Updated: Aug 23, 2021
As I journey along the road of life I have truly learned that you have to spend time and watch closely to realize if someone is a mature and committed Christian versus someone who has merely gone to Church for years but has not spiritually matured and shows no signs of being truly committed to God and the life we are called to live.
Everyone needs a support system and it truly needs to be spiritually mature and committed Christians, I have stopped taking into account the years they have been attending church as quantity pales in comparison to quality in most things but is definitely the greater of the two in this particular situation. As a Christian, the old saying of "it's not what you know, but who you know that is important", rings so true. Knowing about Jesus is important, but the act of knowing Jesus as my lord and savior is what is truly important and gives value to my life. So when I fail or fail and need to talk to someone I seek out a wise counselor. Someone who will not be shocked, will not judge, will not gossip about me, will pray with and for me, and help me to forgive myself.
John 20:23 says "If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained." This scripture, in my opinion, is about faith. If you have faith that God forgives, then you are forgiven but if it is unbelief that captures your spirit then the sin remains.
I have to remember that there is nothing that can't be forgiven by God, and my faith tells me for the first time in my life that I am fully redeemed. What a weight has been lifted and I am truly beginning to see the person I am, not the sins that I committed in the past. This revelation didn't take place overnight. Getting to where I am right now has taken about a year. As Covid sent us home, I realized that God has plans for me and we have done an immense amount of work on me and even though it was hard it was so worth the pain and frustration. There is much work left to be done but I am willing to put in the work as I know the outcome is going to be wonderful.
There have been tests and trials along the way but I can proudly say that most I have passed and even when I tripped up, that was it, I tripped but did not fall. There were times the old ways and coping skills tried to surface but with my inner peace and God's everlasting grace, I was able to control the narrative and keep God's spirit in my reactions. This saved me from many negatives and enabled me to keep my peace intact. Top ut it plainly, I never gave my power away and with God's assistance never had to repent for my actions. Big steps for me and God.
God provided me with great confidants through this last year he has removed stumbling blocks, and even in the hardest of times I never lost my peace, faith, joy, or my ability to love. They all stayed at the forefront of my life. The verse found in Romans 5:3-4 reads "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope." These words help me to remember that if I am suffering that it is part of the plan. This growth was made possible by God placing the mature and committed Christians in my path and giving me the wisdom to distinguish just who they were.
Giving up my childish ways was so freeing and 1 Corinthians 13:11 reads "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up my childish ways" played a huge role in my growing up. A great way, I found, to recognize the level of maturity in my Christian walk is to consider how it would look to someone if they were able to witness my actions or my thoughts. Would I appear to be a child throwing a tantrum or a seasoned Christian behaving in a fashion pleasing to God? Takes discipline but is worth the time.
Someday it is my hope that I will be viewed as a mature and committed Christian to someone but that being said, if God is the only one who is pleased with me, then I have attained my goal and will be elated with the results.