Spiritual Growth and Maturity
It starts with milk – which is major theme in the early apostle’s teachings. Let’s take a look:
1 Pet. 2:1-3 [NIV]
1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Co 3:1-4 [NIV]
1Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly-mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?
Author of Hebrews:
Heb 5:11-14 [NIV]
11We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 12In 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! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
These imply that in the early church some elementary teachings given to the disciples were common and required. Such was entrusted to the apostle and teachers, or those who had the capacity to expound on these things. The purpose was not to impart knowledge, but to build a context for understanding in “young” believers, so they could grow.
We can look at a tree or a babe and see how it grows. It takes seasons and years for a tree to grow up to bear fruit; it takes all stages of development for a babe to grow up into a strong and mature man, physically, and mentally.
Spiritually, a man takes the same process to mature.
This is _Part 6_ in the series The Gift and Work of the Holy Spirit: Resurrection Power and Eternal Life. To continue with this series, click on Pt 7. To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series, Pt 1, Pt 2, Pt 3, Pt 4 and Pt 5.
Photo credit: JumpinJack