Basics of Spiritual Maturity 102
You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2)
Among mature believers, prayer most often is the one area they tend to struggle with most. Having a strong consistent prayer life often eludes them. If this is true for mature Christians, then having any semblance of a prayer life is usually nonexistent in young or spiritually immature believers. Yet often this is a prime reason many struggle with life-long nagging sins. The battle with sin, the battle to mortify our sin nature and become more like Christ in our behavior, attitude, and outlook, is a spiritual battle. It is a battle of the heart, mind, and soul. And the only one who has the power to truly fix that is God, and yet so often we fail to go to God consistently and ask for help. James says, “You do not have, because you do not ask” (4:2). It’s a simple concept. We struggle with certain sins because we do not come to God in prayer and ask him to help us with those sins. And among those believers who do pray regularly, often they are good at praying for the needs of others but rarely pray specifically for themselves. Rarely do we pray, “Lord, help me to be more humble. Help me to possess and display humility. Help me to be more patient, more loving, more kind. Lord God, help me to be like Christ in every way.” Thus, James tells us that our problem is that we do not ask and even when we do ask, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” In other words, even when we do ask God for help, our prayers are not answered because we ask with sinful motives. We want to be more like Christ so that others will think better of us, so that we’ll be asked to be an elder or deacon within the church, so my husband will do what I want him to do. God will not answer those kinds of prayers. There is only one legitimate reason to ask God to help us mortify our sin and become more like Christ—for the glory of Christ. That Christ might be honored and glorified on our lives. To reach spiritual maturity we need to spend quality time in God’s word every day, and we need to spend deep time in prayer every day, pleading with God to help us mortify our sin and make us more like Christ.
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