The Maturing Process

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Cyprus is an hour flight from Cairo, Egypt. Cyprus was our favorite place as a family for vacations during our years in Egypt from 1975 to 1990. In a one-hour flight we found ourselves in a different country, with a different language, a different culture, no calls of the minarets from the mosques, and the Cypriots drive on the left side of the road. It was amazing what an hour flight could do. The apartment where we stayed was a place for missionaries where they could have their rest and rejuvenation in a complex of apartments where there was a swimming pool and an access with a walking distance to the beach by the Mediterranean Sea.  We all loved that opportunity and we developed cherished memories over the years.

 On one of our vacations in Cyprus while our sons were playing in the swimming pool and my wife was reading a thick book, I listened over few days to 17 cassette tapes on my Walkman to many lectures by Dr. Larry Crabb. (Do you remember what a cassette tape is? Do you remember what a Walkman is?)  As my brain was soaking the valuable information, I had prayed asking the Lord to give me some principles that will help me in my maturing process. I knew that it is a process and it takes a life time. I knew that I will not be fully mature until heaven. I also asked God to give me some principles that I should build into our sons' lives.

One night, I woke up at around 2 AM with three principles on maturity and the maturing process, and out of fear that I might forget them when I wake up in the morning, I got out of bed and went to the living room in that small apartment and wrote down the three principles. Then an hour later I got up again and wrote two more. Over the years I wrote down 12 principles from various sources that summarize some areas in the maturing process. As a family when our children were young, we often talked about these principles and we even had mental picture for the various principles. For instance, in our family we referred to principle # 4 that talks about renewing the mind as "changing the cassette tape" while # 5 which deals with motives, we referred to it as the "Iceberg."

This list of 14 principles could serve as a launching pad for prayer for yourself and for your family. As you pray over these principles, Bible texts will come to mind.

Here are the 14 principles starting with the most recent two:

1.      I am learning to approach God as my Dad, confident in his love and care for me. This comes as a result:

·         Full conscious awareness of God's holiness.

·         Full conscious awareness of my own sin and depravity.

·         Full conscious awareness of the sufficiency of the atoning work of Christ and union with him.

·         Experiencing adoption and coming to know God as Abba or Daddy.

2. I am learning to live my daily life based on Christ’s righteousness rather my own personal performance. When God looks at me, he sees me just as if I have never sinned and just as if I have always obeyed.

3. I am learning to satisfy my essential needs to be loved (security and belongingness) and to have dignity (value + meaning) through the sufficiency of Christ, thus developing passion and freedom in relating to God, oneself and others. (Being grounded)

4. I am learning to renew my mind through the word of God, avoiding foolishness and growing in wisdom.

5. I am learning to become aware of my secret goals and motives behind my outward behavior. I am repenting of sinful motives and goals and I am learning to choose goals and behavior that brings glory to God.

6. I am learning to think positively, to expect great things from God and to attempt great thins for God. I am learning to pursue tackling obstacles, and above all aiming to know God.

7. I am learning to acknowledge my feelings and to choose the right attitudes.

8. In relating to the churched and the un-churched, I am learning to build relationships by constructing bridges and destroying barriers, thus becoming an involved member in the community and the neighborhood.

9. In my commitment to the Great Commission, I am learning to relate to all the un-churched around me through proclamation and/or affirmation and service.

10. I am learning to overcome my fear of being vulnerable (rejection or humiliation), through turning to God by faith, remembering that God has fully loved and accepted me. (Freedom from condemnation and shame).

11. I am learning to become a man of faith (not dependent, nor encouraging dependency), as a result of growing in the virtues of courage, disciplined hard work and claiming the promises of God.

12. I am learning to become aware of the many choices that I have, especially in the realm of attitudes, thus learning to become free from pressure or compulsion.

13. I am learning to see self, others and circumstances from God’s perspective:

·         Learning to always give thanks in spite of the inevitable groaning of living in a disappointing world, until heaven.

·         Learning to have a positive mind set about suffering (fire) as a major tool in bringing about maturity of character (pure gold).

·         Developing the conviction that Christ is on the throne and that he is sovereign.

14. I am learning to be actively involved as a creative and constructive citizen developing a national and international awareness with a keen sense for social justice and a Kingdom of God mindset.

·         Learning to be exposed to a variety of issues in political, economical, social and religious realms.

·         Learning to take a stand regarding these issues based on Biblical foundations without politicizing the

gospel.

·         Developing convictions and values that are deep yet without rigidity.

Dr. Nabeel Jabbour