“Submission” for the Single Ladies

After preaching on Biblical Womanhood last week, I received some submitexcellent questions from some godly single women in our church.  None of them expressed issue with the sermon, but they all desired a better understanding as to how some of principles of marriage may apply to singleness.

A Good Word Used Badly

One question that came up centered on the idea of “submission”.  And although this concept was not highlighted in my sermon, it is an all too familiar term employed when teaching about Biblical Marriage.  It is not a bad word in itself, but it is often badly taught by bad teachers and badly exercised by bad men.

As Paul wrote in Philemon 8…though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—.  In other words ladies, I’m not scared to tell it like it is.  But I do want to try and be sensitive to the reality that it is difficult for most women to feel enthusiastic about the word “SUBMIT” in our culture or in their personal experience.  A man can barely whisper the word “submission” today without being crucified as a chauvinist, a Neanderthal, or worse.  And many a pastor has been rightly criticized for preaching strong-handed sermons on the “S-word”, sadly, devoid of the compassion of Christ.  I don’t mind being crucified as long as I am speaking the Words of Christ in a Christ-like way.

Let me try and talk gently, but frankly, about the big bad “S” word–SUBMISSION.  Usually, when we come across a word or idea that we do not like, but feel obligated to agree with (because God said it), the first thing that happens is an attempt to redefine it, to make it more agreeable.  Simple defined:

The word SUBMISSION means to take a subordinate role, specifically in relation to another person.

Everyone Submits to Someone

The act of submission is not exclusive to women in marriage. According to Ephesians 5.21, mutual submission out of reverence for Jesus should characterize ALL Christians.  But as we demonstrate meekness, grace, and patience with one another, that does not mean we do not submit to the God given authorities in our lives.  Submission to authority, be it God, parents, or governments is also a Christian virtue.

Again, the idea of “submission” is most commonly connected to marriage because it is most explicitly taught as applying to this relationship. In Ephesians 5.22-24 Paul charges: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church. , his body, and is Himself its Savior.  Now, as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  Paul teaches the same idea in his letter to the Colossians 3.18 declaring: Wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord.  Similarly, the apostle Peter teaches in his first epistle:  …wives be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives–when they see your respectable and pure conduct. 

There is no question that all Christians are expected to mutually submit to one another or whether wives are called to submit their husbands.  The question is whether or not all single women are responsible to somehow live out submission in their relationship to all or any men.

One Wife not All Women

That said, it is important to understand what submission means in the context of Biblical Womanhood for both the married AND the unmarried.

First, it must be stated that the verses about submission in marriages are written to wives, not all women.  In other words, the women is expect to submit to A MAN, not to ALL MEN.  It follows then, biblically and practically, that single women are not under authority of a man in the same sense until she is married.  In the strictest sense, she is not under the authority of her boyfriend, or fiancé, even though she may be preparing to be.

Second, that truth does not mean that she cannot uphold and even proclaim the principle submission in other existing relationships outside of marriage.  In truth, she has a responsibility in several relationships as a single woman which include:

Submission in relationship to her heavenly Father

The first, and most important way a single woman can live out godly submission is in relationship to God.  A woman, married or not, lives first and foremost in submission to Jesus–under His Lordship.  She is a daughter of the King before she is ever a wife, mother, or friend.  Being a child, in Christ, assumes submission to the Father’s authority in all things.  This submission is not a meant to solicit love from God, but is in response to God’s love.  It is not merely our duty to submit and obey, it is our delight to follow Jesus’ lead.

Submission in relationship to her earthly father

Another way a single woman can live out godly submission is in her relationship to her mother and father. Until a woman “cleaves” to a husband, she does not “leave” the covering of her earthly Father.  There is, without doubt, a time when women become adults and no longer live under the practical authority of their parents–but we always bear the responsibility to honor them.  This, of course, does not necessarily mean submission in the strictest sense.  In some sense, however, a daughter’s Father never ceases to be her primary protector, cultivator, and teacher.  He is, or at least should be, the most (or at least one of) important “man” in her life under Jesus (as a mom should be a son’s most important woman).

