Walking out your faith can have its ups and downs. We can all experience temporary setbacks and changing seasons. Even the baby eagles once at home in the nest begin to experience discomfort when it is time for them to depart. Are you comfortable where you are in your walk with the Lord?

Or perhaps you are too comfortable so that you have stopped growing in your faith. Have you experienced increased dissatisfaction with where you are but you don’t know how to take the next step? Do you hunger for more and long to see God move in your life? First let us determine which level above best describes where you are today.

Floundering

You find yourself struggling in your walk right now. Perhaps circumstances, doubt, bad choices, lack of commitment, sin, or ________ have caused your relationship with the Lord to flounder. You may find yourself drifting away, distracted, disappointed, angry, or too preoccupied with the world. Are you weary from a battle and need someone to come alongside you until you can get back on your feet? Even Peter took his eyes off Jesus for a moment to look at the storm, then he needed help to get back up. We all need a helping hand from time to time. The key is to reach out and ask for help.

Seek the guidance of a mentor, pastor, or a mature, trustworthy Christian friend. You want someone who will be honest with you and hold you accountable when needed.  Even Moses needed the help of Aaron and Hur when he grew weary.

Comfortable

We may want to have a healthy appetite for the things of God, but sometimes we become too satisfied with where we are. This is a danger we must all guard against and avoid. Regardless of how long one has been saved, we can become complacent or even lazy in our relationship with the Lord. Overcommitment or overwork can cause us to procrastinate and over time, our growth can stagnate. At times, we just find it too easy to turn on the tv or get to bed early without taking time to talk with him.

A decreased investment in our relationship with Him equates to a flickering flame; then our first love begins to wane. Once we recognize that we are at this level, we need to become intentional about reigniting the passion we once had when we first got saved. Change is good! It helps us grow and break free of a status quo relationship. Who wants dull and boring when you can have exhilarating and passionate again?

Try changing when, where, or even how you spend time with the Lord. I have found creating a special place where I plan to meet with the Lord each day to be helpful. Or buying a new book of devotions to study. Enroll in a new bible study at church where you can study with others. Stimulate your spiritual appetite, stay engaged in pursuing Him.

Hungry

This is an excellent place to be… and it can be experienced as a newbie to the faith, or as a veteran that simply wants to experience more. Matthew 5:6 tells us that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. Hunger is a prerequisite for spiritual blessings from the Lord. When we seek to satisfy our hunger for more, we will find the Lord rewarding us with more. We may find we are hungry for a more intimate relationship with him, hungry to experience the things of God, or hungry to walk in a deeper expression of Him in our lives. Matt. 7:7 (paraphrased) tells us that if we ask, seek, and knock we can anticipate finding. Notice finding and receiving requires action on our part, not just wishing it were so.

Mature and Grounded

This is the believer that has a good working knowledge of the word and they understand how to apply it to their life. They have been through seasons of testing and have successfully navigated to the other side. They continue to be steadfast in their growth and avoid the common pitfalls and offenses that inevitably come to try them. They have a strong personal relationship with the Lord, but also have learned to become productive members of a local body. They can maintain healthy relationships with other believers and are of good report both inside and outside of the church.

These are those we look to when we choose teachers, elders, or other leaders in the body. Without people stepping up to take responsibility for serving others, the growth of the church will become stifled.

Disciple maker/ mentor.

Ideally mature and grounded believers add action to their faith and move on to become disciple makers and mentors. A disciple maker is one who is willing to share their faith with others and lead them to the Lord. However, just as we would not leave an infant to fend for themselves, we need to stand alongside new believers to guide, direct, and teach them until they are strong enough to stand on their own and feed themselves. There are various levels of commitment that may be engaged in when mentoring others. If the new convert is willing and hungry to grow in their faith, a more mature believer can walk alongside them to ensure their success. The one leading can only take the new believer to the level that they themselves have already attained.

