What Are the Signs of an Emotionally Mature Christian?

What Are the Signs of an Emotionally Mature Christian?

Are you a mature Christian? Why are so many Christians judgmental, unaware and defensive? Part of the answer lies in a failure to biblically integrate emotional health and spiritual maturity.

A vast industry exists around emotional intelligence that ignores spirituality. A vast amount of information also exists that defines a “mature” Christian. Rarely are the two integrated.

The following are 11 signs of an emotionally mature Christian:

  1. You anchor your life in the love of Jesus. You don’t divide your life into “secular” and “sacred” compartments. Instead, you rather enjoy communion with Him in all areas of your life—work, recreation, church and parenting. Toward that end, you regularly practice spiritual disciplines (e.g., meditation on Scripture, silence, solitude, community, confession, worship) to position yourself to practice His presence all throughout the day.

The rest are at: https://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/298849-what-are-the-signs-of-an-emotionally-mature-christian-pete-scazzero.html

Six Marks of a Church Culture that Deeply Changes Lives: Part 1

One of the greatest insights I’ve gained from working with thousands of churches around the world is that creating a healthy church culture is indispensable to multiplying deeply transformed disciples and leaders. To help you begin thinking about what this might look like in your own church, I’ve identified six characteristics or marks of what we call today, an emotionally healthy church culture:

  1. Slowed-Down Spirituality
  2. Integrity in Leadership
  3. Beneath-the-Surface Discipleship
  4. Healthy Community
  5. Passionate Marriage and Singleness
  6. Every Person in Full-Time Ministry

In this podcast, I explore the first and most important characteristic of this culture – a slowed down spirituality. This is a church culture where people refuse to allow a hurried world to set the pace for their lives. Instead they choose to live by rhythms that are slower and more deliberate. They set aside time each day to immerse themselves in Scripture, silence, and solitude, which are foundational practices for their communion with Jesus. Their doing for God flows out of being with God. They remain profoundly aware that, apart from abiding in Jesus, it is impossible to bear lasting fruit – as individuals and as a community.

Let me invite you to download our free e-book upon which this podcast is based, Six Marks of a Church Culture that Deeply Changes Lives. Each characteristic is summarized on those pages. After the description of each characteristic, you will also find a quick assessment tool and then questions for personal reflection and team discussion.

Enjoy the podcast!

 

  LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

Lessons From the Radical Leadership of Jesus

Lessons From the Radical Leadership of Jesus

Leading people in the name of Jesus is complex, demanding great wisdom and discernment. I have dedicated my adult life to the study of leadership. I have written books on leadership, read innumerable books on the topic, and attended more than my share of leadership conferences.

But for the last 18 months, I have been meditating on the leadership of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel. It has shaken me. The Holy Spirit has challenged me to honestly look at the Western church model of leadership that lives in me more than I care to admit (i.e., bigger, better, more, faster), and invited me to drink more deeply of Jesus’ life and leadership.

I have summarized my learnings into five lessons for your reflection and prayer:

  1. Jesus rejected the powerful ministries presented by Satan—the sensational, the spectacular and the speedy. Jesus chose the low road of suffering and the cross. He did not storm Israel by messianic force. He refused to flaunt his power or knowledge to “show people” who is the Lord. Instead he knocked quietly at Israel’s door—little by little. In fact, Jesus deplored religion that did show business, preferring to do his work quietly, inconspicuously and in a measured fashion—unlike the false Messiahs of his day. He often withdrew or commanded people to silence, seeking to be hidden and not looking to be well-known. Lord, grant me grace to reject the temptations of going fast and big.
  2. Jesus purposefully chose a path of humility. Jesus chose to be born in a manger and to live in obscurity in Nazareth (i.e., no-wheresville). His first miracle was a miracle of humility as he joined us in the human race in the deep waters of repentance at the hand of John the Baptist. In fact, the center of his ministry took place in the backwoods of Galilee (“the sticks”) and not strategically in Jerusalem. Lord, help me choose humility today.

More: https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/312686-lessons-from-the-radical-leadership-of-jesus.html

The church, for the believer, is now our “first family.”

~ The Emotionally Healthy Church, Scazzero

The church, for the believer, is now our “first family.” In fact, family is the most significant metaphor used in Scripture to describe the church. Anderson and Guernsey say it best:

The church is the new family of God …Through spiritual rebirth, we each become brother and sister of Jesus Christ through adoption into the family of God. consequently we are brother and sister to each other. Husbands and wives are first of all brothers and sister in Jesus Christ before they are husband and wife. Sons and daughters are also brother and sister to their father and mother before they are sons and daughters. p.1o1

The critical factor that most significantly determines my new identity as a Christian is not the blood of your biological family but the blood of Jesus. We are given a new name (Christian), a new inheritance (freedom, glory, hope, resources a hundredfold), and a new power (the Holy Spirit)to live in this new life. We become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1.4), able to enjoy the absolute security and stability, freedom, intimacy, and confidence in prayer (Luke 11.5-13) of children in God’s family. There exists a new dynamic in the life inside me, the life of Jesus.

