  Friday, August 05, 2011at 7:53 AM

Great post! I am quasi-YRR. I'm 32, married with a 2-year-old son and one in the oven. I guess I'm not TR (Totally Reformed) because my eschatology and ecclesiology mirrors that of Dr. MacArthur, but I definitely affirm the doctrines of grace, reformed theology, and the zeal of the YRR movement.

I have attended 3 of the Resolved conferences and it is a modern wonder that young people are willing to drive down to the middle of the desert during the summer to hear hours upon hours of biblical preaching. It is a great encouragement.

As far as the music goes, I see it as primarily a generational difference. I think the same kind of grievances were brought by "our" grandparents' generation about our parents. The content of the worship music is theologically sound and style is definitely more contemporary. But I'm guessing that in 25 years or so, that same style of music will be considered archaic (to some degree) and maybe even old fashioned. The "charismatic" aspect could only be described as such from an external point of view. And judging from Masters' comments, pics from the web seems to be his primary (or should I say "secondary") source of info. But it is very interesting to read his comments. It just reminds me of my own tendency to have strong opinions about things I know little about.

So in that regard I think we need to give Masters the benefit of the doubt. His intention is to strive to be "biblical" in his understanding of musical worship. There seems to be a language problem today of the term "biblical." For most it is interchangeable with their own convictions (that is true in my case). Others are biblical in so far as much as they agree with me (instead of the objective word). And so this is why I think Dr. MacArthur's comments about discernment are so keen and fitting for this discussion.

I love to hear wisdom from my elders, but the test for me is "can I listen from across the ocean?" =)

#14  Posted by Eugene Cabrera  |  Friday, August 05, 2011at 10:03 AM

#12 David

Hi David thanks again for your response. You are right, it can be subtle. Contextualization will always happen, it's just trying to discern how to be faithful to Biblical principles without compromising in your ministry methodology.

I also agree with your statement that the YRR is focused on trendiness. That is part of their "ministry methodology" to contextualize culture with the gospel. I don't agree with trendiness for the sake of trendiness, but rather the primary focus ought to be worship. Individuals who are focused on worshipping God every moment of there lives will naturally be "missional" as the overflow of their lives will reflect the Savior in the normal context of their community. Trendiness is irrelevant, men and women who are living holy lives are the "fragrance of life" to those who believe - that transcends culture and every generation.

In regard to your church, praise God for the work that he is doing. I am not one to speak with authority on this issue and also am willing to be corrected, but has including a evening service for your youth margnilazed your church. In essence your saying that we are going to devote an entire service to cater to a specific group of people in our church ( I believe Dr. Macarthur built his methodology of ministry focusing on parents over youth). The emphasis is shifted to "trendiness" in worship style over worship that transcends trendiness. I don't think it would be an issue if you included the same style of music worship in both services, but by having different "styles" of worship you are "subtley" communicating to your youth style matters - because you marginalize a specific style in one service over another. I believe this can subltely teach youth to be indifferent to the older generation and teach them to seek style over substance (or trendiness over transcendant worship) - which will spell disaster in their future constructing of their ministry philosophies.

Furthermore, this is exactly what the YRR is doing. In their minds they are being faithful to sound doctrine, but their methodology is marginalizing other generations (older "not hip") and communicating to their constituents that style and trendiness transcends holy and righteous living (worship).

This I believe is a concern that Dr. Macarthur has. This movement may be Reformed in their theology, but is acting pragmatic in their methodology (this spelled disaster for previous generations as he mentioned). If you believe in the Sovereignity of God (Biblical principle), then your ministry methodology should reflect it. Just be faithful preaching to sound doctrine, loving God & others, and the Lord will add to the church - it's pretty much that simple. It's not so simple when your trying to contextualize these truths to your culture without compromising in some way.