So, where are you in your walk with the Lord? Are you where you want to be? Why or why not? What would it take for you to advance to the next level? Are you hungry to know more, experience more, and to do more for God? If you have not yet reached the level described above as mature and grounded, then the next step is to follow the instruction we found in Matthew 7:7. It says, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

We should all desire to move into a level of maturity that allows Father God to trust us with more of his blessings. We do not give our 3-year-olds keys to the family car, nor does God. He waits until we are beyond the stage of spiritual puberty before he trusts us with those things that require maturity. He allows us to walk through the stages of development until we can demonstrate our ability to chew and digest the “meat of the word” as Paul so aptly describes it.

God knows that new believers are not yet ready to steward the inheritance he has set aside for us in Christ. That is why we are encouraged to walk out the process of transformation. The first step is to accept Jesus as Savior and follow him into the waters of baptism. That is not the end however, it is only the beginning of our journey with him. Jesus spent 3 years mentoring his disciples. He walked with them, he talked with them, and he trained them in the way that they were to go. They made mistakes, but they also rejoiced in victories. Step by step they grew in knowledge and understanding as they continued their journey with Him.

We too must seek to know him more intimately, and experientially. That is how transformation begins. The more we know him, the more we become like him.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Want to become more like Jesus? We need to hang out with him: in prayer, in his word, and in fellowship with others seeking his face. One must be willing to step out in faith and answer his call. What is he calling you to be? What is he calling you to do? I can assure you that he has called each of us to take our place in fulfilling his mission here on the earth. We can look all the way back to the garden to see his intention. He told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. He said to fill the earth, subdue it, and rule over it.

28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that [a]moves on the earth.”

We each have a job to do and a part to play. We have all been commissioned to fulfill God’s plan.

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The goal is to reach maturity enabling us to lead others to Christ and discipling them to do the same. The number of believers in the body of Christ grows exponentially as a result. As we energetically reach out to do this, revival is birthed! Praise God! We successfully fulfill the command in Genesis to be fruitful and multiply. That is not, however, all that Adam and Eve were commanded to do. Didn’t God say to subdue and rule over the earth? Jesus expounded upon this point further in Matthew 28:

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

In Mark we see the focus is discipling people, however in Matthew it is discipling of nations. Discipling people leads to revival, but discipling nations leads to reformation. For years we have been crying out for revival, as if that were the final goal. It is not. It is, however, the first step to reformation. So, what is reformation? Jeremiah was an OT reformer. See what the Lord said to him in Jeremiah 1:9-11.

See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To pluck up and to break down,
To destroy and to overthrow,
To build and to plant.”

Briefly, we might say that reformation is establishing the kingdom of God upon the earth.

The kingdom come thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven….

More explicitly reformation is the process of building and planting. However, one cannot build and plant until we pluck up, break down, destroy, and overthrow. That which does not fulfill God’s plan for the kingdom can’t be allowed to remain taking up space. When a farmer prepares the soil in the spring, he turns it removing weeds and rubbish. He thereby makes room for what is to come. The turning or working of the soil makes it easier for the seeds to take root and grow.

By establishing the kingdom of God on earth, we come full circle. We are fulfilling God’s original commandment in the garden to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it, and rule it. Revival and reformation are both necessary if we are to occupy, multiply and govern on earth until Jesus returns.

This conversation began with the walk of faith and where you find yourself on that journey. So, which step do you find yourself occupying today? Are you on the bottom rung making your way up? Or are you stalled in the middle? Are you hungry for more and don’t know where to start? Perhaps your faith has been exercised and seasoned allowing you to grow and mature.

Ultimately, we want to become those who have attained sufficient maturity to disciple and mentor others. At the same time, we must continue to stimulate our own hunger for more of all God has for us. We want to be willing to invest the time and commitment to see God’s plan unfold upon the earth by doing our part to make that happen. It all begins with seeking him and walking out his plan.

If you have not yet reached the step of the mature and grounded, that should be your most immediate goal. If you feel you have landed there, then the next step should be to disciple and mentor others, and that is what we want to talk about next. It is time to take the next step. So, keep on walking.