Saturday, October 1, 2011

Stress and it’s Biblical Correlation to Maturity

On 9/28/11 my pastor taught a lesson on stress that I gleaned a few insights from, not intended by the teaching.  You know how it goes…God may be saying one thing to one person, and a completely different thing to another person from the same message.  That’s one reason you should always pay attention to the teaching, because you may get unintended insights from them!   God works in mysterious ways. 

The four classifications of stress as related to us by the pastor is as follows:
1.       Insufficient stress- (Lack of Motivation) which he said after you get so much stress in your life, you just lose all motivation, which is how he also defined “Burn out” but said they’re not the same.  I think he missed something in what he was reading.

2.       Negative stress- (as taught-not processing stress correctly) which I believe is more accurately described as not useful for positive motivation and potentially harmful to both mental and physical well-being.  An example could be the expectation to always do more with less.  Who hasn’t felt that one?

The Hegelian Dialectic is a study that is beneficial at this point.  Fredrick Hegel believed in the principle of thesis/antithesis/synthesis.  Basically this implies that revolution in life creates better future just because man is always striving to overcome, and his striving to overcome causes positive forward momentum.    If it ain’t broke…break it!  This ultimately leads to …

3.       Burn Out- which is a result of #2 above with no signs of remission.

4.       Sufficient and/or Positive stress- Motivation to move forward.  This can be either positive or negative, as long as it motivates you to a positive outcome.  Ex: the need for more income (a negative stressor) can cause one to seek a better job, or better education.  A perceived need for a closer walk with God (through trials and tribulations) can motivate one to pray, fast, study their bible more.

I think “insufficient stress” is really more about letting one “float through life” with everything provided for them, or allowing one to be free from the consequences of poor judgment/choices.  Spoiled children who never learn to provide for themselves can become self-centered and unprepared for difficulties that are sure to arise where they won’t be able to cope.  They haven’t been allowed to develop those needed coping mechanisms.  Treat a baby as a baby, but treat an adolescent with more responsibility.
Allowing “saints” to think it is alright to be a “Christian” in name only, without acknowledging there are still consequences for sin, and without growing in knowledge and faith is insufficient stress.  You aren’t a “Christian” just by claiming to be one (Glen Beck-Mormon).  You can’t be a car just because you live in a garage and claim to be one.  I am reminded of Amy Grant’s song  “Fat  Baby”.to watch go here

Spiritually speaking, when one is “born again” into the church, they are referred to as “babes in Christ.”
 1 Cor.3: 1. And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

Hebrews 5: 14.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

These babes in Christ need spiritual milk, and not meat until they are more mature.  Just as you wouldn’t give a natural baby chunks of a hot dog to try to eat, neither is a spiritual babe ready for the stronger word of God.  After they have the foundational doctrines established…

Hebrews 6:
 1.  Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
 2.  Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

…it will be time to provide continued positive motivation, or “sufficient stress” to grow into a mature saint of God.

Hebrews 6:
3.  And this will we do, if God permit.
 4.  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
 5.  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
 6.  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
 7.  For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:
 8.  But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
 9.  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

Many think they are mature Christians just because they are physically older and have “been in church” a long time.  Existing for a long time doesn’t make one mature, necessarily.  We all know immature adults, who are an embarrassment to themselves, but seldom seem to know it.  The same is true with too many “mature Christians” who aren’t really…but don’t seem to know it. If they haven’t been established in the foundational doctrines as outlined by the apostle Paul above…there is a good chance that they aren’t as mature as they want to think.

My pastor says often that the church isn’t in the business of “straightening out the saints”, that is the job of the Holy Ghost!  Agreed, the average saint is probably wiser to let the ministry do its job.

Ephesians 4: 11.  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
 12.  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
 13.  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
 14.  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Unfortunately, my pastor teaches that “edifying” means building up…that is correct…but also that it means never say anything negative to them, exalt them…let the holy ghost teach them, because …

John 16: 13.  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

That is providing babes in Christ with insufficient stress to mature.  After they are babes, but before they are mature, they are the spiritual equivalent of a natural teenager .  Teens don’t develop their prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls judgment, until in their 20’s.  That explains why they act so weird sometimes.  Physically and emotionally they may be mature, but their judgment is not mature enough to be turned loose.  Setting 21 as the age of adulthood is pretty close to accurate.  Some maybe a little sooner…others maybe a little later.  Spiritually it’s harder to gage.

 Luke 10: 21.  In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

Some things only a Christian can understand.  Even babes in Christ can see spiritual truths that mature non-Christians can’t.  But that doesn’t mean they have developed spiritual judgment. 

In Ephesians 4:12 above, the word “perfecting” means to bring to maturity.  The ministry is given for the purpose of bringing babes in Christ to full maturity.  .  That is how the church is built up, or edified, not by exalting them, stroking egos, or pats on the back, but by providing our babes sufficient stress, constructive activities, to mature correctly.  In the natural we try to give our kids positive stressors like sports or music, drama club, etc.  In the Spiritual…

Paul taught Timothy to:
 1 Timothy 4
2.  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
 3.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Give them positive activities such as witnessing, tract distribution, assisting on a ministry team, cleaning the church, singing in the choir, using already developed talents for God. Not to exalt them, but to exhort!  We are only to exalt Jesus.  Reproof is positive stress!  Rebuking is a positive stressor if done correctly.  Exhortation is absolutely positive stress!

Biblically speaking, tribulation is not necessarily a negative stress :

John 16:
33.  These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Negative stress to an immature saint would be to put more on them than they have been prepared for. 
Promoting an uninitiated/untrained saint still not grounded in understanding of the principle foundational doctrines is to set him or her up for failure.  It is trying to constantly do more with less, and will lead to burn-out!

1 Timothy 3: 1.  This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  (Bishop here means overseer.  Think youth pastor or something similar)
 2.  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
 3.  Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
 4.  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
 5.  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
 6.  Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

 1 Timothy 4: 16.  Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

This is the right, “sufficient stress” that will mature a church.  Coddling the saints will cripple their growth.  We don’t do our teens any favors by refusing to put demands on them.  We don’t do our newer saints any favors by expecting less than their best for God, either.

To promote a saint before they are rooted and grounded in doctrine is deadly for that saint and to the church where they minister.

To better understand Christian maturity, go here.  It's called "perfection".
To better understand your teens brain, go here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anyone have any thoughts about this?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...