#15  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Friday, August 05, 2011at 2:25 PM

There is a model found throughout Scripture that God uses to which the young need to take special note of. That pattern/model is to always honor the elderly. To honor our father and mother (Deut 5:16), to honor the aged (Lev 19:32), to honor those that have rule over you (Hbr 13:7), and to honor the (elders) who labor in the word and doctrine (1 Ti 5:17), these elders may be, and are often times young, but they have gained credibility by laboring in the Word.

This model in Scripture, is to cause us to always reflect back to the wisdom that has gone before; what has proven to be tried and true; what has been gleaned through the ages as worthy of honor and respect. Which is to say, that wisdom has often times been forged upon the anvil of hard knocks, under the pressure of life’s austere privations and sufferings. Wisdom is also discerning what is right from wrong, in an age where evil is called good, and where all things currently in fashion feed our overwhelming desires to remain youthful. But youth is fleeting, as are the fads that typify it. This kind of wisdom, is something that no amount of green and wet behind the ears can come close to emulating.

Men, who are either elderly, or who are young, but have gained great wisdom by laboring in the Word, have earned the God-given right to declare what is an acceptable practice of worship in God’s house. Most have seen fads in music and fashion come and go, they are ephemeral, they are here today and gone tomorrow (to use a pretty hackneyed expression). This earning of ones stripes should naturally preclude all youths, who are still under parental, church elders and Christ’s authority, from setting any and all agendas the church deems appropriate. I would not expect a 13 year old to tell their pastor what books of the Bible he should be preaching from. I do not expect a 13 year old to set the music agenda, either.

Finally, we attend church as a family. And within that family structure, there are many authority figures we all are to submit to (children to their parents, wives to their husbands, both male and female to their elders, and above all, everyone submits to Christ). Those elderly members, of Christ's family, who have made a well-worn path, along a pretty hard and rocky road, need our respect and honor and have the right of precedence over others, including a youth’s choice of music (currently on topic). “Authority figures" (pastors and elders) rule in God’s house, NOT the **predilections** of our young, which soon to, will pass, and become yesterdays news. The elderly have bore many crosses in the name of Christ, and have not only earned the right to lead, but have been sanctioned by God to do so.

'You shall rise up before the grayheaded and honor the aged, and you shall revere your God; I am the LORD (Lev 19:32).”

“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person (Ecc 12:13).”

#16  Posted by Rudi Jensen  |  Friday, August 05, 2011at 2:40 PM

#7 Thanks Mary, It’s really a blessing for me to work with the sermons. I’m getting really deep in every one of them, reflecting on every phrase. Every sermon takes 4-5 days to translate, so I have to be very selective. Man, he can talk :-)

Right now I’m actually working on a sermon series (260_Delivered-by-God), a very hot topic my country need to hear. About how to keep the line between Christians and non-Christians sharp and clear.

#17  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Friday, August 05, 2011at 4:23 PM

Hi, I am back. Good blog about discernment.. Been reading God's Word and learn things.

"Live in the light and as the light is in you. If darkness is in you, you are not living in the light. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches.."

That shows we grow with Christ and how important the relationship between God and man.

Trust Jesus no matter what. Be thankful who you are and walk with Christ... Keep on your eyes on the Lord.. Be strong. If one fall, Ask God to help ...He will help one up.

"Reviewing the Ten Commandments both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. When the rich man thought he can get in Heaven... God is right, He alone is good, not us... .. Awesome God is He, full of goodness and no sin to hide.."

Growing up is the most important part of our lives. It is greatest commitment to grow with Christ. Praise the Lord..

#18  Posted by Mary Elizabeth Palshan  |  Friday, August 05, 2011at 5:02 PM

I won't cut you any slack, Rudi. If you have noticed, which I am sure you have, JM repeats himself a lot (I'm sure for emphasis). So you should be able to cut your work down to half that amount of time. lol!

Hi Dan Wilson, and Rebecca.

