Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Toward Spiritual Maturity

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  – Matthew 18:2-4

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation
- 1 Peter 2:2

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.  But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.  – Hebrews 5:12-14

We are called to be born again by Jesus.  Jesus said that if we do not become like a child, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  But, what happens after that, after we become like a child?  Do we continue being like a child or do we grow into spiritual maturity?

To get to the heart of this, I think it is appropriate to discuss why Jesus said that we must become like a child.  Children are fully dependent on their parents or caregivers for food, no child came out cooking like Paula Deen.  We must learn to be fully dependent upon God to meet all of our needs.  On top of that, children are fully trusting that their needs will get met.  We, too, must fully learn to trust in God for our needs to get met.  Also, children don’t put up a façade to mask their personalities as adults do.

And that’s why it’s so important to become like a child before God.  Those are very important lessons to learn and we need to grow up in them.

Peter said that we should crave pure spiritual milk like newborn infants.  The purpose is that we may grow up into salvation, not stay as infants.

The writer of Hebrews is speaking directly to people who remain spiritually immature.  Why is it so important to grow up?  Children can tend to get a sense that the world revolves around them.  Children can be very ignorant and stubborn.  If a child does not get what they want, sometimes they throw a tantrum.

These are the things that we must grow up from.  The world does not revolve around us, it revolves around God.  We must not be ignorant or stubborn but always seeking the wisdom of God.  God does meet our needs; He does not always meet our needs in the way that we would like.

There must come a time in our spiritual lives that we wean ourselves from spiritual milk to eating solid food.  There comes a time where we should be able to teach and disciple others about what it means to be a Christian.  We should become skilled in the Word of Righteousness to help others grow in their walk.

How do we grow in spiritual maturity?  First, we need to recognize that which is good from that which is evil and practice this.  Second, we need to read into the next chapter of Hebrews, and this dear readers, we shall do tomorrow.

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