…until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
The only standard of Christian maturity is Christ. He is our goal in our character development. Anything less is unacceptable and anything more does not exist. All the work of God is focused within our lives toward this development. The fullness of Christ is a grand thought, far beyond our comprehension.
The graciousness of God is seen in this matter, that He desires and works toward the end that all might be like Christ. His generosity and compassion is demonstrated in this way. He does not keep us at arms length and discourage us, but He invites us to climb the heights with Him. Our stumbling and failing can be forgiven. Pride and arrogance, lamentable as they are, also can be washed away by His blood. Even jealousy, selfishness, and our personal discouragement do not remove us from His hand. He does insist on us following Him though, up the paths of maturity.
It is a long, long journey so we had best be on our way with Him, but we will not be around the first bend in the road without missing some of the things in our former life. A necessary step is to choose to leave behind the old life with its prospects and to follow – to die to self and to live for God. Following Christ means to be willing to go anywhere, to do anything, to face any challenge if it is His will. None of us has the right to say that we will go only so far and no farther. No one is called to follow Christ while dressed in his own righteousness or with less than a total commitment, and the one who thinks otherwise is wearing the wrong clothes for the wedding (Matt. 22:11).
As with Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac, God insists on our complete devotion to Him above all persons and things, holding nothing back. He does not extend His hand always to take it in fact, but He insists that we are willing for Him to do so. He does not send everyone to the ends of the world in fact, but He insists on our being willing to go in our hearts.
Take stock today of your life. Is there anything you love more than Christ? Is there any commitment of your life where you are holding back? Until we have surrendered all that we possess, we discover the principle working in us that our possessions possess us and we are not truly free. Only when we are living the surrendered life can we enjoy all things, as Paul wrote:
Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
1 Corinthians 3:18-23
We will stumble in these areas a thousand times a day, but still the standard of Christ remains before us. Our goal is to grow up into the glory of our Head, Jesus Christ. Don’t look at it as sacrifice, for He is calling us to higher life, to a better life.
Lord, we surrender to You all things. Whatever we hold back convict us of, that we might follow You, dressed in Your righteousness alone and committed to Your cause completely. Amen.