by Kevin Burton
Was writing a letter to a friend last weekend (yes, some of us still do that) and hit upon a happy accident.
In talking about the 40th anniversary of my high school graduation I accidentally typed “graducation.”
I googled it to see if anybody else had typoed their way into some insight. It appears not.
I had both education and graduation on my mind. It came out graducation.
We all know by now that education can happen even without graduation. We certainly know that graduation can come without any true education.
I think of cars rolling off an assembly line in Detroit. Once that final bolt is tightened, that car is fully ready to fulfill its potential, to perform its range of tasks.
People aren’t like that generally. I wasn’t.
I rolled off the high school assembly line with both education and a graduation but I wasn’t equipped to handle much.
There is a certain seasoning that needs to take place. Unlike high school classes, that life seasoning never ends.
In that sense, only history can accurately record a true time of graduation, a passing from apprenticeship into readiness.
Graducation then, can be defined as that period of time between getting a diploma and getting a clue.
It could also be defined as the eagerness to put the talents God gave you to their best use, for Him, for others and for yourself.
Salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is another graduation of sorts, certainly a major change in life status, that doesn’t immediately bring maturity.
Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (NKJV).
From there though a believer will need some spiritual graducation, to become more and more like Jesus and to better serve God.
This is stated more elegantly on www.gotquestions.org.
“Spiritual maturity is achieved through becoming more like Jesus Christ. After salvation, every Christian begins the process of spiritual growth, with the intent to become spiritually mature,” the website reads.
“According to the apostle Paul, it’s an ongoing process that will never end in this life. In Philippians 3:12–14, speaking of full knowledge of Christ, he tells his readers that he himself has not “already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
“Like Paul, we have to press continually toward deeper knowledge of God in Christ,” the website reads.
We remember Paul’s dramatic conversion after encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus. But in Acts 11 we see Paul spending a whole year teaching in a church at Antioch. Was that his spiritual graducation?
“Christian maturity requires a radical reordering of one’s priorities, changing over from pleasing self to pleasing God and learning to obey God. The key to maturity is consistency, perseverance in doing those things we know will bring us closer to God,” the website reads.
“These practices are referred to as the spiritual disciplines and include things such as Bible reading/study, prayer, fellowship, service, and stewardship. No matter how hard we might work on those things, however, none of this is possible without the enabling of the Holy Spirit within us.”
“Galatians 5:16 tells us that we’re to “walk by the Spirit.” The Greek word used here for “walk” actually means “to walk with a purpose in view.” Later in the same chapter, Paul tells us again that we’re to “walk by the Spirit.” Here, the word translated “walk” has the idea of taking things “step by step, one step at a time.” It is learning to walk under the instruction of another—the Holy Spirit.”
“Being filled with the Spirit means we walk under the Spirit’s control. As we submit more and more to the Spirit’s control, we will also see an increase in the fruit of the Spirit in our lives (Galatians 5:22–23). This is characteristic of spiritual maturity,” the website reads.