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There are many encouraging words that echo from my youth, but there are also some challenging words, like: “You need to grow up,” or “Act your age.” These words normally come from people who knew me well and expected more from me. They simply wanted me to mature.
God expects the same from his followers. After receiving salvation through Christ, a person is referred to as a newborn baby needing the milk, or the elementary parts of the Bible, for nourishment and growth.
As the follower of Christ grows, milk needs to be replaced by the meat of the Word. The Bible is the nourishment that brings about the growth. This presupposes that the Bible is read, studied and obeyed.
What does growth look like? As a person grows he/she becomes more like Jesus in thought, in life and in ministry. Language changes – responses change – character changes. These changes can be dramatic or gradual.
In physical growth, there is a direct correspondence with age (time). Not so with spiritual growth. A person can grow rapidly by investment in studying the Scriptures, applying them to life and yielding to the Holy Spirit.
It was the expectation in the Bible that followers of Jesus grow. The apostle Paul says that we should grow to mature adulthood and no longer be like children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by deceptive teaching and deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:13-14). Of course we will never be perfect; we all have episodes of immaturity.
The writer of the book of Hebrews challenges some of the readers by charging they had enough time to grow to maturity, but it was still necessary that they learn the beginning, basic principles of the Christian life. JD Packer, author of the classic Knowing God agrees that there are many underdeveloped Christians today. While the church seems to be growing dramatically in numbers around the world, the greatest need is for the church to grow in depth.
John Stott, the well-known Christian leader, argued that “Nothing is more important for mature Christian discipleship than a fresh, clean, true vision of the authentic Jesus.” The apostle Paul agrees, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from 1 degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
I want to mature this year in my walk with Christ. How about you? Every one of our Woodside campuses has Bible studies, neighborhood groups, discipleship huddles and worship services that are designed to help us grow. We welcome you to jump in to grow deeper.