Submission in relationship to elders of the church

Another way that a single woman can live out godly submission is in her relationship with her pastors. We can and should say this about all church members as the Bible is abundantly clear in Hebrews 13.17:  Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.  The elders and pastors of the church are shepherds–they exist to love, feed, and protect the sheep. This is no more true than with widows, orphans, and single moms (or single ladies).  The appointed leader’s of God’s family should be especially concerned with caring for those who may not have husbands or fathers thinking about caring for them.  It is important that single ladies, especially single moms, know and trust their elders so as to receive their counsel and care with the love in which it is intended.

Submission in relationship to her sisters in other marriages

A fourth way to uphold godly submission as a single woman is to encourage other married women in their submission to their husbands.  Even if there is not a shared marriage experience, there is a shared identity in Christ.  And a shared commitment to Christ means upholding the things of Christ.  More than just sentimentality, that means actively encouraging wives in biblical submission and admonishing them, with all gentleness, when they reject their husbands leadership.  It may be helpful, but it is not necessary, to have a shared experience of marriage in order to uphold God’s Word about marriage relationships.

Submission in relationship to those younger in her care

Finally, single woman can also live out godly submission by what they teach those in their care whether they be daughters, sons, or other younger people on which you have great influence.  The Bible is clear that the best thing older women can teach one another, and younger women can learn from one another (apart from the gospel), is Biblical Womanhood.  Paul writes in his letter to Titus 2.3-4: Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children. Until, and if, she is married, the single woman should work to fulfill the mission given in Genesis 2 to Adam and Eve—build a God-glorifying culture.  A God glorifying culture includes teaching biblical manhood and womanhood in whatever way you can.at whatever opportunity you have.

Ladies, I recognize that this blog is certainly not comprehensive, but I pray that this helpful.


“Helping” for the Single Ladies

Yesterday,  I preached a sermon on Biblical Womanhood from Genesis helperchapter 2.  Preaching these kinds of sermons always feel like trying to navigate a minefield.  One wrong step and “boom”, you are hated or misunderstood by the women in your church.

Even though the Scriptures are quite clear about biblical manhood and womanhood, anyone who teaches on these topics must speak with tremendous amounts of grace (especially if they hope to be heard the same way). Unfortunately, many pastors and churches make the mistake of compromising truth in the name of “grace”. That is a destructive mistake that does a disservice to anyone who might hear.

The other mistake that preachers like myself can make is failing to communicate the whole truth to the whole congregation.  It is probably unreasonable to expect a single sermon on a single text to speak to every flavor of men, women, young, old, religious, irreligious person equally (or at all).  But in terms of Biblical Womanhood,   I am  concerned that, historically, it is something almost exclusively preaching in the context of marriage.  Anyone who is not married may as well “check out” or check Facebook.

I confess, I have made this foolish mistake.  I believe that marriage is an important and essential part of God’s original design in the garden; but it is not every woman’s reality in our post Genesis 2 world.  This is not to say that somehow single people are living in a less-than existence (though they can be made to feel that way by preachers) or that a spouse is a gift for “good behavior” or proof that you’re “good enough”.  On the contrary, Paul declares everything, even one’s marital status as under God’s sovereignty, and describes singleness as a good gift from the Father.

We would do well, therefore, to find ways to elevate the beauty of Biblical Womanhood for the single ladies! In other words, they have to be able to fulfill their God-given role to help do God’s work with or without a husband.  To that end, following the sermon I have had some great conversations with different women in our church in hopes understanding their perspective.  Here is one part of one exchange:

ME: When all is said and done, I want you to feel loved and valued. I also want you to feel free to use your gifts–that are awesome–in building a God-glorifying culture (as you are through your business and artistry) whether there is a man in your life or not! When all is said and done, you don’t NEED a man to live out what God has for you now…but all men certainly need your “help” in all kinds of ways. Hope that makes sense.

The response to the above statement surprised me, but offered some important insight. She said:

SINGLE WOMAN: You know something that yesterday made me realize is one of the things I desire most is to be a helper. And yesterday showed me the times of greatest hurt in my life were when I was a helper to someone I shouldn’t have been. When I put a man above the Lord it turned into idolatry. Something I have had to repeatedly repent from.

