Chapter 1 Spiritual Maturity 7
Chapter 2 Obvious Signs of Spiritual Maturity 19
Chapter 3 Measuring Your Maturity 32
Chapter 4 A More Excellent Way 44
Chapter 5 Truth 52
Chapter 6 Carnal or Spiritual 59
Chapter 7 Growing Up 66
Chapter 8 The Washing of Water by the Word 77
Chapter 9 Processing Your Thoughts 85
Chapter 10 Overcome or An Overcomer 93
Chapter 11 Childlike Faith 102
Chapter 12 Prove What You Believe 110
Chapter 13 As Your Foundations Deepen 121
Chapter 14 By the Grace of God, I Am What I Am 131
Chapter 15 Enjoy the Journey 137
A Final Word 150
WAKE UP! TIME IS RUNNING OUT, VOLUME III concludes the series of books written to teach believers how to become spiritually mature. The series includes:
Those of you who have applied the teachings in WAKE UP! TIME IS RUNNING OUT, VOLUMES I and II should be enjoying the benefits of walking in the Spirit and growing up spiritually. Your motive for seeking God should be pure and your trust in Him consistent. The Lordship of Jesus Christ should be established. This book will encourage you where you are as well as teach you how to function as a spiritually mature believer.
Some of you may not have experienced the spiritual growth you hoped for. You may move back and forth between your flesh and the Spirit. It may be difficult for you to trust the Lord with your whole heart and obey Him without question.
If you have not obeyed the instructions in the first two books of this series, ask the Lord if you should read them again. Each book provides foundational truths that support the following books. If you do not learn to live in the Spirit and grow up, you will not have the necessary foundations to reach spiritual maturity.
It is important to know where you are spiritually. If you believe yourself to be more mature than you actually are, you will struggle to walk in the Spirit. If you have made excuses for your flesh, your spiritual growth has been hindered. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you if your spiritual growth is where it should be or if you are behind. These answers will reveal what the Spirit will focus on in your life.
The First Works
Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, you must faithfully maintain the first works of the Kingdom. The early Ephesian church did good works and labored in the ministry, but they left their first love (Revelation 2:4). They did not maintain the spiritual foundations that would have taken them to maturity.
The Lord told them, Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent (Revelation 2:5).
Before going any further, do you need to stop, repent, and establish Jesus Christ as your first love? If you do not deal with this issue, you will never have a close, intimate relationship with God. You will not grow up spiritually, and you will not be able to fulfill God’s callings.
Everything in the Kingdom works as it should when Jesus is your first love. I have emphasized this truth before and I will continue to focus on it. If Jesus is not your first love or you have mixed motives for serving Him, your spiritual life will be a constant struggle.
Everything I have taught over the years goes back to a few simple foundations that must be set in place and maintained throughout your spiritual journey. As these foundations settle and deepen, you will have no trouble becoming exactly who God has called you to be. His perfect plans will be fulfilled in your life. I suggest you write down these first works and refer to them often:
A Broken Heart
If you want to enjoy a vital, blessed relationship with your Father, the first works cannot be neglected. If you proclaim to love Jesus Christ but continue to resist Him, humble yourself and ask Him to bring you to brokenness.
Ezekiel 36:26 says, A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you : and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh . In this verse, heart basically means , …(figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything… (H3820). (Please note that flesh in this verse does not refer to the carnal nature.)
Meditate on this for a moment. The Lord promises to remove the hardness of your feelings, your will, and even your intellect (mind). You can be completely renewed. If you are unwilling or hesitant for this work to be done, you can also ask the Lord to make you willing.
WAKE UP! TIME IS RUNNING OUT, VOLUMES I and II
The first book in this series includes:
If any of these areas are not established and consistent in your life, please go back and review this book. I bly suggest you follow the instructions about setting up your notebook as a training tool for the Holy Spirit to instruct you.
The second book in this series focuses on growing up spiritually. It identifies many of satan’s traps that lead to deception and rebellion. It includes:
As you read VOLUME III, you will see whether or not you have processed the information in VOLUMES I and II properly. If you find that the earlier teachings are not set in place as they should be, go back and make the needed corrections through repentance as the Spirit directs.
The Whole Duty of Man
Solomon had more wisdom and knowledge than anyone during his time. He was more than likely the richest person as well. He was a king and had great power and authority. He had everything the flesh could want.
Solomon was also a preacher and preached the book of Ecclesiastes as one who had received divine revelation. Ecclesiastes 1:1 says, The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem .
Solomon experienced everything the world had to offer, both good and evil. He examined the world around him and came to certain conclusions. In Ecclesiastes 3:14, Solomon said, I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it : and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
That is an astounding revelation. Everything God does is forever. You should fear Him because you have absolutely no control over Him.
