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“Therefore consider carefully how you listen.  Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him.”

Brothers, stop thinking like children.  In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.

Too often, we are stuck in thinking as a child because we are so used to saying that we are children of God and we love to indulge ourselves on this verse:  Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God…  Because we refuse to grow in our spirit, God ends up with a household full of children who are grown in age and time spent in church, but in their development, they are just like that of a child.  It is always tragic to see parents who are homebound with children who are handicapped, who have flesh that grows but whose minds remain infantile.  Such parents have a lifetime of unceasing caring for their children, literally until they die or until they put those children into an institution.  Handicapped children in the natural are born handicapped without choice, or in cases of poverty, become handicapped because they were not fed food that helps their mind and brain to grow.  And so, such nations have whole generations of children whose mental functions and thinking never reach full capacity.

In the household of God, no children are born into the kingdom with any handicap, for it is the Spirit who births them, and the Holy Spirit does not cause His children to be born handicapped.  Whatever handicap that develops in the thinking of anyone in the household of God lies with their own choice, even if the environment they are born into is harsh.  The developmental rate and the maturity of everyone in the household of God depend not on God but on the individual as to how they relate to God.  You can blame your pastor, your denomination, your family and your country, and you can even say there are no Bibles in the land.  However, such excuses are muted by the testimony of men like Enoch who, without having received any preaching, just began to walk with God until God took him.  All that is written of Enoch is this:  Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.  Without Scriptures, without counsellors or teachers, and without precedent, Enoch walked with God.  As such, no excuse about your personal lack of growth from infant to adulthood is entertained if you thought you could blame the church, the government, the lack of Scriptures and your environment because of a man like Enoch.

In the natural world, the growth of a person’s mental capacity depends on the nutrition he has eaten for the growth of his brain.  So likewise, in the spiritual realm, the growth of a person’s spiritual capacity depends on the nutrition he has eaten for his spirit’s growth.  And ultimately, a person is responsible for his own spirit’s growth, for God is watching.  God watches and the Holy Spirit ranges the world, searching for those who hunger and thirst after righteousness so that He may fill them.  Thus, the hunger for the things of God, the food of God, the words of Jesus that are spirit and life, His very flesh, which is real food, depends on each and every individual.  And God is able to supply, no matter the time, circumstance and situation, for with God nothing is impossible.

That first generation of Israelites who were condemned to wander 40 years in the desert until they all died, went on with their lives as best as they could… setting camp up, taking the camp down, raising a family, raising livestock, and observing their religious requirements until they all died.  And much is written about them in the books of Deuteronomy and Numbers, but you will find that there is one word missing in both those books – the word ‘repent’ and the act of repentance.  They spent 40 years living waiting to die, instead of hungering and thirsting after righteousness, for they were not in the right place at all.  They did not hunger enough to be in the right place to repent.  Even when they realised they had sinned for not trusting the Lord, but listened to the spies… this is what they said, “We have sinned.  We will go up to the place the LORD promised.”  And against Moses’ advice, they attacked the Amalekites and Canaanites and were beaten back.  They did not repent… they acknowledged their sin, but without repentance.  They tried to overcome their sin by another sin.  Had they spent 40 years in that desert repenting unceasingly, hungering and thirsting to be right with God again, had they done so to the point that Moses could have written about it… perhaps today we may be reading a very different account of their fate. 

You see, nothing changes the mind of God more than repentance.  Even Ahab was able to change God’s mind by his repentance, as did Nineveh.  The nature of men is not to repent, but to blame and seek to do something to compensate for the sin instead of admitting to it.  This is what the first man did when confronted with his sin… as God asked him, “Who told you that you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  Adam’s reply was, “The woman You put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”  And so we continue in that nature… even when we are disciples of Christ, much less people of Christ.  The sight of Jesus walking out to them in the fourth watch of the night terrified the disciples, yet not one of them actually repented for not going to Bethsaida.  If you had been in that boat that night, the sight of Jesus walking towards you should be convicting you of the truth that you had disobeyed Him.  They were caught red-handed… and repentance should have been their shout.  It should have been written:  When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified.  “It is the Lord,” they said and cried out in repentance.  Unfortunately, that is not written.  Instead, Peter challenged and said, “Lord, if it’s You, tell me to come to You on the water.”  The hide of us, sometimes knowing we have disobeyed, and yet we are asking the Lord to let us come close to Him!  Oh, the graciousness of the Lord as He says, “Come.” 

If it was in Peter’s mind to step out to draw close to the Lord so that he could fall out on his feet in repentance, he would have never fallen into the water.  Because if your mind is set on repentance, nothing, no surrounding circumstance, can overcome you.  In fact, if that is all your mind is set on, no fear will ever enter your mind, for the one who repents has filled himself with the fear of the Lord.  Peter would never have fallen into the water.  And it is written:  Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him.  “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”

How often has it been taught and preached that Peter did not have enough faith to walk on the water and began to doubt, so he sank… when in fact Jesus was saying to him that he had so little faith in Jesus and doubted the command to go immediately to Bethsaida.  Had Peter not doubted the wisdom of Jesus’ words to go to Bethsaida, they would not be caught in the storm and he would not be evil.  And had he had a little more faith in Jesus to repent first before joining Him, had he walked out on the water repenting with tears streaming from his eyes and his heart being torn because he had disgraced the Lord and disobeyed Him, so that in the middle of the lake, the Lord came out looking for them instead of being able to rest, his feet would never have even gotten wet.

It is what you are thinking as you hear the Lord’s words and what you think of the Lord’s words that will determine your mindset as to whether it is that of a child or an adult.  A child by and large thinks selfishly.  It is their discomfort and distress they have in mind, not that of others.