Without hesitation, Jesus called men and women to himself over their biological families, saying that “anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worth of me” (Matt. 10.37).

The New Testament world is unable to imagine living out healthy family life apart from the context of a healthy church life. The local church becomes the place where I am, in a very real sense, reparented. p. 102

Discipleship, then, must include honest reflection on the positive and negative impact of our family origin as well as other major influences in our lives. This is hard work. Following Jesus is a process that takes time. But the extent to which we can go back and understand how it has shaped us will determine, to a large degree, our level of awareness and our ability to break destructive patterns.

God’s invitation is to welcome him into those areas so we might break free to live life as joyfully and freely as he intends. p.102-3

What Are the Signs of an Emotionally Mature Christian?

Why do so many Christians make lousy human beings? Why are so many of us judgmental, unaware and defensive? Part of the answer lies in a failure to biblically integrate emotional health and spiritual maturity.

A vast industry exists around emotional intelligence that ignores spirituality. A vast amount of information also exists that defines a “mature” Christian. Rarely are the two integrated.

The following are 11 signs of an emotionally mature Christian:

  1. You anchor your life in the love of Jesus. You don’t divide your life into “secular” and “sacred” compartments. Instead, you rather enjoy communion with Him in all areas of your life—work, recreation, church and parenting. Toward that end, you regularly practice spiritual disciplines (e.g., meditation on Scripture, silence, solitude, community, confession, worship) to position yourself to practice His presence all throughout the day.

Find the rest at: http://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/298849-what-are-the-signs-of-an-emotionally-mature-christian-pete-scazzero.html

The church, for the believer, is now our “first family.”

~ The Emotionally Healthy Church, Scazzero

The church, for the believer, is now our “first family.” In fact, family is the most significant metaphor used in Scripture to describe the church. Anderson and Guernsey say it best:

The church is the new family of God …Through spiritual rebirth, we each become brother and sister of Jesus Christ through adoption into the family of God. consequently we are brother and sister to each other. Husbands and wives are first of all brothers and sister in Jesus Christ before they are husband and wife. Sons and daughters are also brother and sister to their father and mother before they are sons and daughters. p.1o1

The critical factor that most significantly determines my new identity as a Christian is not the blood of your biological family but the blood of Jesus. We are given a new name (Christian), a new inheritance (freedom, glory, hope, resources a hundredfold), and a new power (the Holy Spirit)to live in this new life. We become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1.4), able to enjoy the absolute security and stability, freedom, intimacy, and confidence in prayer (Luke 11.5-13) of children in God’s family. There exists a new dynamic in the life inside me, the life of Jesus.

Without hesitation, Jesus called men and women to himself over their biological families, saying that “anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worth of me” (Matt. 10.37).

The New Testament world is unable to imagine living out healthy family life apart from the context of a healthy church life. The local church becomes the place where I am, in a very real sense, reparented. p. 102

Discipleship, then, must include honest reflection on the positive and negative impact of our family origin as well as other major influences in our lives. This is hard work. Following Jesus is a process that takes time. But the extent to which we can go back and understand how it has shaped us will determine, to a large degree, our level of awareness and our ability to break destructive patterns.

God’s invitation is to welcome him into those areas so we might break free to live life as joyfully and freely as he intends. p.102-3

Your new family

from The Emotionally Healthy Church, by Scazzero, p. 101

The church, for the believer, is now our “first family.”‘ In fact, family is the most significant metaphor used in Scripture to describe the ‘church. Anderson and Guernsey say it best:

The church is the new family of God … Through spiritual rebirth, we each become brother or sister of Jesus Christ through adoption into the family of God. Consequently we are brother and sister to each other. Husbands and wives are first of all brother and sister in Jesus Christ before they are husband and wife. Sons and daughters are also brother and sister to their father and mother before they are sons and daughters.’ ~ On Being Family: A Social theology of the Family, InterVarsity, 1993

We live in a blizzard

We live in a blizzard. And few of us have a rope. In his book A Hidden Wholeness Parker Palmer relates a story about farmers in the Midwest who would prepare for blizzards by tying a rope from the back door of their house out to the barn as a guide to ensure they could return safely home. These blizzards came quickly and fiercely and were highly dangerous. When their full force was blowing, a farmer could not see the end of his or her hand. Many froze to death in those blizzards, disoriented by their inability to see. They wandered in circles, lost sometimes in their own backyards. If they lost their grip on the rope, it became impossible for them to find their way home. Some froze within feet of their own front door, never realizing how close they were to safety.

