A Word From The Pioneer Missionary
FULL GOSPEL MISSION CAMEROON at the age of 50 years: OLD AGE OR MATURITY?
"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended…"
"Indeed I count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, THAT I MAY GAIN CHRIST and be found in Him… THAT I MAY KNOW HIM…" Phil.3:12-13, 8-10.
As we have celebrated our Mission Jubilee, we may well ask ourselves the above scrutinizing question: Have we at this age reached the spiritual maturity that should go along with so many years of experience in the gospel and in the knowledge of God? We are aware that in life in general, old age is not always equivalent to maturity; at times it also amounts to senility - a loss of physical and mental ability due to high age.
And if we speak of maturity, what do we mean by spiritual maturity? Is expansion of the work, a large increase in our number of churches and members; a high attendance of people in our ser-vices; a rather substantial income of monthly offerings and tithes; a vast increase of Bible School attendants and - resulting from there - many pastors and church leaders behind our pulpits; and what else we might name relating to the establishing of schools, hospitals etc., an obvious sign of spiritual maturity?
Growth and activity may be signs of life, and as such good and desirable. But they are not necessarily signs of maturity. We know that these two criteria apply especially to the age of childhood, young age and puberty - a period of life which is also known for rough, childish and often wrong behaviour.
So, how should we define spiritual maturity? The above verses from the mouth of the great Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul, who, of course, was also very busy and hard working for the Lord during all his life, give us the answer. His ultimate ambition and innermost desire of his heart was TO KNOW AND TO COMPLETELY GAIN CHRIST. For this high goal he counted all other things as sheer loss. And he was willing to undergo any sacrifice to obtain that desired result.
To what degree does our Full Gospel Mission comply with this high
spiritual demand? Being aware that in any Christian assembly there will
be groups of all spiritual ages and levels - Apostle John in his epistle
(1 Jn.2:12-14) speaks of 'little
children', 'young men' and 'fathers' - it still needs to be spelled out that true Christianity is judged by definite factors, such as sincerity, uprightness, righteousness (or hatred of evil) and above all: a deep love for God and our neighbours. It is this deep love for Jesus, in which Paul, above all, wanted to specialize.
Is this love for God and for our Lord Jesus also our own specialty?
Let us listen again to the remarks that Paul makes to another church: "I
am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one
husband, that I may present
you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted - you may well put up with it!" 2 Cor.11:2-4.
We are always in danger of replacing the best with something
inferior: with another Jesus (not the Biblical one - our Saviour, our
Lord, our Bridegroom but the prosperity provider, the enhancer of our
personal position, the 'tolerator' of
loose behaviour); with another Spirit (not the HOLY Spirit - the Spirit of God and Jesus - but another spirit like the evil one who came upon King Saul when he transgressed against God, even a spirit of witchcraft); another gospel (not the
original one "delivered once for all to the saints", but one that accommodates to our personal worldly ambitions).
Brethren, let us not put up with "another Jesus", nor "another spirit", nor "a different gospel". The original ones are the very best we can get. Could we obtain a greater privilege, a better inheritance, than being very close to Jesus in heaven throughout all eternity? Let us give up our worldly, carnal pursuits and invest our life, our energy, our time, our possessions in what has the highest value.
Let us gain Christ, and we shall be abundantly satisfied!