Normative Christian Experience Map 3

Normative Christian Experience Map 3

While exercising consecrating faith, the Holy Spirit transitions you from adolescent-like faith to adult-like faith. A radical heart transformation occurs.  

 Egoism is displaced. Egoism no longer has the power to hijack your best intentions. Now alone in the command and control center of your life is the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 2:20 (MSG)
          My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The problem of egoism is rectified. No longer do you demand that you “get what you want, when you want the way you want regardless of consequences.” Now you submit your will to God’s will. When temptations come the internal saboteur of egoism can no longer take control. Temptation finds no inner ally. You are free to choose your own behaviors. You now are the responsible party for your choices.

Just as achieving a black belt in a martial art is not an arrival, but signifies that you have met all the prerequisites to prepare you to practice the martial art. So it is with exercising an adult-like faith. You have not arrived in some sort of sinless perfection, but rather are empowered to embark into life as a fully devoted follower of Jesus, to win the prize God has called you heavenward (Philippians 3:14). The adult-like faith experience prepares you for spiritual adult life with all the challenges and changes that come with it.

There is still the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit to transform you into the likeness of Christ. Habits, attachments, and addictions often referred to as strongholds from the old way of living have to be torn down and replaced with behaviors conducive to keeping in step with the Spirit. You must learn to allow love to motivate all your behaviors, ridding yourself of anything that would deter, damage or destroy righteous relationships.

Each stage of spiritual development had a unique trap that could snare you and arrest your growth. Prevenient Grace had the trap of living on the porch of religion. Adolescent like faith had the trap of battling with egoism far too long. There is a subtle trap also with Adult-like faith. That trap is legalism. Legalism occurs when we devise specific standards of behavior to prove to everyone that we have an adult-like faith. There are ways spiritually mature Christians conduct themselves,
but to codify those behaviors and wear them like a badge only proves that you have not experienced what you claim you have experienced. The adult-like faith lifestyle is an inside job that manifests in outward behaviors. Legalism is an outside job that doesn’t change the inside. Legalism proclaims "I" have arrived and demands everyone to conform to my experience.

John Wesley went to great lengths to describe the characteristics of a person experiencing adult-like faith. Highly recommended is volume 1 and 3 of Wesley’s teachings converted into modern English by Dr. Kenneth Cain Kinghorn John Wesley on Christian Practice and John Wesley on Christian Beliefs. Dr. Kinghorn’s work makes for a much easier read than 18th century English.  Sermons with a special emphasis on this stage of spiritual formation are “The Circumcision of the Heart” (Sermon 17), “On Christian Perfection” (Sermon 40). You may also be interested in Wesley’s book “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection” which is available online for free.

Referring to the map, there is a break in both the justifying grace and sanctifying grace line, for at physical death or the second coming of Jesus we God gives us the gift of glorifying grace. 
1 John 3:2 (NIV)
Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

The stick figure is now the same as in the Creation.


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