We start our Christian lives in such the same manner; however, our expectations change as we learn more from scripture. In the beginning of our "Christian life" we are just happy to be saved from Hell. We look at those Old Testament saints such as Abraham, Noah, or David and say, "I want to live like (fill in the blank)." The Bible student which puts in time to properly study scripture will find that they can live a life much greater than those who lived before us.
1 Corinthians 13:11, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." KJV
What does it take to become a man? We must change the way we speak, understand and think. That is how we become a man, which is what will prepare us for what we want to be when we go up.
This is the basis upon which we must build. Understanding will change the way we think, which in turn will change the way we speak.
2 Timothy 2:1-3,7, "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things." KJV
We are to learn what the Apostle Paul wrote, in order for us to change our understanding. In the previous passage he states, "Consider what I say..." He does not tell us to look to the Psalms, neither does he tell us to read the four gospels. He, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, tells us to consider what he says. He wants us to read his epistles. In doing so, The Lord will give us understanding in ALL things. Not just one or two things, but rather in all things. This knowledge will revolutionize your life once you grasp the truth of rightly dividing the word of truth.
The next thing that changes in the life of the believer is our thinking. We have learned some amazing truths, once we learn to rightly divide, and those truths will change the way in which we think about our lives.
Philippians 4:7-9, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you." KJV
Once we have the proper basis of understanding, then we are to change the way we think by continually renewing our minds through proper studying of Gods word. We are directed by our apostle, once again as the Spirit works through him, to think on the proper things. The list is given to us in the previous passage. These are things that we have learned and received, as we study Gods word, and we have heard and seen in the life of Paul, as we study Gods word. Once again, we should notice that our example to look to is the Apostle Paul.
The last part of becoming a man, based on this study alone, is how we change the way in which we speak. If we have come to a better understanding of what God has done for us and we know who we are "in Christ" then we will change our thinking pattern to align with who God has made us. Once we have that established, we should also change the way in which we speak. If we are in Christ, then we should constantly be aware of the things we say.
Ephesians 4:11-15, "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" KJV
Notice the theme continues in this passage as well. In order for us to be no more children, we need to speak in truth in order for us to grow up.
What we are going to be when we go up has a lot to do with how we grow up right now. If we understand some truths and then do not change the way in which we think, speak, and live; then we will not be want we want to be in the future. Would we still be saved? Absolutely!
1 Corinthians 3:10-15, "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." KJV
What do you want to be when you go up? You must first learn what it means to grow in grace.
2 Peter 3:18, "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." KJV
Grace and Peace,