Mud, Maturity, and Mindset
April showers bring May flowers, right? Truthfully, I have a hard time seeing past the mud.
Don’t get me wrong; there are definitely things I love about springtime. I especially love that special time when all the trees finally bud and green up. The whole world seems to have an almost magical emerald glow.
But first there is mud. Just…so…much…mud.
As much as I dislike it, the mud is part of the process. We have to go through the messy transition to get to vibrant, verdant beauty that is to come.
Our discipleship is like that. Once the love of Jesus breaks through the spiritual winter of our cold, dead hearts, melting our resistance by His life-giving Holy Spirit, we begin to change. We do not suddenly “spring” from spiritually dead to spiritually mature, however. There is a messy transition we must endure as we slog through the mire of our new and thawing life.
Sometimes it feels like this muddy season of our walk will never end, like maturity and the experience of victorious living will never come. Our true inner person longs to be like Jesus, but it feels as if we never will. Inwardly we delight in God’s will, yet we can’t seem to live up to what we know is right. We feel dirty and weighed down by it all.
The good news is that, just as surely as the seasons change, there will be a day when we reach maturity. The Lord will make sure of it. Paul anticipates with certainty the ultimate completion of that maturing process as he tells the Philippian church, “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6 NIV)
This pattern of discipleship echoes the long-view mindset of our Lord Jesus as he embraced this muddy human life—and even His substitutionary death—for us. As the writer of Hebrews says, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
(Hebrews 12:2 NIV)
Jesus faced the cross and all of its misery and shame on our behalf, knowing full well that on the other side of that suffering would come the joy and victory that would far surpass the worst of the worst. We are likewise called to choose that mindset, no matter how muddy our particular season may get. The disciples must have been absolutely despairing while the body of Christ lay in the tomb, because they could not see beyond their dark moment to the victorious Resurrection God had in store. We endure all things now, as our Lord did, for the coming joy that God has set before us beyond the mud of our earthly moment.
Sometimes it can seem like we’ll never get out of the struggles of an immature faith-walk. We can often feel stuck in the muck of a messy and painful existence in a fallen world. Let’s remember to fix our eyes on Christ and choose His mindset, trusting God to set it all right in the end.