Biblical Principles for Christian Maturity

John H. Stoll, Th.M., Ph.D

Copyright 1996, John H. Stoll

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Chapter 29 - A Biblical Philosophy of Life

A great theologian Dr. B.B. Warfield once said, "Any doctrine in scripture is established, if only one verse teaches it". II Timothy 1:7 states, "For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind". This summarizes God's philosophy to fit mankind's needs. It provides balance in life for all God's children. This Biblical principle is explained and amplified in many places in scripture, through teaching by the Prophets, and illustrations in the lives of Biblical characters.

I. The Analysis: In order to achieve a balanced view or philosophy of life, God has given us both a mind to think with, and emotions with which to feel and love. The problem is that human beings tend to gravitate to one extreme or the other.

To be overtly "minded" tends toward a cold, analytical, empirical thinking, that may adversely affect those who are more emotional in their makeup. The result is to become acutely logical and critical without much compassion emotionally.

To be overtly "emotional" tends toward acting and reacting with one's feelings, and lacking logical thinking, may result in one vacillating emotionally to "highs" and "lows" in their feelings. This tends to hinder one from thinking rationally in a balanced manner, and constantly keeps the logical thinking person off balance in trying to relate to the emotionally minded person.

God desires His children to be balanced in life, so that He has given us both thinking and feeling for this purpose. The Bible speaks of Jesus Christ as being a "meek and lowly" person. Meekness is not a sense of timidity, but refers to balance in life. Christ was perfectly balanced in His life, with a servanthood attitude (Matthew 11:29; Mark 10:45). Since Christ is the Christian's model, we should be desirous of emulating Him.

II. The Teaching: II Timothy 1;7 uses four key words that need to be understood, in order to grasp the meaning and intent of God's purpose in life for the Christian, to show us how we should live.

1. Fear: There are two words used in scripture for fear. the one means to have awe or respect for God as to who He is. This is seen in Philippians 2:12. The other word used here refers to being afraid (see also Hebrews 13:6). The Christian has no cause for fear, as coming from God to us His children. See Hebrews 4:14-16.

2. Power: God has given the Christian power in order to live CONSTRUCTIVELY. This comes from Jesus Christ Himself. Matthew 28:18; John 1:12; Ephesians 3:7. This power provides for progressive maturity in life through the Holy Spirit, and His application of the truth of the Bible to our lives.

3. Love: Since we are all creatures of emotion, we desire to love and be loved. This also comes from God Himself, who is the very essence of love (I John 4:8-10), and He desires that we love SACRIFICALLY. To love in this fashion, is to give of one's self unselfishly for the good of another. This too is exemplified in Christ, who gave Himself for us (John 3:16). Therefore, we ought to love one another (I John 4:11-21).

4. Sound Mind: The logical, analytical, empirical thinking that we do, is also from God, in order that we might live REASONABLY. This is rational thinking, to counter balance an irrational world in which we live, that is contrary to God Himself, and His program for us (I Corinthians 2:9-14; Colossians 2:8-10).

III. The Application: This balance that we have from God, provides to the Christian a sense of self esteem, worth, dignity, and security. It helps to reject fear as well as a feeling of inadequacy and inability to act properly. This balance in life is obtained through appropriating God's grace and help in daily living. It comes through a daily commitment of one's life to the control of the Holy Spirit.

God has promised to supply our needs (Philippians 4:19), and our resources are the riches of God's grace (Ephesians 1:7; Romans 11:33). From these assured "bank accounts" the child of God can draw on an inexhaustible supply to meet every need. Our Heavenly Father is desirous that we trust Him completely and implicitly (I Peter 5:7; Hebrews 4:16), follow the principles of His word reasonably (Psalms 119:11), and love one another fervently (John 13:35; I John 4:18-21).

IV. The Conclusion: This is the formula for a full life (John 10:10) that eliminates fear, and produces a balanced wholeness that brings fulfillment to the child of God.

"Only one life, twill soon be passed;
Only what's done for Christ, will last".

Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Brightly doth His Spirit shine,
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads, I cannot fall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be dreary;
If in danger, on Him call,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate'er befall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

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