God Uses People to Care for People
God’s Definition of Caring – Part III
Scripture Reading: Philippians 2:1-11
Key Verse: 1 Peter 5:2a NLT
Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you…
When we are serious about caring for God’s people, we must realize it includes all levels of Christ-followers. In the next few devotionals, we study the different levels of Christ-followers and how to care for them.
Today I want to look at how we are to care for the immature Christ-follower. Before I go any deeper, I want to remind you that being immature does not necessarily equal “new believer”.
Over the forty plus years of my pastoring, I have dealt with many people who were not new believers but were still very immature Christ-followers. Being mature in Christ means more than just the number years a person has been in the church or what positions in the church that person may have held. Being mature in Christ means knowledge of the teachings of Jesus and learning to be obedient to those teachings. If a person accepts Jesus into their hearts but does not study God’s Word and apply it to their life, they remain immature until they do!
How should a pastor or a mature Christ-following layperson deal with an immature Christ-follower?
The first thing is to make sure we stay loving as we deal with them. That is not always easy if their immaturity leads to them being inattentive to any help from a pastor or friends. Often immaturity comes out as pride, believing they do not need any help or refusing to recognize their need.
Dealing with a person like that in the church is very frustrating and staying “mature” while dealing with them takes a lot of work. Pastors and lay people must daily take time to center themselves in Christ and remember His patience with us when we were immature. Our daily prayer should ask God to give us a part of His love for that person.
The second thing in helping an immature Christian is to develop a relationship with them so we can speak into their lives. All of us learn best from another person when we are in a positive relationship with them. None of us are very open to people who do not bother to get to know us but want to lecture us. Yes, developing a meaningful relationship takes time and effort, but it really is the only way that a person will be open to advice!
Remember we are talking this month about people caring for people, the emphasis on “caring”. We will never help someone until we really do care for them. Authentic caring for immature people takes God’s love and grace working in us. The mature Christ-follower knows that they cannot fake it; we must daily ask for and trust God’s love to flow through us while we deal with immature Christians.
Father, I seek Your love and patience to flow through me to others. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.