Someone blessed me greatly this past week as they shared a conversation they had had with a member of their family. In the course of a discussion on the Word of God, the astonished family member felt challenged and remarked to them ‘I prayed for you ( to come to the Lord), and now you are ahead of me in the (study and knowledge of) the Word’. When they recounted this to me, I was delighted for them. Why? Because they had managed to forge their own way in the faith rather than being limited by the spiritual level and experience of those who had shown them the way to Christ and preceded them in the faith.
Why is that such a big deal? Because the reverse is often the case. Family members and friends can be a huge blessing in bringing the new believer to Christ, but, the downside is that very often the new believer is expected to stay within the confines of their own expression of their faith and not go beyond where they are. Even worse is the distinct possibility that the very ones who help a person take their first steps in faith may also communicate their weaknesses and prejudices to a new believer. When people have areas in their lives that they have not dealt with, they can influence the young Christian to think like them and act like them, when they themselves should be allowing God to change them; and thus hinder their spiritual development.
Maturity comes when a person is able to forge His own path and refuse in some areas to walk in the footsteps of family members who have not the passion and zeal for God that they now have, or are not in the will of God in a particular area of their lives. Every time you choose to go further in God you will always be leaving some old company behind. There will always be someone who you were behind or on the same level with who will now find you taking a different path. Some will react negatively and try to talk you out of it because it challenges and calls them into question, others will react positively and allow themselves to be inspired by one who was previously a child but who is now leading the way.
Whatever their reaction may be, don’t stop. Keep going for gold, going for God. You alone will answer for your life before God and for what you have done with the teaching, the insight, the direction that He gave YOU. How did you respond to His call and prodding in your life? If you push on you may be God’s way of blessing the very people who once blessed you. This person went on to tell me that, inspired by their example, their family member has decided to throw himself into the study of the Word and also proposed to his church that they adopt the same Bible in one year plan that we used last year in our church and which contributed to this person’s increased passion for God’s word. They had the right heart.
And so not only did this individual’s obedience to study the Word of God and follow the Bible Study Plan yield fruits in their life that blessed them, it has also spilled over into their family and blessed a family member. What’s more, it has now spilled over into the family member’s church and will be the source of great blessing for an entire congregation and through them countless lives. All because one person chose obedience, submission, study, application, maturity over rebellion and laziness, over compromise. Now rather than this person being limited by their relative’s limitations, they have stirred them up to a higher level in God. Your obedience may be the open door towards someone else’s transformation, and who knows to blessing those who once blessed you.