Did you know the first smartphone was not an iPhone? For people who belong to the cult of all things Apple, I know that is hard to believe. The first smartphone was the Nokia Communicator and it was released in 1996, eleven years before the first iPhone.
There are now one billion smartphones in use. It took sixteen years to accomplish, but one out of every seven people in the world owns a smartphone. Analysts predict it will take only three more years to double that number.
Besides being able to make an actual phone call, I can use my smartphone to read the Bible, write a novel, check the weather, or fling angry fowls across the sky. These are called apps. And one of the things I love most about my apps: they update themselves. Unless I choose otherwise, I don’t even have to know when they are updating – they just do.
There are times I wish I had a smartphone app for life.
Whenever my attitude needed upgrading, the app would just do it for me. Whenever a new version of humility came out, it would be automatically added to my character. Progress in life would be as simple as checking a box in the settings.
I’ve looked for that app in the app store and it doesn’t exist.
As we start this new year, we have chosen to focus our weekend teaching on this question: What do people need to upgrade their faith and spiritual maturity?
Behind this question is an assumption: Christ-followers should never settle for average or mediocre. God does not call us to live a life that “just gets by.” The ideal held out in Scripture is that we will grow up to be like Jesus:
“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).
Our original form, disfigured by sin, is to be reformed by grace to the image of Jesus. In this sense, conformity is a good thing; in fact, it is a God-thing.
We will be spending the first three weeks of 2013 in one passage of Scripture: Mark 12:28-30. This passage is often referred to as the “Great Commandment.” Why? Because Jesus is asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” In the Old Testament alone, there were hundreds of commands to choose from.
Which one did Jesus pick? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Using the Great Commandment as our guide, we will explore the building blocks of spiritual health. By majoring in the majors and not the minors, we will chart a course for growth and significance.