Are we as mindful of our spiritual growth? Do we carefully watch the outward signs of maturing in the Spirit? Do we sometimes feel that our growth doesn’t count unless it is seen and appreciated by others? Do we sometimes even flaunt our progress in case someone might have missed it, much like a little child rushing to take everyone who enters the house to the pantry door to see just how much he or she has grown?
Sometimes the biggest signs of our spiritual growth are the things going on inside of us; the quiet reliance on God when things are rough; the silent conversations with Christ in good times and in bad. Others may not notice these things but rest assured that God does; and in return He will bestow upon us love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). These things others may notice. They are qualities that stand out in this age of hatred, depression, sorrow, war, intolerance and selfishness. Hopefully these are the things that the lost will see in us and they will want to know, “What is it about this person?” We should always be ready with an answer for all who may ask. (1 Peter 3:15)
1 John 2:12-14
I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake.
I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning
I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the wicked one.
I write to you, little children because you have known the Father.
I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the
I have written to you, young men because you are strong, and the word of God abides
in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.
When we are born, we have everything we need to become full grown adults. All we need to do is grow into it. When we are born again we are equipped with everything we need for spiritual maturity (the fathers of 1 John 2:13-14). All we need is to experience spiritual life and grow. If a child were to be born and never exercise their muscles to try to crawl and then to walk; or never exercise their voice and their mouth and tongue to learn to talk, they would stagnate and eventually, when no one was left to care for them, they would die. The same is true in the spiritual realm. After taking that first step of faith in Christ, we must exercise our spiritual muscles as His children. We must desire and feed on the pure milk of the word, that we may grow (1 Peter 2:2). However, we must not stop there. We must move on to ever-higher elevations of spiritual growth and deeper, more profound understanding and knowledge of God. The writer of Hebrews addressed some who were not growing when he wrote “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14)
So, let us not be found as those of stunted spiritual growth in the early Christian Jewish community, but strive to grow in Christ. Let us set markers on our mind’s pantry door-jamb and check them regularly. Let us ask ourselves, “What do I do (or not do) now that was not the case a year ago.” Just as you would not expect to thrive as an adult on milk or baby formula, dig deeper into the Word. Proverbs is a wonderful place to start in your quest for deeper understanding and knowledge.
To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding,
To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity;
To give prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion—
A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain