Spiritual maturity is founded on the message for adults. Such a message speaks of integrity, faithfulness, fear of the Lord, brotherly love, love for one’s enemies, willingness to suffer and even die for the name of Jesus, and giving oneself as a living sacrifice to God.

To attain this new dimension, Paul does not hide from Timothy that he will be persecuted:

Now, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:12-13).

In the book of Daniel, in verses 16 to 18 of chapter 3, the three young Jews chose to die rather than serve false gods:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.’

Because of this refusal, they were thrown alive into a blazing furnace. Despite their very young age, they were so mature that death meant nothing to them.

If you are a Christian and wish to live out your faith properly, if by some miracle you have not yet been persecuted, know that persecution is on the way. All those who seek to live godly lives will be persecuted (faithful Christians, pastors of the Church, apostles, teachers, prophets, elders, deacons, evangelists). Girls or boys who do not accept compromise will be persecuted.

All those who want to live in accordance with the Word will suffer. I have told my own testimony several times. When Jesus appeared to me in the cocoa field I worked with my elder brother in Ivory Coast and told me to leave the field to do His work, I left immediately, knowing that I would suffer since that field was my only source of income.

Having never attended school, I was objectively handicapped in finding another source of income in life. After leaving the field, I indeed suffered for a long time, having committed to the work of God.

There was a period when I had only one worn-out shirt and one pair of pants that I washed every night to wear the next day. I was also ostracized from the family because of my conversion to Christ. Thus, reaching spiritual maturity requires sacrifices.

This text is an excerpt from the book “Spiritual Childhood” written by Prophet Emmanuel SAWADOGO.

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