Ripened By the Sunshine of His Smiles

“Speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

Many Christians remain stunted and immature in spiritual things, staying the same year after year. For some we can see no passionate and powerful changes in their character or behavior. They merely exist, but never “grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head.”

But should we be content with staying at rest, when we might advance in the fullness of our understanding, experience, and practice of the Lord and His ways? Should we be satisfied to believe in Christ, and to say, “I am safe,” without wishing to know in our own experience more of the fullness which is to be found in Him? It should not be so. We should, as good workers in heaven’s house, deeply desire to be enriched in the knowledge of Jesus.

It is commendable to attend to other people’s needs, but we must not neglect our own spiritual growth. Why should it always be winter time in our hearts? We must have our seed time, but shouldn’t we long for a spring time, and then a summer season, which will give promise of an early harvest?

If we are going to ripen in grace, we must live near to Jesus -in His presence- ripened by the sunshine of His smiles. We must continue in sweet fellowship with Him. We must leave the distant view of His face and come near, as John did, and pillow our head on Him. Then we will find ourselves advancing in holiness, in love, in faith, in hope, in every precious gift.

The sun rises first on mountain-tops and covers them with its light, and presents one of the most charming sights to the eye of the traveler. So it is when we see the glow of the Spirit’s light on a person who has risen up in spiritual stature, like Saul, above his fellows, until like a mighty snow-capped Alp he reflects the beams of the Son of Righteousness, and bears the glow of His glory high above for all to see. When we witness God working in a person that way, we can only rightly glorify His Father which is in heaven, who has ripened this son or daughter by the sunshine of His smiles.

Question: What kind of things most often distract us from fellowship with God? What can be done to avoid these things?

Originally written by Charles H. Spurgeon.
Updated to modern English by Darren Hewer, 2011.

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