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Fri, September 16, 2011
Godly Character Is Key to Christians
By R. Leigh Coleman
Pollster George Barna, whose years of research on religion gets to the core of Christianity, recently conducted a survey asking Christians, “What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus Christ?” and “What are the duties and obligations of someone who calls himself/herself a Christian?”
These are pertinent questions to wrestle with in light of the highly debated “signs of the times” and second coming of Jesus Christ among evangelical leaders today.
Barna’s recent book, Maximum Faith, concludes that without complete determination to live like Christ and for Him, the path to complete transformation and spiritual growth is blocked.
“There are several barriers to overcome before many people are likely to persevere and maximize their connection with God,” Barna says in his book.
He found out that only a small percentage of born-again Christians stick with the spiritual growth process long enough to become the mature followers of Christ and world changers that they are meant to be....
Barna says there are barriers to spiritual growth. They are broken down into four categories; commitment, repentance, activity and spiritual community.
He notes that most churches in America encourage congregations to engage in religious activities, which is good, but they are not the only answer to spiritual growth. “While growth in worship, discipleship, stewardship, service, study and other activities is important, people often fail to realize the end game of spiritual development is godly character, not worldly accomplishments,” Barna said.
He concludes that more than three out of four Christians (78 percent) strongly agreed that spirituality is very important to them.
Another challenge Barna found in the issue of spiritual maturity is the ability to embrace sacrifice and suffering in order to surrender and submit fully to God.
He said Christians must grow through brokenness during sacrifice. "But churches," he said, "find this unappealing."
A third challenge to spiritual maturity listed by Barna is the importance of perceiving a faith community or church as a vital support system in the pursuit of a deeper relationship with God.
Bible study, prayer, and life sharing activities, in or outside the worship building, are relied upon by conventional churches as a means of creating community and a sense of connection to the church.
The goal of these groups is usually about knowledge and comfort instead of commitment and application.
Barna's survey involved a national random sample of adults (18 or older) selected from across the 48 continental states.
Please click HERE to read the entire article...
A Urantia Book quotes - food for thought:
170:3.2 Though Jesus taught that faith, simple childlike belief, is the key to the door of the kingdom, he also taught that, having entered the door, there are the progressive steps of righteousness which every believing child must ascend in order to grow up to the full stature of the robust sons of God.
193:2.2 Increasingly, must you yield the fruits of the spirit as you progress heavenward in the kingdom of God. You may enter the kingdom as a child, but the Father requires that you grow up, by grace, to the full stature of spiritual adulthood.
195:10.5 In winning souls for the Master, it is not the first mile of compulsion, duty, or convention that will transform man and his world, but rather the second mile of free service and liberty-loving devotion that betokens the Jesusonian reaching forth to grasp his brother in love and sweep him on under spiritual guidance toward the higher and divine goal of mortal existence. Christianity even now willingly goes the first mile, but mankind languishes and stumbles along in moral darkness because there are so few genuine second-milers—so few professed followers of Jesus who really live and love as he taught his disciples to live and love and serve.
And - here is our topical study containing Urantia Book teachings about CHARACTER
Link to External Source Article
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