Romans 16:17–19

‘For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery, they deceive the minds of naïve people.’(v18)

Maturity means developing our ability to make good choices. In our daily discipleship, we must beware of those factors that can slow, impede, even derail our commitment to God. This is not to raise our anxiety levels, for Paul makes it clear that we can draw reasonable assumptions from daily observations. The bedrock of our faith is obedience to God, but we find ourselves surrounded by many people offering ‘valuable’ advice on how best to live. 

As children, we obediently followed the guidance of those caring for us, but as we mature and take increased responsibility for ourselves, we must learn decision-making skills. Bad decisions usually lead to unhelpful consequences, yet we often only learn to make good decisions from our mistakes. This methodology is one that easily translates to our Christian growth. God’s grace is such that He knows we’ll make bad decisions. However, God is always on hand to help us reflect on what a better decision might have been and how to move forward with our lives. 

Such reflection is sometimes done alone, often in conversation with trusted friends, and may be supported through the teaching programme of our church. Paul’s concern is that there are some who appear to speak wisely, but who in fact are driven by their own agenda and want to navigate us away from God’s grace and love. Always consider if your decisions reflect the character of God you discover in Scripture. God’s Word is our life compass.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Ps. 120; Jer. 9:1–9; Col. 2:1–8; 1 Pet. 3:8–22.

An ACTION TO TAKE: How do you plan to get where you want to as a Christian? Set clear goals and target your energy and activities on maturing as a disciple.

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, may I learn to make good decisions under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Amen.’ (1 John 2:27)

Photo by Malcolm Lightbody on Unsplash
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.