Women are naturally helpers.  They want to help those in need.  But, when helping men, there is a genuine temptation to be that which God did not design her to be in that moment.  Without question, this is a danger in the romantic relationships of pre-married people.  She can begin to “help” a man in ways that only a wife is meant to “help” a husband.   Even though the “helping” is well-intended and, quite natural, because they are not married, there may be problems.

This is not to say that single men and single women cannot have meaningful friendships.  It is to say that one of the biggest dangers in these kinds of friendship is that, if not careful, a “helper” can easily become a “savior” for either the man or the woman–this is idolatry at its baddest because it feels the best-est (in the moment).  They will end up depending on one another in ways reserved only for the Lord. They will begin to make their relationship with one another more important than their relationship with the Lord.  Believing they are loving each other, they will in fact be leading each other into sin and away from the Lord.

Don’t be fooled. This can also happen IN a marriage context where, as the wife fulfills her role as a helper, she too may be tempted to try and “help” in ways that Jesus alone is supposed to–especially when her husband is failing in his role.  One thing is for sure, when live out their roles, living selflessly and not taking selfishly, then women will flourish in living out theirs married or not.

I hope this young lady realizes how she helped me understand God’s truth here, ironically, fulfilled the role God gave her.  Awesome.

Next Blog:  “Submission for the Single Ladies” (That ought to be a popular one)


On God, Science, and the Age of the Universe

This past Sunday I preached a sermon focused in the six days of creation.  I began the sermon by reading Psalm 19.1-2:pope5 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handwork.  Day to day pours out speech and night to night reveals knowledge. The point of beginning with this Psalm was to remind us of the true purpose of creation—to make much of God.  Essentially, instead of always asking HOW questions, I wanted us to focus on WHY questions.

It is difficult to ask these kinds of questions with this particular text because there is such a great divide created by one’s understanding of “how” the six days of creation unfolded.  In an effort to make sense of God’s Word, men often mistakenly accommodate science to the point of compromise or dismiss it as all together evil or at least mostly wrong.  The first sermon, therefore, was devoted to addressing this tension that has historically governed the relationship between religion and science.  My hope was to help navigate this tension and direct our eyes where they should be all together.  Sadly, the vastly different responses I received to this sermon revealed that this was not fully accomplished.

Following the sermon, I posted an article on Facebook that I had briefly mentioned in the sermon.  The article, written by a former Atheist now Christian, proposed a third option that attempts to reconcile the obvious disagreements between the Bible and mainstream science.  Although I find the article fascinating, the article does not represent my position and is, at different points, in conflict with the position I believe is truest to the Biblical text.  Even though I stated my position as a literal 24 hour six-day creationist (young earth), my failure to explain that position created an environment where this article created more confusion than it did curiosity.

That said, below is a simple summary of what I believe regarding science, God, and the origin of the universe.  Please know that the following is not a comprehensive doctrinal statement.  They are a few thoughts to help guide conversation and not invitations for debate.

  1. I believe that Scripture is the authoritative word of God, infallible and without error in its original writings. The Word of God is our final authority in faith and life, through which the Spirit of God awakens, empowers, and transforms.
  1. I believe that all the Scriptures are written about Jesus and were given to primarily to lead us to praise the glorious riches of God’s grace in Jesus.
  1. I believe that there is much that God has chosen to leave a mystery and there is much that God has revealed. It is our duty to focus on that which He has revealed and not become too distracted by that which He has not.
  2. I believe that we do not know, with certainty, the age of the earth (universe) and that godly men who love Jesus disagree on the age of earth. Most, but not all, positions on the age of the earth are open handed in that they are not essential to salvation.
  3. I believe that one’s position on the age of the earth, particularly old earth, does not necessarily compromise the authority of Scripture, neither does it necessarily evidence a non-literal approach to interpretation. And while there are many positions that are biblically offensive, there is more than one position that is biblically defensible.
  1. I believe that, as with all of creation, science is tainted with sin. In order to uphold the authority of Scripture, therefore, we must be careful not to accommodate science.  That said, I believe that science is a gift of God, given by God to inform and enrich our understanding of His Word but not govern its interpretation.
  1. I believe that the Word of God declares the purpose of creation is to reveal the glory of the Creator who is there and the purpose of science is to reveal just how glorious that Creator is.
  1. I believe it is our duty and privilege to glorify God through science. In Christ, science is not hopeless, it can be helpful.  We must be ready, therefore, to restore science with God’s truth, to work in science to confirm God’s truth, and even be prepared to be led to God’s truth through science.
  1. I believe that we must arrive at and hold our theological convictions with all humility for there is a dangerously fine line between knowledge that builds up and knowledge that puffs up.
  1. I believe that we must endeavor to be convinced in our own minds about our particular position through study, prayer, and counsel. As we do this, we must also strive to maintain unity in the essentials, and charity in the non-essentials.

