With Jacob in Genesis we see a long process in which he was dealt with, broken, transformed, and eventually matured. The goal of God is not merely to transform us but to bring us all unto maturity.
To be transformed is to be changed in our natural life by the divine life within, and to be matured is to have the divine life saturate every part of our being until we overflow with the divine life. God’s purpose can be fulfilled only by a full-grown mature man, and we need to be brought on to maturity!
In the story of Jacob we see in Genesis 37-45 a record of the process of his maturity. Outwardly seemingly not much was happening; it seems that Jacob was no longer gaining things by supplanting others, and a lot of things were happening in Jacob’s life to cause him loss.
Inwardly he was going through a profound process that led him to maturity. First, Jacob lost Rachel, and then only a little while later, he lost Joseph. Because he was not fully transformed, because Jacob’s being was not changed by God’s life and he was not yet filled with God, so he had a personal preference – he loved Joseph above all his brothers.
The other brothers saw this and they hated Joseph because of this; they eventually took him and sold him as a slave, being cruel in deceiving their father that an animal killed him.
Jacob was shocked and traumatized, entering into a grief beyond description; yet inwardly he was still thinking that Joseph might be alive, saying, They never found his body…
There was a deep pain in his being every time he thought of Joseph, and in this time God’s heavenly rain filled his being as he opened, time after time….every part of Jacob’s inner being was being opened to God to be filled with Himself.
This process of filling is a process of maturation. Jacob had to be emptied of many things and feelings associated to Rachel and Joseph so that God would fill him.
It takes many deep dealings like these to gradually open the depths of our being in detail until nothing remains closed to the Lord; then, the Lord can gradually year after year fill our vessel.
When famine came in the land, Joseph’s brothers had to go to Egypt to buy food, and Joseph dealt with them in a wise way; he kept Simeon in confinement, and later requested that Benjamin would also come.
Jacob did not agree that Benjamin, his most beloved son, would go, and so the Lord had to touch his natural affection. When the food was running out, they had to go to Egypt again, and finally Jacob was ready; he said,
May the all-sufficient God grant you mercy before that man…and as for me, If I am to be bereaved of my children, may I be bereaved (Gen. 43:11, 14).
When his sons returned with the news that Joseph was still alive, reigning in Egypt, we see how mature Jacob was: he did not accuse them, blame them, weep, or be ecstatically joyful, but simply went to Egypt to meet his son Joseph.
He could not have blamed them anymore because his emotions were saturated with God. His heart was numb within him but his spirit was revived – his soul and his spirit were divided, another sign of his maturity.
Year after year in a deeply hidden way, imperceptible to anyone and unseen by others, Jacob was living before God, opening to God deeper and deeper, and even his thoughts of Rachel or Joseph brought him pain – but he opened to God, and God infused him.
We can’t really open to the Lord so deep: we don’t know the depths of our being; but when the Lord brings us through the process of maturity, eventually the depths of our being will be opened to God so that our God of life would come in, empty out whatever is not God, and fill our vessel to overflowing with the divine life.
After Jacob passed through this process of maturity, he could simply bless others and prophesy with blessing. This is maturity; this is where we’re heading toward, and this is normal – it is just as normal as we grow unto maturity in our human life.
May we have a deep divine aspiration to reach maturity so that, at whatever stage we are, we would open to the Lord from the depths of our being, allow Him to fill our inner being with His life, and bring us on to maturity that we may be a God-saturated person overflowing and prophesying with blessing.
This is what God needs, and this kind of full-grown corporate man can fulfill His purpose on earth.
Jacob: from a Supplanter to a Transformed Man and a Mature Person
If you read from Genesis 27 onward we see that Jacob was a supplanter: he was able to do a lot of things, he cheated and tricked others, and everything was a gain to him. He always made a gain from his contact with his father, his brother, his uncle, and even with his wives Rachel and Leah.
In Genesis 37 we see how Jacob enters into the process of transformation, and he starts to have losses and not only gains: Rachel died, and he gained Benjamin. From this point onward, Jacob had loss after loss.
Eventually, in Genesis 47 we see not only a transformed but a mature Jacob who overflows with blessing.