God’s decisions have eternal purposes that will stand forever. He is not going to change His mind. You cannot add to what He says and does; you cannot take away from it. You are not in control. He is the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13).
Solomon realized that all he had seen and done was vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2 and 12:8). He came to this conclusion after all of his searching, Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man . For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Fearing God and keeping His commandments is the whole duty of man.
When you simply repent of not loving or fearing the Lord, you will immediately see dramatic changes in your spiritual life. You will be amazed at how quickly the devil’s work and your old nature would be destroyed. The flesh you have fought against for years will be mortified rapidly. You will begin to enjoy consistent communion with God.
Do not be discouraged if you find that some of your foundations need deeper repentance. Do not allow satan to bring condemnation if you are not where you should be spiritually. Even if you have repented to some level, true repentance can always go deeper. Remember to ask the Spirit where you are, and do not listen to the devil’s opinion about your spiritual walk.
Your Father wants you to function as a mature believer, fitly joined into the Body of Christ where you are called. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what you need to grow up and function as a mature Christian. Be encouraged as He continues to work in you.
Reference Verses for Introduction
When you are spiritually mature, producing godly fruit and demonstrating Christ’s character are common traits. Maturity does not mean perfection. Everyone makes mistakes, but a mature believer lives in the Spirit most of the time.
As you mature, your character and personality change because you deny your flesh, abide in the Spirit, and submit consistently to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Your nature will reflect Christ’s character and fellowship with God will be consistent.
When you are spiritually mature, Jesus is your standard. He is your example of obedience. He is a perfect reflection of the Father. He came to do the Father’s will and destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). This is your calling as well.
The Lord focuses on eternal benefits more than temporal blessings. As you mature, you will come to value the eternal realm, more than the temporal realm just as He does. Yes, He takes care of us and provides our natural needs, but His focus is always on eternity. His goal is to create in you the unique, original person God has called you to be.
2 Corinthians 4:18 says, While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
Everything you see or experience with your senses will pass away, but the spiritual realm is eternal. You cannot enjoy the blessings of the eternal realm if you do not abide in the Spirit and allow God to reveal His Kingdom to you.
Jesus explained how He functioned in John 5:30. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me . Jesus’ only purpose was to do His Father’s will. He is our example.
In the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, this scripture says, I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord—but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide.
As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.
This scripture is the foundation for living a spiritually mature life. When you seek the Father’s will rather than your own, you cannot keep from being spiritual. You do not consult your will or personal preferences.
In Luke 11:1-4, Jesus taught the disciples how to pray. As His disciples today, we are to pray in the same way. Verse 2 says, And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth .
God’s Kingdom is the same on earth as it is in heaven, even though it does not manifest in exactly the same way. The standard for mature Christians is to live on earth as we will live in eternity. We have natural restrictions now because we have earthly bodies, but our motive is the same: the Father’s will be done.
In the Kingdom, the same standards apply both here and in eternity. When Jesus sets up His millennial Kingdom, the same rules will apply. They do not change simply because it is a different time period in the Kingdom of God. In the Kingdom of God, Jesus is the absolute Lord and the Father’s will is done. Even though we have the opportunity to reign with Him, we will be under His authority then as we are now.
Jesus obeys the Father’s will, not His own. We are never authorized to seek our own will, either. We are called to be a reflection of Jesus. When we do works in the Spirit, Jesus Christ flows through us. As the Spirit flows, we have the privilege of seeing Jesus work.
As a mature Christian, your purpose is simple. I am here to do the will of the Father. When that work is finished, I am ready to go home . Nothing on earth has value to you when your heart is focused on eternity. Nothing can tempt you to compromise God’s standard when you are in full agreement with His will each moment of every day.
Testimony: The Beginning
I do not identify with who I was before my encounter with Jesus Christ. When I broke before the Lord and yielded myself completely to Him, I consistently obeyed Galatians 5:16, This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh . That was Paul’s focus, and that was my focus. If you want to become spiritually mature, it must be your focus.
My flesh weakened to the point that it no longer had the power to stop me from obeying the Lord. It did not slow me down. Then finally, it had no place in me. I was able to walk in Kingdom principles and grow up in the Lord.
Am I perfect? Absolutely not, but I spend very little time in the flesh. If I make a mistake, I repent quickly. I ask the Lord to show me how satan and my flesh were able to lead me astray. I ask for divine revelation about how to keep from making that mistake again. I do not want my flesh to have any power over me, so I maintain the attitude that my flesh is the enemy.
This may seem impossible to you where you are now, but this is God’s standard. It will never change. If the flesh was destroyed in me, it can be destroyed in you.
