From the moment I was born again, I entered a life path toward becoming spiritually mature by participating in contrasting activities as living and dying, walking and running, fighting and abiding. Epistles and letters from early church fathers encourage patience, endurance, and devotion to God and one another by the power of the Holy Spirit. From these teachings, I receive specific instructions on becoming more mature in my faith and spirituality.
Living and dying
My old self is no longer my life’s concern. I am in Christ and my old life has passed away. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. John 12:24
Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Romans 6:8
Paul writes to the church at Rome with advice on how to die to self. Metaphorical dying is a decision to let the past not influence my decisions for the future. This is easier said than done. I continue to find things in my past that I need to let go of: my hero worship of athletes, intellectuals and religious authorities, my academic snobbery and performance orientation for approval by those I respect, my desire for social status and approval by others, my need to be forgiven by those I hurt in my past. Release, letting go, ignoring — dying metaphorically is not something I can do in my own strength. I can try, and then I must rely on Jesus to take that aspect of my old self away. It is a continuing process and lasts throughout my lifetime. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:11
Lord Jesus, I am alive in you. I give you my old self, my past, and anything in my attitudes and behavior that is not pleasing to you and I ask that you help me to die to self. Amen.
Walking and running
My christian life is a daily walk using the teachings of Christ as they pertain to me personally. If we (claim to) live by the (Holy) Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit (with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage—our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit). Galatians 5:25
Paul uses the metaphor of a race to signify the need for process, perseverance and becoming. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
Jesus, I desire to hear your voice and learn to do what pleases you. I wish to walk in your ways and to grow into your love. Give me ears to hear your voice and to follow you only. Amen.
Fighting and abiding
Spiritual warfare is an integral part of my spiritual walk. As I mature spiritually, I become more active in intercessory prayer and healing ministry. Through prayer we take back the world from the forces of darkness. This is the fighting in the spirit. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force (as a precious prize). Matthew 11:12
Abiding is a form of resting and relaxing for a while. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. John 15:4
This famous passage in Ephesians expresses the exact nature of my spiritual warfare, beginning with armor and ending with pray in the Spirit on all occasions. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:10-18
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. Isaiah 30:15
Lord Jesus, Fill me with your Holy Spirit and teach me to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Help me to grow and become a prayer warrior in your kingdom. Amen.