“So we continue to preach Christ to each person, using all wisdom to warn and to teach everyone, in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature person in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28 NCV)
I believe there is a logical order to building knowledge, perspective, conviction, skills, and character. First, you must start with a foundation of knowledge. Since spiritual growth is based on God’s Word, the first level of learning is to gain a working knowledge of the Bible. Perspective and convictions must be Bible-based.
On top of knowledge of the Word, you add perspective. The better you get to know God’s Word, the more you’ll begin to see life from God’s viewpoint. Conviction naturally grows out of perspective. Once you begin to see things from God’s perspective, you begin developing biblical convictions. An understanding of God’s purpose and plan changes your motivations.
Conviction then gives you the motivation to maintain spiritual habits. Eventually, through repetition, those habits become skills. You don’t have to consciously focus when you do them anymore. When something becomes easy for you to do, that is called a skill.
When you put knowledge of the Word, perspective, conviction, and the corresponding skills together, the resulting product is character! First you know it; then you understand it; then you believe it with your whole heart; then you do it. The result is character.
Here are five questions you need to ask about your Christian education program:
Are people learning the content and meaning of the Bible?
Are people seeing themselves, life, and other people more clearly from God’s perspective?
Are people’s values becoming more aligned with God’s values?
Are people becoming more skilled in serving God?
Are people becoming more like Christ?
As Paul said in Colossians 1:28, “So we continue to preach Christ to each person, using all wisdom to warn and to teach everyone, in order to bring each one into God's presence as a mature person in Christ” (NCV).
At Saddleback, our vision for maturity is very clear: to bring glory to God by presenting Jesus Christ with as many Christ-like disciples as we possibly can before he returns!
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.