1. Think about your earlier years as a Christian. Are you where you expected to be spiritually at your age now? Have matured greatly over the years. I contrast the two times I have been widows, and know that this second time I am more mature. What were your expectations in anticipation of becoming a mature Christian? To have peace and excitement in my faith.
In what ways have these expectations changed as you have matured? Since I am now a senior citizen, I see that I am expecting to live one day at a time and to influence one person at a time.
2. Have you ever considered this sermon-letter to the Hebrews as spiritual milk? Aw--Hebrews 5:12. Not really. I thought of I Peter 2:2, 3 as dealing with spiritual milk.
What does this teach us about conditioning the spiritually immature in theological fitness? That perseverance and obedience are needed even by Christ: though He was a son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered (Hebrews 5:8).
3. Repetition is an important factor in a plateau buster. If you are honest with yourself, do you ever feel as if you are above the need for repetition of the ordinary spiritual exercises such as going to church, prayer, and studying God's Word? No. My prayer life can improve, but worshipping God and studying His Word is a daily habit.
4. What personal experiences have you faced in your life that, through hindsight, you recognize served as plateau busters or wake-up calls to your theological fitness? This past week I had a gentleman challenge one of my Bible studies on a blog and on a Facebook message. He challenged me with this LINK. He wanted to know why a confessional Christian would attend a David Jeremiah study on spiritual warfare. I got thinking about what he said, and knew I was in trouble. I had my Florida pastor get in on the message on Facebook and even included Aimee herself. Skillfully my Florida pastor asked discerning questions. I thought about the class on David Jeremiah and how two leaders were quoting from "Jesus Calling" and what Tim Challies wrote about it HERE. I also heard the leader reference The Shack. I decided that I would not continue with this group.
I also thought about the apartment clubhouse Bible study on Revelation that I have been attending. I have done so much study on this topic as evidenced over the years. I would not be an asset to that group. I think I will join it when they finish Revelation.
The only Bible study I will continue is the Ladies Bible Study at the EPC church I am attending.
5. If we are to persevere by holding fast the confession of our hope, how is studying God's Word like training? You can be a PC Christian--it is your world view--but it you are not daily in God's word, you will not grow. Samuel said, To obey is better than sacrifice (I Samuel 15:22).
6. How does increased theological fitness training affect the way we treat fellow Christians and unbelievers? Sometimes that increased theological knowledge can make us judgmental. My critic on the blog above, whom I did not know scolded me with these words: "Why would you listen or do a study led by David Jeremiah? His doctrine is 1) Arminian, 2) Hyper Dispensational and 3) anti- Covenantal." As a person new in town, I was delighted to be included in this group. I did like how my Florida pastor gently helped me with this critic, saying that David Jeremiah has both good and bad theology.
We need discernment when we exhort one another.
Doesn't it seem that we would need less spiritual discipline as we mature? Yes and no. Habits can change for the better, but I keep seeing my need for discipline in all areas of my life.
Do you see any analogies between our physical and spiritual weaknesses as we age? I do not think so entirely. I am, at age 71, seeing some physical weaknesses. I wear hearing aids. But physical conditioning and spiritual conditioning do not correlate entirely according to 1 Timothy 4:7-8 which says exercise yourself toward godliness. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. We are called to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Ephesians 6:10).
8. Is your evaluation of yourself sometimes distorted by your past sin? Some of my past struggles and sin I wrote about in Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill.
How does proper perspective serve as one of the best plateau busters of all?
It has been great relief to realize that God gets the glory and that one day I will lay my crown at His feet. I can confess and be forgiven.
I like what J. C. Ryle said,
It costs something to be a true Christian. It will cost us our sins, our self-righteousness, our ease and our worldliness.
It will be worth it all.