To this day, in parts of Canada and the Great Plains, meteorologists counsel people that, to avoid getting lost in the blinding snow when they venture outside, they tie one end of a long rope to their house and grasp the other end firmly.1

~ Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ  Kindle Edition.

Walls and Trials

Here is another set of selections from a book I am reading. This is by Peter Scazzero. Get a sense of what he is talking about with these widely scattered excerpts. One needs to read the whole thing; maybe this will whet you interest.

For most of us the Wall appears through a crisis that turns our world upside down. It comes, perhaps, through a divorce, a job loss, the death of a close friend or family member, a cancer diagnosis, a disillusioning church experience, a betrayal, a shattered dream, a way ward child, a car accident, an inability to get pregnant, a deep desire to marry that remains unfulfilled, a dryness or loss of joy in our relationship with God. We question ourselves, God, the church. We discover for the first time that our faith does not appear to “work.”We have more questions than answers as the very foundation of our faith feels like it is on the line. We don’t know where God is, what he is doing, where he is going, how he is getting us there, or when this will be over.

When we make it through the Wall, we no longer have a need to be well known or successful, but to do God’s will. We have now tasted what it means to live in union with the love of God through Christ in the Holy Spirit. We have learned, like the apostle Paul, “the secret of being content in any and every situation” (Philippians 4:12).

What is important here is to note that the trials we encounter each day are not the Wall or “the dark night of the soul.” Trials are the traffic jams, annoying bosses, delayed airplane departures, car breakdowns, fevers, and barking dogs in the middle of the night.

Walls are David fleeing a jealous king for thirteen years in the desert. Walls are Abraham waiting twenty-five years for the birth of his first child, Isaac. Walls are Job losing his ten children, health, and possessions in a day!

Ultimately, God is the One who moves us through the Wall. And with that comes mystery. How and when God takes us through is up to him. We make choices to trust God, to wait on God, to obey God, to stick with God, to remain faithful when everything in us wants to quit and run. But it is his slow, deep work of transformation in us, not ours.

Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ. Kindle Edition.

Emotional and spiritual health

Some more selections from a book that I am finding challenging and encouraging.

The sinister voices of the surrounding world and our pasts are powerful. They repeat the deeply held negative beliefs we may have learned in our families and cultures growing up10:

  • I am a mistake.
  • I am a burden.
  • I am stupid.
  • I am worthless.
  • I am not allowed to make mistakes.
  • I must be approved of by certain people to feel okay.
  • I don’t have the right to experience joy and pleasure.
  • I don’t have the right to assert myself and say what I think and feel.
  • I don’t have a right to feel.
  • I am valued based on my intelligence, wealth, and what I do, not for who I am.

It is astounding how so many deeply committed followers of Jesus would affirm that the preceding statements articulate how they truly feel about themselves. Like the prodigal son, they are content to relate to God as hired servants rather than enjoy the full privileges of sons and daughters of our heavenly Father (see Luke 15:11–21).

Emotional health uniquely positions us to gain a small glimpse into “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to [experientially] know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18–19).That small glimpse alone is enough to ground us in our true identity—to know we are deeply loved by God. Because of this,we can have new, more biblical self-understanding:

  • I hold myself in high regard despite my imperfections and limits.
  • I am worthy to assert my God-given power in the world.
  • I am entitled to exist.
  • It is good that I exist.
  • I have my own identity from God that is distinct and unique.
  • I am worthy of being valued and paid attention to.
  • I am entitled to joy and pleasure.
  • I am entitled to make mistakes and not be perfect.

Emotional health powerfully anchors me in the love of God by affirming that I am worthy of feeling, worthy of being alive, and lovable even when I am brutally honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly deep beneath the surface of my iceberg.

I meet many people afraid to feel; they are worried it will unleash a torrent of negative thoughts from within themselves. They are fearful that rage, hate, bitterness, sadness, or self-doubt will erupt. Perhaps that’s true. But an amazing by-product of the emotional-health journey is a fresh discovery of the mercy of God in the gospel. Not only does God not reject or punish us for being honest and transparent about our whole selves, but he actually accepts and loves us where we are. We are anchored in God’s love as he gives us permission to express ourselves — the bad along with the good — and take care of ourselves in an appropriate way.

~ Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality: Unleash a Revolution in Your Life In Christ