#20  Posted by Greg Moering, Jr.  |  Saturday, August 06, 2011at 5:34 PM

Hello,

I am 25 years old, been married for 7 months and I have been a Christian for 9 years. I was saved about 20 days before my 16th birthday and since then my passion has been for the word of God and the glory of God. My heart is to live according to His word in every aspect of my life and to properly understand His truth. This blog series has been one of great encouragement and great conviction. I guess you could say that I'm a "YRR"; however, I prefer to called a Christian. Now with all that said I do have some questions/concerns directed towards myself. I love hymns and modern praise (pending it has sound theology), but I also like Christian rock and things of the sort. I am from the South where it seems that if something goes against tradition or country music is deemed of the devil, so many times my personal musical preferences were condemned because of the style of music, not the content of the lyrics. As mentioned above there is the "reformed rap," or rap with sound theology; likewise, there is rock with sound doctrine for lyrics. I guess coming down to it my question/concern is what I listen to for personal time wrong? My desire is to please God in everything so the stuff I listen to lyrically has to be sound. I love hearing the word of God properly and wonderfully preached. God's word is very precious and dear to me and my favorite bands have to reflect the same desire. I hope this makes sense. My conscience has never been convicted against listening to such music, so I don't feel that I'm posting out of a guilty conscience. Rather, I am always pursuing after God's holiness and I don't want anything, music included, to get in the way, so I am constantly re-evaluating things in my life and would like to get some input. Thanks.

In Christ,

Greg

#21  Posted by Kerry Halpin  |  Saturday, August 06, 2011at 9:17 PM

#20 (Greg)

Listening to sound Christian music on your own time is okay. It really boils down to what your convictions are. I occasionally listen to non-christian music on my own time and have no conviction about it, although I do listen less than I used to because I have felt conviction to do so as I've matured. Most of what is being discussed in these blogs is music in the sanctuary, to which I fall on the conservative side. I've been in churches from rock-concert type "worship" to horn and organ hymns, and have come to the realization and conviction lately that most modern worship is not honorable to God. I think Hillsongs and stuff is okay if the music is simple and tasteful, but beyond that I think modern "worship" is all about pleasing humans and not pleasing God. I love guitar solos and long hard-rocking instrumentals, but find them utterly distasteful and self-serving in the sanctuary. I think much of what qualifies as worship nowadays belongs on the radio and not in the sanctuary.

#22  Posted by Dan Wilson  |  Monday, August 08, 2011at 6:45 AM

Psalm 30:10 - Helps us to depend on Jesus.

and Psalm 25:4-7 is another on that to grow and live by Christ.

Psalms 119 is another good one. God's Word is awesome. and living Christ-center lives is too. God bless.

#23  Posted by Seymour Helligar  |  Monday, August 08, 2011at 11:09 AM

Hello Greg, I noticed that you are a relatively young man with a similar experience such as myself. I was born in a Christian home and loved the things of God for most of my life. As I matured in scripture, I understood more and more what sin is and how sin manifests itself in my everyday expressions. In my teen years, I struggled with secular music and just could not listen to the songs the same way. My observance was that the more I understood the nature of God and the life of a believer, I had to separate myself from those vices. Participating in worldly activities is not always a matter of conscience, for that can be deceiving. When I read John's statements on discernment, knowledge is what drives it, not my conscience. My sinful nature and past activity in sin flaws my conscience if I flow with my conscience alone. Often our conscience is still a work in progress because of the sinful past that we conducted ourselves in. One can never rest in the level of accountability his or her conscience has toward God. You rely on the word of God and understand that "those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:8). Spiritual maturity is to devote ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives in everything we do. Music is a trap and as a fellow musician, I have witnessed many musicians who attempted to mix the world with godliness. It does not work and is very deceiving. If our ultimate goal is to stive to please God in every way (Colossians 1:10), then what role does worldly music or the world's suggestion on how and what we should play factor into our living for His glory? Often Christian music is a diluted poison of the world's sinful entertainment and a fleshly appeal in the name of God. Can God be glorified in any of this? I do struggle with that question because I get more out of it than He does. So it seems as if I am the one who is being glorified.