Our house is a lot of fun these days. Audrey is ten, Reid is seven, and little Norah is four. It’s busy and can be a bit chaotic, but our home, by God’s grace, is mostly filled with laughter (and occasionally the tears that follow discipline). Like most parents with children my kids’ age, I am almost daily freaked out by how big they are getting. Gone are the days of changing diapers and burping babies after they eat. Compared to what they once were, all three of my kids look like Olympic athletes. There is no comparison between newborn Audrey and ten-year-old Audrey. She’s almost a completely different person. She runs, rides her bike, roughhouses with her brother, and loves to have her girlfriends come over to play. I sometimes feel sad about how big she’s grown, but the alternative would be something much more serious and scary.
What if she didn’t grow up at all?
What if, instead of maturing and growing, she just stopped or reverted? What if as she turned two she still couldn’t walk or talk? What if by age eight she couldn’t read or dress herself? What if at ten she still needed me to carry her around and wipe the milk off her mouth?
Now don’t get me wrong—if those things were necessary, I would gladly serve her and God in this way. But isn’t this immeasurably more heartbreaking a thought than me not being able to hold her like an infant or enjoy her saying “hostible” instead of “hospital”? God created her to physically, emotionally, and mentally mature, and by His grace she has done just that! Our other two children are doing the same: growing. There are some parallels here to what we read about ourselves in Scripture. The Bible calls us to pursue maturity in Christ.
Consider just a few verses:
Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God. (Heb. 6:1)
Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature. (1 Cor. 14:20)
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. (Col. 1:28)
But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Heb. 5:14)
I could go on, but I think the picture is clear. God wants us to grow from being infants in Christ to being mature in Christ. That’s what this book is about. How are we to mature, and how can we spot any “developmental delays”? My prayer is that as you read this book, prayerfully applying its challenges to your heart, God would use Paul’s letter to the Philippians to show you what maturity looks like and to call you to pursue it all the more with all your might under His grace.
Matt Chandler and Jared C. Wilson, To Live Is Christ, To Die Is Gain (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2013), 9–11.
We have just released a new Bible Study based on the book: To Live Is Christ (A Study of Philippians), by Matt Chandler
These lessons are available on Amazon, as we as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #1
Philippians 1.1 – 5
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #2
The Worthy Life
Philippians 1.6 – 30
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #3
The One God Exalts
Philippians 2.1 – 18
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #4
What the Humble Seek
Philippians 2.19 – 30
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #5
The Passionate Pursuit
Philippians 3.1 – 11
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #6
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #7
Philippians 3.13 – 16
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #8
Centering the Gospel
Philippians 3.17 – 21
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #9
Philippians 3.1; 4.4
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #10
Philippians 4.6 – 7
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #11
Christ Is All / I Can Do All Things
To Live Is Christ, Lesson #12
Each lesson consists of 20 or so ready-to-use questions that get groups talking. Answers are provided in the form of quotes from respected authors such as John Piper, Max Lucado and Beth Moore.
These lessons will save you time as well as provide deep insights from some of the great writers and thinkers from today and generations past. I also include quotes from the same commentaries that your pastor uses in sermon preparation.
Ultimately, the goal is to create conversations that change lives.