austin sparks, book ministry, christian ministry, daily devotional

August 6

6 AUG – Marks of Spiritual Maturity

“And Joseph said unto them, What deed is this that ye have done? Know ye not that such a man as I can indeed divine?” Gen 44:15

Here is “the man”. What are the features of this man? This is a man of stature. He is a big man, he is a great man. This man is marked by great dignity. That is patent; it lies on the surface of the story. These brothers of his are all aware of the dignity of this man. This man is marked by discernment “Know ye not that such a man as I can indeed divine?” You remember that that was how Joseph got to his position. Pharaoh had his dream, and Joseph was the only one who could interpret, and the verdict was that the Spirit of God was in him. He could discern, he had power of discernment and interpretation. And he had authority. Everything is in this man’s hands. He has them completely in his hands. Those three things are the characteristics of Joseph – dignity, discernment, authority.

That is stature. Those are the things that mark spiritual full-growth. We could spend a lot of time on that. In one who has spiritual dignity there is nothing mean, nothing contemptible, nothing small, nothing petty; he is one who has to be recognized as a man of stature, as one who counts for something. The man who has discernment is one who can see through beyond his own nose, who is far-seeing, ‘in-seeing’, who has what we call vision; he is a man who has a secret knowledge of the meaning of things. And the possession of spiritual authority means that there is something about that man or woman which is more than themselves. They themselves, perhaps, would not command much respect and certainly would not command obedience, but there is something about them that you have to take account of. They have history with God. That gives them something that makes itself known and felt in the presence of other people. They have to say, ‘They know what they are talking about, you cannot just twist them round your finger; they know where they stand; there is something about them that you are compelled to recognize, acknowledge and bow to’. That is spiritual authority. Let us not interpret these things physically – I was going to say literally. These are spiritual factors, spiritual features, these are the marks of spiritual growth; and here is a big man, a great man, who has reached full stature.

Are not these the features of Christ? Look at Him again. Is there not dignity about Him? There is nothing small, nothing petty, nothing mean or contemptible about Christ. There is dignity right the way through. There is insight, discernment, perception, vision, knowledge beyond the ordinary. As for authority, He was someone to be reckoned with, even in the day of His humiliation.

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