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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Spiritual Maturity

"Brothers, I could not speak to you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly." 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

When a person comes to Christ as Savior and Lord, he or she is born again as a spiritual infant. The Godhead wants to grow the new believer up into a mature spiritual man or woman of God. As an infant needs milk, then more solid food in order to grow, a new born Christian also needs first the pure milk of the Word and then the meat (deeper truths) in order to grow into a mature man or woman of God who will feed and nurture others.

The Apostle Paul in the above-mentioned scripture makes a clear distinction between spiritual Christians who are controlled and led by the Holy Spirit and carnal (worldly) Christians who are still controlled and led by their flesh.

Like newborn babies in the "natural" are a joy, baby Christians are a source of joy when they come to Christ. However, if they remain in that state, they are stagnated and cannot be used in any major way to advance the kingdom of God. The Word of God says that every new born believer in Christ is to "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 3:18 This spiritual growth can only come through the study of the Word, accompanied by belief and obedience to that Word.

Milk is good for the first stages of growth, but a believer must not be content to remain spiritual babies. "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. Therefore, let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.....Hebrews 5:13-14- 6:1 We are told to put our carnal (fleshly) nature to death in Colossians 3:5 by the power of the Holy Spirit and Word. It is in doing the Word that Christ is established in us and lives through us.

Jesus raises up apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching...Ephesians 4:11-14 God wants us to grow up into Him who is the Head--Christ. Immature Christians are easily led astray by every wind of doctrine because they have not studied the Word of God. They cannot discern what is true and what is untrue.

Commit yourself to two or three spiritual disciplines daily or weekly that will help you reach a new level of maturity. Bible study, prayer, fasting, small groups, accountability and service are some disciplines that will be helpful in maturing you spiritually. The spiritually mature will live wisely before God and will be vessels of use in helping others to reach spiritual maturity also. We are charged with the responsibility of "holding forth the word of life..." Phil. 2:16 Jesus is the Word brought to life. Therefore, believers in Jesus must be well-versed in the written Word, since Jesus said in John 5:39, "Search the scriptures...they are they which testify of Me." The light we shine is the work and person of Jesus Christ who is revealed in the scriptures.

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