To be used as fuel, CRUDE OIL must be refined through four stages—Separation; Distillation; Testing; and Distribution. Similarly, Christians must approach their faith walk in the same way. That’s why every December I make studying these similarities part of my annual process of building a CHANGE RAMP to the new year. It starts with reviewing the four refining stages of CRUDE OIL:
SEPARATE Heavy and light molecules are separated to produce gasoline.
DISTILL This treatment stage removes impurities from the gasoline.
TEST The gasoline is tested to make sure it meets all requirements.
DISTRIBUTE The gasoline is made available to power engines.
Here’s the same process used to fuel our spiritual growth:
SEPARATE: What Spiritual Maturity IS and what it IS NOT.
Spiritual maturity is living with the fullness of Christ. Spiritual maturity is a life-long process of discovery. Spiritual Maturity has no ending, just inflection points of enlightenment, learning, and growth. ANY other definitions must be separated out of our mind.
DISTILL: Remove our “SIN IMPURITIES” with God’s refining fire.
God is a refiner because we need to be refined. What we consider our “little” impurities are really weeds of self-will that can choke out our garden’s fruit. GOD’S REFINING FIRE extracts impurities to leave an intact, purified treasure of the highest value…US.
TEST: Subject our faith walk to GOD’S WORD—the TRUTH.
We need to test our faith walk against God’s standards by identifying TRUTH from God’s Word. Praying about that TRUTH. Discerning what God says about that TRUTH. And then we need to step out in that TRUTH and TEST it by paying attention to what happens.
DISTRIBUTE: Put our faith “in play” under GOD’S POWER.
There is danger in TRYING HARD to “distribute” our spiritual maturity as a witness for Christ by: 1) CHASING TOO MUCH—taking a transactional “to-do-list” mindset of spiritual activities; and 2) THINKING TOO MUCH—getting inside our head with doubts about our spiritual maturity.
If YOU are willing to change your FAITH OIL this month, consider the four steps above and see what God says.
I ask God to remind me every day that spiritual maturity is being like Christ! That it is not automatic. And that it is a life-long process that takes a deep commitment to being disciplined.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Are you taking any shortcuts to spiritual growth and maturity? What step could you take to move toward building a habit of spending time with God and in his Word?
“Continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our savior, Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18