Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Want To Take Personal Responsibility For Your Spiritual Growth?

Photo by Rusty Blazenhoff
The Progression Of Growth

In just a few short weeks, I'm about to have my third daughter. My other two daughters are now 12 and 10, so it's been a little while since we've had a little baby in the house!

For those of you who have children, you know how interesting the development of your children can be. They start out as helpless little babies that need constant attention. Then, over time, they suddenly grow up right before your eyes. Over a few short years, they develop the critical skills necessary to move from total dependence on their parents to (hopefully) independence, and then they move out!

Spiritual Growth For The Christian

Spiritual growth in the life of a Christian works much in the same way. In Hebrews 5:11-14, we read these words regarding spiritual growth:
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
In this passage, the writer of Hebrews is chastising a group of believers for not being proactive in their spiritual growth. He tells them that they're still acting like baby Christians who need to have the elementary principles of the faith continually re-taught to them. They've been believers long enough that they should be very mature in their theology. They should already be teaching others the fundamentals of the faith.

So why weren't they mature already? What happened? From this passage, I see two reasons these believers were not as mature as they should have been:
  • "Because you no longer try to understand." These baby Christians just rolled over and gave up! They stopped trying to progress in their faith journey.
  • "Who by constant use have trained themselves…" These immature believers didn't understand that consistent training would lead to spiritual maturity. They needed to take ownership of their spiritual walk on a daily, consistent basis.
Unfortunately, those of us who are mature believers, see this a lot within the body of Christ. We see baby Christians who are on fire for the Lord at first, and then they slowly fade out. Sure, when they're first saved, they're excited to learn more about Christ and soak everything up like a sponge. But, unless they gradually learn how to get off the "milk" of the Word and into the "meat" of the Word through personal instruction, then they will never mature. They will most likely fall away from the faith.

In Conclusion | Two Thoughts

As I wrap up this post, I have two thoughts for you to consider, today. First, if you still feel like you're in that baby Christian phase of your relationship with the Lord, then focus on your development. Take responsibility for your spiritual growth. Dig deeper into God's Word, daily prayer, and weekly church attendance.

Second, if you're a mature believer in Christ, consider becoming the "spiritual parent" to some baby Christians. In the New Testament, we definitely see a pattern of discipleship with mentors and mentees. Jesus mentored Peter, James, and John within His group of 12 disciples. Barnabas took Saul (Paul) under his wing after Saul's conversion on the Damascus Road. Then, the Apostle Paul mentored Timothy as his own "son in the faith" (1 Timothy 1:2).

As a disciple of the Lord, take responsibility for your own growth. Then, go out and mentor another believer in their spiritual growth.

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