We should not stay at the baby or adolescence stage in the Christian life. It is possible to grow up and age physically but still think and act like a child or teenager in your mind. Such stunted growth results in us being spiritually childish, wanting our own way, fighting for our toys as it were. This is because we are limited in knowledge and growth in the things of the Lord. In adolescence, we think we know it all, everybody is wrong except you; you have zeal without knowledge or just downright laziness. These things create problems and misunderstandings. The real goal for Christians is to be brought to maturity so that they are not tossed about by every wind of doctrine. Eph.4: 11-16. God wants us to live in reality, he has given us a sound mind and judgment. 2Tim.1: 7. Sometimes there is spiritual abuse and this can cause disorientation or permanent damage. This can come by way of false doctrine or guilt trips.
Good Diet Helps Good Growth.
Teaching, prayer, serving God, resting by faith on him and his word and living a spirit filled life are essentials for healthy growth. Relationship wise we need others to be patient with us, to help and guide us, to understand and forgive us.
The aim of bringing folks to maturity is to have them know who they are in the Christian life, discover their gift and niche, to give them balance and encourage them to function in the Body of Christ. It is to bring them to personal confidence in the Lord.
Babies enjoy milk, an adolescent grabs fast food but adults enjoy a solid 4 course meal with all the trimmings. Your desire and capacity for better food should grow.
Things That Stunt Your Growth.
1. Sin puts you out of fellowship with God, you need to confess sin and be filled again with the Holy Spirit so that the barrier may be removed for you to grow. 1Jn. 1:7-9
2. A false view of freedom. You cannot do what you want now that you belong to Christ, you do what he wants, as that will be the very best for you in life. False liberty teaches that God’s Grace will cover your practice of sinning. WRONG! We are not to sin so that grace may abound. Rom.6: 1-3.
3. Questionable things. To have no guidelines or low or low moral standards will definitely affect your walk with God and your spiritual, moral and even physical health. Immorality, sexual or any other form, dropping your God given norms and standards will neutralise your effectiveness in the Christian life. You should stay away from all appearance of evil. 1Cor. 5:5-13; Eph.5: 1-5.
4. Ignoring or forgetting God’s word. Will cause us to loose the benefits of our salvation, not our salvation. When our anchor does not hold fast to Christ the sure and steadfast solid rock we end up in deep trouble. Heb.2: 1, 3:12, Heb.6: 15-20.
There are of course other things to avoid also but these are some of the main ones.
Temptation and Disobedience.
Sometimes we go to or walk in places that are not good for or even dangerous for us. Sometimes we do this wilfully and play with danger, we must remember there are consequences to our actions. You can expect your enemy the Devil to do all in his power to keep you away from God’s word and his way. 1Cor.10: 12, Gal. 6:1, 1Tim. 4:1-3. Satan will tempt you with things you already desire or that appeal to your old nature, it may be through a friend, a magazine, a film or possessions etc. in fact he has a tailor made plan to hinder and stop you walking with God. Paul tells us to “make no provision for the flesh.” Rom.13: 14. This means we should not store up or provide for the flesh. Solomon says “my son, if sinners entice you, do not consent” Prov.1:10, 4:14. Satan tempted our Lord in the wilderness but was defeated when Christ, full of the Spirit quoted scripture to him. Lk. 4 1-13.
(A) Avoid being in places of temptation. Matt. 6:13; 26:41, 1Cor. 10:13, 2Pet. 2:9.
(B) Hiding God’s word in your heart that you may not sin against him. Ps.119: 11 Matt. 4: 4.
(C) If you, “submit yourself to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Jas. 4: 7.
(D) Flee all lust. Look for an escape route. 1Cor.10: 13; 1Tim. 6:11.
Any test that God permits you to meet is to help you advance in the Christian life and go on in victory.
God chastises all His children because he loves them and doesn’t want them to come to unnecessary harm but receive benefit from it. We should not despise him or hate him for this, we should not faint or have a blackout of the soul because he does this. Scripture says this will bring peace to our soul. He welcomes prodigals back into relationship with himself. Heb.12: 4-15; Lk. 15:11-32.
He has many ways of disciplining us, ranging from a soft rebuke to extreme discipline because we incessantly and wilfully refuse to repent. He can take us home before our time. 1Cor.5:5 ; 11:30; Jas. 5:19-20. 1Jn.5: 16.
There is a spiritual law of “reaping and sowing,” what we do has consequences and God sometimes intervenes, forgives and heals, sadly for us, not all the time. Gal. 6:7-9; Jas.5:13-16. Sometimes we cause wilful damage to our minds, souls and bodies, this affects our marriages, our families and relationships with others. Although may be forgiven sometimes the damage we have caused cannot be repaired. God’s love for us is great, that’s why he has provided sound information for us that we may stay in as healthy a state as possible in the whole man.
True or False?
- Confusion and instability will be with me all my life. Eph.4:11-16; 1Tim.1:7.
- I must confess sin, God promises to for give me. 1 Jn.1: 8-10.
- I can do anything I want now I am a Christian. Rom.6: 1-3.
- My morals have nothing to do with my Christianity. 1Cor.5: 5-13; Eph 5:1-5.
- Ignoring God’s word won’t affect me. Heb.2: 1 3:12; 6:15-20.
- I don’t have to avoid temptation. Matt.6: 13; 1Cor. 10:13; 2 Pet.2:9.
- Hiding God’s word in my heart will not help me. Ps.119: 11; Matt.4: 4
- Submitting to God and resisting Satan brings victory over him. Jas.4: 7
- God doesn’t discipline his children. Heb.12: 4-15
- You will reap what you sow. Gal.6: 7-9; Jas. 5:13-16.