Having discussed this with the elders, we believe it is important that we devote some time this next Sunday to preach the details of the position I hold.  It is our hope that this will bring greater clarity to last week, greater unity with our Kid’s Road program, and ultimately greater confidence in God’s Word.   See you Sunday, and bring your Bible.

The world needs Genesis right now

Genesis_slideWe began our series on the first 11 chapters of Genesis this week.  I am becoming more and more convinced that the Book of Genesis is probably the most important book ever written.  There are 66 books in the Bible and few, if any of them, make sense without a basic understanding of Genesis.  Yet, I find a growing number of Christians unfamiliar with the story of God.  They wrongly believe that they can jump in the middle of God’s novel and expect to understand what HAS happened, what WILL happen, and WHY.  Genesis is the beginning of the beginning.    In many ways, it is the beginning of everything we know—the BEDROCK of our faith.

Our culture desperately needs Genesis right now.  Our world is struggling with truths that everyone, believer or non, once held as absolute.   Our questions have changed.  We are asking different ones that many people, believer or not, never though we’d be asking.  We’ve gone from questions like: What is life about TO what is a life?  From who should I marry TO what is a marriage?  From how I can mature as a man or woman TO do I want to be a man or a woman?  And while pastors of churches could preach countless topical sermons to address these kinds of topics, the church should go back and study the book of beginnings.  Said another way, Genesis is a missional book—it has answers for the many of today’s most difficult questions and hope for the world.

The first 11 chapters give us God’s answers, God’s definitions, and God’s designs for how life is supposed to be.   It also provides us understanding as to why things are not the way they are supposed to be right now.  In Proverbs 22.28, King Solomon writes: Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set. Today, the chaos in and around creation is evidence that mankind has foolishly done just.  Men have rejected God’s Word as their foundation.  Instead of thanking God, they have denied Him.  Instead of worshiping the Creator, they have worshiped creation.  Instead of embracing a loving Father’s design for life, they created their own. And even though EVERYONE knows that there is something “wrong” with the world, they refuse to return to the only one who can make it right.

I recently spoke with an Atheist friend of mine who expressed his own concern over the brokenness of the world.  As he watched the same news reports and heard the same court decisions, he felt disgusted over what the world had become and even more fearful about where it was headed.  I affirmed his perspective, but proceeded to explain the difference between us.  Even though we may have felt the same way about the world, he didn’t know why he did?  More than that, he really had no basis to be upset with a world that is functioning according to its nature.  According to his worldview, being upset about the “wrongness” of the universe didn’t make much sense–the universe doesn’t give a %&#@.  Unless that is, there is a designer who does…and everything from monsoons to immorality is evidence that we have rebelled against His perfection.

Our study in Genesis is important and timely.  We need to dig down through all of the dirt piled up on God’s foundation, God’s bedrock, in order to learn both the origin AND the meaning of all things.

Sermon on Genesis 1.1-2 | The God Who Creates

Genesis 1.1-2_Week 1_Road Group Questions

Donkey Corralling is God’s Work

This past week we preached through the not-so-triumphal entry in Matthew 21.1-11.  This is the well-known passage where Jesus rides a donkey into Jerusalem.  God on a Donkey3

I find the first verses of this passage, preparing to enter, the most moving.  The disciples were curious as to why Jesus would ask them to go impress a donkey from a stranger.   What is even more curious is that they obeyed!  The disciples did not know why Jesus asked them to get a donkey.  John’s record of this event says it plainly: His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been written about him and had to be done to Him. John 12.10. 

For all of the things the disciples say and do wrong, they did get a few things right–even if unintentionally.  There is much to learn from their commitment to follow Jesus commands when they didn’t understand:

The disciples trust His commands more than their power to understand of them.