If this has not happened in you, you need to find out why. What is stopping you from loving God from a pure heart and proving your love by obeying Him? Have you dealt with your flesh until it has no power over you? Do you continue to identify with your flesh?
Flesh or Spirit?
You can live by carnal, worldly standards, or you can live in the Father’s will. These two standards are the exact opposite of one another. You cannot be in the flesh and the Spirit at the same time. You are in one or the other.
You are either pressing toward the mark of the high calling of Christ, or you are seeking what your flesh wants. There is no third option. It is time to be completely honest about where you are spiritually. If you want to be spiritually mature, you must live in the Kingdom rather than visiting it every once in a while.
Many believers continue to think and act like everyone else in the world. They have the same ambitions as unbelievers. As long as they do not participate in sin that would be obvious to everyone, they think they have liberty to do what they want to do. They measure their success or failure based on the natural realm. Does this describe your life? Are you distracted by the world and its desires?
A mature Christian is not focused on this world. Paul said in Philippians 3:8, Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord : for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ . His only goal was to love God through obedience. Is that your goal?
When your flesh is alive, you battle with temptation all of the time. When you become a mature Christian, you do not struggle because your flesh is mortified. It no longer has free access to defeat you. When you are mature, you have separated yourself from your Adam nature and its way of thinking and acting.
Do satan and your flesh give up completely? No, but when you are spiritually mature, getting in the flesh is a rare exception. You may get in the flesh for a moment, but you do not spend time there. You repent quickly, get back in the Spirit, and ask the Lord to show you what access caused you to sin.
As you mature, you develop consistency in the Spirit instead of moving back and forth between the two natures. You have greater understanding of the tactics and tricks the devil uses. It takes greater pressure to move you into the flesh.
Your life reveals what you seek. Do you want to be spiritually mature? What does your fruit say about your level of spiritual maturity? Where do you place value, in the temporal realm or the eternal realm? Mature believers can honestly proclaim, For in him we live, and move, and have our being (Acts 17:28a).
Spiritual Maturity in the Body
Ephesians 4:11-16 explains how the mature Body of Christ is set up. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
The Father sets ministries in place for the equipping of the saints. When the Body is mature and the parts are in good working order, every need is supplied. Submission to Jesus’ Lordship is maintained at all times, as well as the appropriate attitude toward spiritual authority.
As you mature, God’s love will flow through you to the other members of the Body. As every member grows in love and obedience, the world will see the love of Jesus. John 13:35 says, By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Spiritual Maturity in the Family
The family is a type of the church. The church has one head, and so does the family. God explains the family order in Ephesians 5:22-25. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
God ordained the husband as the head of the family, and the wife is called to submit to him as her authority. A husband’s God-given authority does not make him superior in any way. It is merely the position he is called to fulfill.
The husband is commanded to represent the Lord and carries the same responsibilities Jesus does. Jesus always represents the Father, and the husband is commanded to represent Jesus. If a husband seeks his own will, he is usurping authority over God.
God calls the wife to a submissive role, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22b). This does not make her inferior to her husband in any way. She is simply called to a different position in the family. If she maintains an attitude of submission as unto the Lord, God will correct her husband when he is wrong.
A spiritually mature husband loves and cherishes his wife as Christ loves the church (verse 25). A spiritually mature wife loves, submits to, and honors her husband (verse 24).
Some believers struggle with God’s standard in marriage because they try to understand it from a natural perspective. They mistakenly believe the husband has complete control, is under no one’s authority, and can be unfair if he wants to be. They also conclude that the wife has lesser value because she is called by God to be submissive. Her thoughts and feelings do not matter because her husband has complete control over her.
If you have reached the same conclusions, read what the Word says about the order of the home again. Both spouses are commanded to love one another with God’s love. Each one is loved by God equally and perfectly.
God’s standard is for each one to fulfill his or her role according to His instructions. Holding a different position in the home does not make you lesser or greater in God’s sight. He requires faithfulness where He has called you.
The head of the house should accurately represent the Lord, and the wife should do the same. This does not mean either partner is perfect, but each one is to represent the Lord in his or her calling.
If your marriage and family do not reflect the nature of Jesus Christ, ask the Holy Spirit for revelation about how to make the necessary adjustments. You cannot be in order with the Lord if your home is out of order. I do not say this to bring condemnation in any way. However, it is important to recognize the need for every area of your life to be submitted to the Lord without making excuses.
Spiritual Maturity in the Anointing
Philippians 4:19 says all of your needs will be supplied according to God’s riches in glory. If God gives you a work to do, He anoints (authorizes) you to accomplish the work. In that way, He is glorified because He does the work through you. When you are spiritually mature, the anointing on your life is consistent.