As they stood on the shore when Jesus told them to go immediately to Bethsaida, what were they thinking?  That Bethsaida was only a little village and the lodgings are not as good as in Capernaum, and that there would be no restaurants open?  What?  What were they thinking?  And when they decided to go to Capernaum, what did they think Jesus would do?  They left no one to tell Him where they had gone.  They did not consider where would Jesus stay in Bethsaida if they were not there ahead of Him to arrange for a place.  Selfish… childlike…  Yes, it is wonderful to have the faith of a child, that is what Jesus recommended, but Jesus never recommended that we think like a child.  Indeed, if Jesus wanted disciples who thought like children, He would have simply picked the children as His disciples.  No, Jesus picked adults because He wanted those who thought as adults, not as children.  Yes, humble yourself like the little children and become like them in humility, but in your thinking, be like an adult.  If they thought Bethsaida was not a good idea, they should have gone to tell Jesus, instead of leaving Him alone without a word as to where they were going.  Yes, Jesus was probably watching from the mountain as He prayed with His Father, but if you were Jesus, how would you feel?

Handicapped adults are a burden on their aging parents, and even as they grow, they give their parents no rest.  In fact, they become a bigger problem with each passing day.  A person who has become a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ, but has not grown in his spiritual thinking so that at least his thoughts match the number of years he has been born again, is a burden to the Lord.  You may be fifty by age and have been born again for thirty years, then in the very least, at least, your thinking as a person of God should not be like a child… but at least as a thirty year old person, a son or a daughter, who is able to take over the running of the household and not add to the problems, but add to the commonwealth of the family and not drain the wealth of the family.  The problem is when you are fifty by your flesh, thirty by years you have been born again, yet you behave like a three year old and think like a three year old when it comes to the things of God.

The reasons for such stunted growth are many and so are the excuses, but there is really only one reason – your hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God in your life, which is determined by what your heart and mind are set on.  It is determined by your own response to the opportunities God sets before you and the way you would create your own opportunities.  It is written:  “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated…”  Why did the Lord love Jacob?  One reason is because Jacob schemed and worked to improve his circumstances whenever the opportunity arose, whereas Esau squandered his birthright.  God has more respect for those who would worship a god they do not know and serve that god faithfully than those who do not care for the God they know.  That is why it is better for Sodom and Gomorrah at the time of judgment than for the cities of Israel that Jesus did miracles in.  A man who hungers and thirsts after God to raise an idol to worship is better than one who runs away from the God who set him free with signs and wonders.  Indeed, Abraham was worshipping the gods of Babylon before God called him.  Why?  Because he was a man who hungered after God’s righteousness.  As it is written: For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.  Since he came from a city whose architects and builders were men, he had seen what men build and do, and he wanted no part of it.

Likewise now, it is time for you to consider carefully how you are listening to Jesus.  For seven years now you have been taught to listen to Jesus, but now consider carefully how you listen.  Are you listening as a child or as an adult would listen?  That is how you should consider.  In the Kingdom of God, a person’s rate of growth into maturity is not necessarily related to physical years.  A person’s knowledge and understanding on the ways of God and the maturity by which he deals with such matters does not have to be related to the age of his Earthly years or the years he has been born again.  God showed us this when He used Elihu to say, “I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, I thought, ‘Age should speak; advanced years should teach wisdom.’  But it is the spirit (and Spirit) in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding.  It is not only the old who are wise, not only the aged who understand what is right.”

The rate your born again spirit can grow depends entirely on your hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God and the Spirit’s will to grow you.  And since He is the Spirit of Sonship, not childhood, anyone who hungers and thirsts after the sonship of God will grow faster than what the natural mind can expect.  So, do not let your lack of Earthly years hold you back or your spiritual years be a hindrance.  For many of you… the position of Elihu is the place to be… just let those who seem to be wise by their years and experience speak first, and then it is time to speak… before God answers.

Elect, like Elihu, so your time to speak and correct, even rebuke, is almost at hand, and your thinking must be that of an adult son or daughter.

The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said, is:  “…anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven…”  Why?  Because as Jesus said, “He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come.”  It is not right to speak against someone who does not speak up for himself.  If anyone were to speak against the Father or Jesus, They would answer back, but because Jesus said, “He will not speak on His own…” the Holy Spirit does not answer back, lest He makes Jesus out to be a liar.

However, as mature sons and daughters of the Holy Spirit, that is, as those who acknowledge that the Holy Spirit is the Father of their spirit, you may speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit precisely because He does not speak on His own.  You may ask the Father in Jesus’ Name on behalf of the Holy Spirit, especially when you know what the Holy Spirit has in mind.  Especially when you know that all the Holy Spirit has in mind is to finish His work so that Jesus can come back… then you can ask and speak on behalf of Him for all manner of things, as long as they contribute in some way to the arrival of Jesus Christ.  Now this is where the children are separated from the sons and daughters.  Children are interested in their own agenda.  They tolerate the parent’s agenda, even begrudgingly, but it is their own agenda they are after… and this is how you will know them as you listen and watch.

Those who are sons and daughters of the Holy Spirit, whose thinking is mature, will begin to consider what they can ask, seek and open for the Holy Spirit on His behalf so as to ease His burden and give Him rest.

If you look at the book of Job, it is as if the Lord waited until Elihu had finished speaking before He spoke to Job.

Think as ones who have the Holy Spirit as the Father of their spirits, speaking as mature sons and daughters on behalf of their Father in their Father’s business, so that whatsoever you will, whatsoever you wish, will be done for you.  For the word of Jesus is S/spirit, and if you abide in Him and the word of Jesus abides in you, then whatever you ask on behalf of the Holy Spirit is what the Holy Spirit would have asked if He could speak on His own concerning what He has heard and what is yet to come to the disciples of Jesus.

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