The disciples did not understand why Jesus asked for a Donkey.  Jesus did not quote Zechariah to them, and they didn’t remember it until after He was glorified.  It was strange for a man who had hiked hundreds of miles over three years to ask for a “ride” over the last two miles.   It is easy to obey the commands that “make sense” to us intellectually or “feel” right emotionally.  The disciples trust Jesus command even when it makes zero sense and feels weird.  Why? Because Jesus had said so.

The disciples trust His promise to overcome any hindrance to what he asks us to do.

We can imagine what the disciples were thinking when they heard Jesus’ command.  Jesus wanted them to go and “steal” a donkey (most likely a man’s livelihood) from a stranger in a strange village.  Their minds immediately began to formulate of list of reasons for why this would not work out.   Before they could voice their concerns, Jesus preemptively instructs them to say, “The Lord needs it” if there are any questions.  Basically, they are to go and take the keys of a man’s Ford F-250 work truck and drive off; if anyone questions them…say Jesus needs it.   I find myself impressed that the disciples obeyed and did so immediately.  Despite the myriad of problems with the plan, they trusted that Jesus would remove any barrier to do what He asked.

The disciples trust that their obedience contributes to fulfilling his mission.

Our obedience is not about our righteousness.  Once we come to understand the gospel, we realize that our obedience does little to produce righteousness.  At the same time, it does accomplish something .  First, it glorifies God and reflects His goodness in us.  Second, it is loving.  God’s commands are not only a means to demonstrate our love for Him, but also a guide to know how to love others.  But third, and often ignored, is the fact that our obedience contributes to fulfilling His mission.  This makes the smallest of Jesus commands big; and the most insignificant tasks important.  From their limited perspective, these men were just getting a Donkey.  In the eyes of God, they were confirming his prophetic promises and helping to identify the King.

Everyday is Sunday

Whether you are irreligious or religious—you must respond to Jesus.Easter_a To paraphrase John Stott, you cannot have a moderate response to Jesus. In the Bible no one ever had a so so…”Hmmphh”…response to Jesus. If after today you understand the WHOLE story, who Jesus is and what He did, you better hate Him, hide from Him, or run to Him. And don’t stop short in the story…

Those who are IRRELIGIOUS stop on FRIDAY with JESUS DEAD.

Whether Jesus was who He said He was who knows; but you’d be a fool not to AGREE that the death of Jesus of Nazareth was a horrible unjust tragedy. A 30 year old carpenter name Jesus, who did nothing but serve and love people, is accused falsely, tried illegally, and murdered brutally. If nothing else, this tragedy proves that there is something wrong with the world and you know it. But the irreligious wrongly believe that men can avoid such abuses, ensure justice, or otherwise save themselves from these kinds of mistakes, through better laws, better leaders, better schools, better jobs, better health, better pills, anything but a better heart.

Those who are RELIGIOUS stop on SATURDAY with JESUS BURIED.

Saturday was depressing—there is no hope there. Imagine how the disciples felt with their hero still lying in the tomb. Dwelling on Saturday is a recipe for a joyless Christian faith, also known as religion. The religious are obsessed with the sin of the world, overcome by the sin of others, or overwhelmed by their own. Like the disciples, they sit in despair, angry, joyless, without hope because Jesus only paid. Without Sunday, I can’t be sure the price was accepted by God—so I’ll live in fear of sin, without hope for the world or hope for myself. And I’ll work real hard to fix all the sin in the world and to fix the sin in myself—and I’ll fail.

Those who believe GOSPEL, live the joy of SUNDAY with JESUS ALIVE.

We trust the tomb is empty. We live knowing that, in the darkest of moments, there is always hope because Jesus has conquered sin, Satan, and death. We live knowing that my debt has been canceled, paid in fully, my sin set aside, my record cleared forever. I WAS never good enough but I have been MADE perfect AND I HAVE SOMETHING TO DO. Faith in the Crucifixion means believing that our old life is gone. Faith in the Resurrection means believing there is a new life to live now in Christ, by Christ for Christ. I am not my own. It is not MY body. It is not MY money. It is not MY decision, MY plan, or MY will because this is not MY life.

