Summary: It is a tragedy both on the physical level and the spiritual level for one to fail to grow or neglect to grow.
The Growing Christian Series
The Necessity of Spiritual Growth
It is a tragedy both on the physical level and the spiritual level for one to fail to grow or neglect to grow.
When we were children, most of us had the fear that we would never grow up to adulthood. We could hardly wait until maturity was a reality. We were sympathetic toward those who for one reason or another did not fully develop physically or mentally.
It is absolutely necessary that we follow a program that will make spiritual maturity possible. This is true for many reasons.
I. A baby Christian cannot do the work of a mature Christian.
• Even as a growing boy would be terribly frustrated if he thought that he would never be able to do the work of a man, the baby Christian would be upset if he did not have hope of someday being able to do the work of a full-grown Christian.
• Growth is absolutely essential if we would do the work God would have us to do and which in our heart we want to do.
II. A baby Christian cannot understand the deep things of God.
• Often parents will say to a child, “You are not old enough to understand.”
o In many instances this is true.
• The same is true on the spiritual level.
o The writer of the book of Hebrews grieved over the spiritual immaturity of those to whom he was writing.
o He declared that their lack of growth made it impossible for them to understand the things he was trying to communicate to them.
o He rebuked them because, at a time when they should have had the capacity to be teachers, they needed to be taught themselves.
o Instead of being able to eat the strong meat of the Word of God, they were infants on a milk diet.
• He wrote, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In 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! 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” (5:11 – 14).
III. A baby Christian who does not grow cannot escape discontentment and unhappiness.
• Did you ever know a boy who was rejoicing that he was not growing toward manhood?
• How many girls have you known who wept when it was time to quit playing with dolls and to start looking at boys?
• Many of the conflicts that plague the fellowship of the church are the direct results of the wretched unhappiness of those who are still in the spiritual nursery when they ought to be mature enough to vote in the spiritual realm.
o Paul declared that one of the problems that disrupted the fellowship of the church at Corinth was the immaturity of many of the members:
o “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Cor. 3:1 – 3).
IV. A baby Christian will receive only a baby’s reward.
• There are laws that forbid the employment of children until they reach an age where work will not be detrimental to their growth and education.
• When young people reach the age where they can become employees, they usually start out at the bottom of the wage ladder, for they have little or no experience and therefore probably do not merit a high wage.
• Did it ever occur to you that if you never grow and develop so as to become an effective servant of the Lord, you will not receive greater responsibility and greater rewards?
• As training and preparation prepare one for a better income, so growth, training, and experience make possible a greater responsibility here and a greater reward in heaven for the children of God.
Are you a babe in Christ? You do not have to remain a babe. Are you an adolescent who is in a process of growing toward spiritual maturity? Are you rejoicing in the privilege of being spiritually mature and effective in the Service of the Lord? If so, do not rest upon your laurels, for you can continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.