In Genesis 27 Jacob is a supplanter, in Genesis 37 he is a transformed man, and in Genesis 47 he is a mature person.
From the moment that God touched him, Jacob began to be transformed. Then, at Hebron, he had many deeper dealings which brought him on to maturity.
There is a difference between transformation and maturity: to be transformed is to be metabolically changed in our natural life, and to be matured is to be filled with the divine life that changes us (Heb. 6:1). The goal of God’s salvation is not transformation but maturity.
Being Brought on to Maturity by being Filled with God’s Life that Transforms us!
We need to have a higher goal and a more uplifted personal aspiration than transformation: we need to aspire to be brought on to maturity, to be filled with the divine life which changes us.
It would be a pity to pass through a lot of dealings and breaking and transformation and yet not be filled with God’s life. Transformation changes us inwardly by the divine life which replaces our natural life, and the process of maturation fills us with the divine life to overflowing outwardly.
This metabolic change begins with regeneration. When we were saved, we were not only justified and our sins forgiven; we were also regenerated. At regeneration a new life, the divine life, was put into our spirit. From the time of our regeneration, this life has been transforming our natural life. As the divine life changes our natural life, it imparts more and more of the divine life into our being. Therefore, transformation is the change of our natural life. When this change reaches the point of fullness, the time of maturity has come….Maturity is not a matter of our being changed; it is a matter of having the divine life imparted to us again and again until we have the fullness of life. (Witness Lee, Life-study of Genesis, p. 1192)
Let us be brought on to maturity! We don’t “go on to maturity” but we are brought on, we are willing to be brought on. We need to pray concerning this, asking the God who can cause the growth to take us on to maturity for the sake of His economy and His interest on earth.
Don’t believe that maturity is unattainable – it is normal to be brought on to maturity!
It is sad to see brothers and sisters grow old without maturing in life. The Lord must take us all on unto maturity so that His purpose would be accomplished through us.
God’s eternal purpose can only be accomplished through our transformation and maturity (see Gen. 1:26; Col. 1:28; 2:19). For this, we need to have the divine life imparted into us again and again until we are full of the divine life.
Christ came that we may have life and may have it abundantly (John 10:10), and God is faithful to bring us through things and situations that will open up our being and have the divine life dispensed into us little by little.
We shouldn’t be worried of what our future holds and we shouldn’t be scared of how deep the sufferings will be. God chose us, He set our destiny to be mature sons of God, and He will not spare us by giving us a life of ease without the experiences that will transform and mature us.
May the Lord have mercy on us and bring us on to maturity that we may be not only transformed persons but people filled with God’s life that transforms them, people overflowing with life, the God-men who express God and represent God.
Lord Jesus, for the sake of Your economy, cause us to reach maturity long before we end our life on earth. Lord, for the sake of Your interest on earth, so that Your purpose may be fulfilled through a full-grown corporate man, bring many saints unto maturity! Make us willing to be brought on to maturity. Have Your way to fill our inward being with Your divine life which transforms us. Keep us open to You as we are living normal days under the divine dispensing to be filled with God to overflow with God!
Read this blog post in Spanish via, Proseguir a la madurez al ser llenos con la vida divina que nos transforma.
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my Christian experience, bro. Ron Kangas’ sharing in the message for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Genesis, msg. 92, as quoted in, the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Genesis (3), week 6 / msg 6, The Process of Maturity (you can buy this morning revival book here).
- Picture source and more quotes: see Christian Pictures blog article here.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Lord, today, increase Thyself in me, / Let Thy life grow to maturity; / Just a channel of life, let me be, / A pure vessel glorifying Thee. (Song on Growing unto Maturity)
# Minding just the spirit, we the cross will know, / And His resurrection pow’r thru us will flow; / Minding just the spirit, Christ will live thru me, / And His life within will reach maturity. (Hymns #593)
# Lord, grant me today’s supply of grace; / May Your divine life grow apace; / Little by little, day by day, to grow / More and more, into You. / Day by day, bit by bit, life will grow as is fit, / Increasing gradually until, / However imperceptibly, / Your life matures within me. (Song on Growing in Life)
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