A word for our men…

Men, I want to thank you for attending our PUSHBACK retreat this Pushback_mensretreat15bpast weekend.  As several men shared, God is doing something powerful at Restoration Road Church.  Our church is not perfect; we are never perfectly balanced; we are never wise enough to not be desperate. Despite our insufficiencies and weaknesses, God has blessed us with an amazing church full of amazing people. With every passing day, God reveals more leaders who are willing to serve and servants who are willing to lead. God has done all of this by His grace.  He has brought us all together onto the same field to be friends, brothers, and co-laborers for His glory and our joy.   Below are a few of my personal reflections from this weekend’s instruction. They are more like reminders of who we are in Christ…

We are not selfish consumers.  We are selfless worshipers. 

Jesus said it is better to give than receive.  Consumers take.  Consumers complain. Consumers are passive and only participate when they benefit personally. Consumers only ask what others can do for them, not what they can do for others.  Consumers are selfish.  We must be worshippers who contribute.  Motivated by Jesus’ service to us, we do not wait for the pastor or a program to meet our needs-we work to meet the needs of others.  Our living, our loving, our serving, and our sacrificing are all our spiritual worship.

We are not abandoned orphans.  We are a kingdom family.

Jesus said we are his brothers. The church, community centered on the gospel, is not an addendum to our Christian life. Jesus did not merely die for individuals; he died for His church.  The Bible says the church is his family and his body. As a family, the love we have for one another is our greatest evangelistic tool.  We need to be known and to know.  We need to be encouraged and encourage.  We need to admonish and be admonished.  We need to love and be loved.  As a body, we are healed with, guarded by, built up in this love together—we need each other to grow, to heal, and to succeed.

We are not sentimental believers.  We are disciples of the way.

Jesus said to follow Him.  Jesus did not merely call us to ascent to certain truths but to live a certain WAY. Faith in the gospel transforms us into new creatures with a different identity, a different mentality, and a different trajectory. We have, therefore, lives foreign to the world because, even though we live in one kingdom, we are governed by another.  We become who we are supposed to be in Christ as we endeavor to live out who Jesus says we are.

We are not worldly citizens.  We are exiled ambassadors.

Jesus said to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach.  We have a job to do, a hill to charge, a mission to complete. This I not our home, we are exiles.  More than that, we are sojourners, aliens, and ambassadors in a foreign land.  As exiles, we must fight becoming too attached to the things of this world, the things that won’t last—positions, power, prosperity, and even particular people.  All of these things will fight to distract us from our primary purpose to work for God until He returns or calls us home.  Until then, even though we are living in one kingdom, we are governed by another.

From who are WE to who am I

The spirit of this retreat tempts us to spend our time examining our church.  Ironically, we are tempted toward a reflective consumerism.   How quickly we forget that the church is not an impersonal organization; it is a gathering of disciples.  In other words, we are the church.  As we unavoidably consider where our church is “weak”, let us obey the apostle Paul’s command to do the hard and humbling work of examining ourselves (2Corinthians 13.5).  How do you to this?

Step 1 | Consider that the Bible calls you to mature spiritually.  Spiritual maturity is unlike physical maturity—it doesn’t happen naturally.  Stated simply, spiritual maturity is the growth of a personal love for Jesus and an increased devotion to Jesus. Jesus is the motivation, the means, and the model for this maturity.

Step 2 | Evaluate your level of satisfaction as a follower of Christ—someone who intends to live like Christ.  Some helpful categories to use (certainly not comprehensive) are a worshipper, family member, disciple, and ambassador.  Where are you as a worshipper (relationship to God), a family member (relationship to church), a disciple (relationship to self), and ambassador (relationship to the world).  If you must make comparisons, compare yourself with Jesus so as to avoid self-delusion.

Step 3 | Make a plan.  Paul tells Timothy to “train yourself for Godliness” (1Timothy 4.7-8). Motivated, empowered, and guided by the person and work of Jesus, we are to be intentional about our maturity.   Training intending to impress God is sinful.   Training because God is already impressed with you is joyful. As I have often said, God will delight but not love you more for your commitment to read, pray, serve or witness more than you have.  But, undoubtedly, you will end up loving Him.



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