In Luke 4:18, Jesus explained that the Spirit of the Lord was upon Himbecause God anointed Him. In this verse, the word anointed basically means God’s authorization and empowerment to act. Anointing includes, …consecrating Jesus to the Messianic office, and furnishing him with powers necessary for its administration, …to furnish what is needed (G5548 and G5530) .
We are called to do the same works Jesus did. When we are anointed by God, the Holy Spirit comes upon us to do what God has commanded. Consistently functioning in the anointing is necessary to become spiritually mature.
Manifestations of the Anointing
God’s anointing can be on many different things. The Word of God is anointed because it is His divine Word revealed to man. 2 Timothy 3:16 says , All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Why do people read the Bible and not understand it? Because they do not rely on the Holy Spirit to anoint the Word and reveal truth.
God anoints His Word in the Bible as well as a righteous word spoken in season. I have experienced this for many years, and you may have experienced it, too. God anoints the word He has commanded to be spoken. He speaks through whomever He chooses. He anointed the word spoken through the donkey to Balaam (Numbers 22:28). The donkey was not anointed, but God’s message was!
Gifts of the Spirit are another manifestation of the anointing. The Holy Spirit in you can manifest in any way the Father directs. The gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12 are authorized to manifest in and through you at the leading of the Spirit. If God authorizes it, you can manifest any spiritual gift from the moment you receive the Holy Spirit at salvation. As you mature spiritually, these gifts will manifest readily when there is a need.
God has also anointed tangible objects such as the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament. I have personally been to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. It is all that remains of the original Temple. The Lord told me to step close to the wall, and the Spirit flowed over me like a river. When I stepped back, it stopped. This may not make sense to some, but the flow of the Spirit was definitely present.
Offices in the Body of Christ are also anointed. All authority comes from God whether it is spiritual or secular according to Romans 13:1. Jesus Himself honored the authority of Rome (Matthew 22:17-21). He respected positions of authority just as we are commanded to do.
You are commanded to have a proper attitude toward the authorities God puts in your life. 1 Peter 2:18 says, Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. If your authority is unkind and does not treat you well, you are not authorized to respond with a wrong attitude or rebellion.
God anoints any work He commands you to do. This includes both the spiritual and natural realms. He may tell you to share truth with someone and authorizes your words. He will anoint you in your job, as a friend, and during times of relaxation. If your work is directed by the Holy Spirit, He anoints that work. The type of work is irrelevant.
God also anoints individuals. This is not limited to the career or callings you have but who you are as a mature believer. As you mature in the Spirit, you will find that God’s anointing rests on you throughout your day, regardless of what you are doing.
The anointing manifests in spiritual undertakings as well as the natural responsibilities God gives you. You are personally anointed because you consistently ask the Lord and obey what He says to do each day.
Anointed in God’s Purposes for You
Every spirit born into a human body came from God. Each person has been given giftings, callings, and eternal purposes. Everything you do each day has the potential to be anointed and produce eternal benefits.
John 15:8-10 says, Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples . As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
Faithful and Anointed in Your Callings
1 Corinthians 3:13 says, Every man’s work shall be made manifest : for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. The world’s standards focus on personal success and financial gain. God focuses on your faithfulness to obey Him.
If you are called to be a baker, you should expect revelation from God about how to improve your skills and create new foods. If you are a teacher, the Lord will show you how to instruct each of your students. If you are called into the fivefold ministry, the Holy Spirit will train and prepare you for your particular ministry. God’s focus is always on your faithfulness and obedience.
It does not matter what God calls you to do, but rather that you are called, chosen, and faithful to obey Him in your callings. God’s anointing (authorization) on you makes the work you do eternal rather than temporal.
You may be blessed with temporal benefits, but God’s focus is always eternal. You may find a cure for cancer or make the best cake anyone has ever eaten. To us, curing cancer has more value than baking a cake, but that does not mean the eternal rewards are necessarily different.
Matthew 25:21 says, His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Eternal rewards are based on faithfulness to do what God says to do . God’s standards are different than man’s standards. God puts you in the Body of Christ to minister where He chooses.
Some of you believe that my calling as an apostle is more important than your callings. You may be called to the ministry of helps and set up preaching venues for Keith, me, or someone else in Servants of the Lord Ministries. It does not matter what you are called to do. Faithfulness is essential.
Do you believe your job is less important than another person’s? Regardless of your vocation, if you are who God has authorized you to be, God will anoint and bless you and your works. You should expect the Holy Spirit to function through you.
Whether you are a minister or a homemaker, God will anoint you. Do not let the devil tell you that your role does not matter and your works have no eternal value. Your obedience gives God glory and produces eternal benefits.
Reference Verses for Chapter 1
1 John 3:8
2 Corinthians 4:18
2 Timothy 3:16
1 Corinthians 12
1 Peter 2:18
1 Corinthians 3:13