May I ask you a question? Are you a growing Christian? Are you moving toward maturity? You can be young only once, but you can be immature for a long time. Many churches have people who’ve been born again but cease to grow.
I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:13-14)
John mentions children, young men, and fathers. He’s talking about coming from childhood to adulthood, growing into maturity.
What are the marks of maturity? Not just spiritual health—a child can be spiritually healthy yet still be a child. Not giftedness. Samson was mightily gifted, but he was immature. Even the gifted Corinthian church, Paul had to confront: “So that ye come behind in no gift…” (1 Corinthians 1:7) but he said, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1).
Your heart can be right with God, filled with the Holy Spirit, but still immature.
Maturity is Christ-likeness. “Till we all come…unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). “…teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28). Perfect doesn’t mean sinless; it means mature.
Maturity is a lifelong process, not a hundred-yard dash. No one is instantly mature. If you want to grow a squash, it will take you 40 days. An oak will take you 40 years.
Whatever your age, no one is saved full grown. Thank God for baby Christians, but baby Christians have to grow up. In one sense, a church is a maternity ward. But some stay in the maternity ward far too long.
Moving from milk bottles to mighty battles, baby Christians should become workers and warriors. “I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.” When you begin to grow, you’re no longer being served but a servant, a worker, a warrior. The Word of God has made you strong. Don’t let Satan have his way because he’s fighting an army of children. Is the devil afraid of you? Young men are strong; they’ve overcome the wicked one. Are you a threat to Satan’s kingdom? Does the Word of God abide in you? From there you move into the wisdom of adulthood. “I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known Him that is from the beginning.” An adult has come to mature wisdom; he knows, he understands. He’s been with the Lord so long, his life begins to manifest the likeness of God. If you’re a woman or a young person, this applies to you, too.
A father has children. Have you reproduced? Will you bring spiritual children to Jesus’ feet? A father imparts wisdom to his spiritual children to help them to grow in grace.
How do we grow from childhood to adolescence to maturity?
You will not instantly be mature. There are no shortcuts. Remain steadfast, and you will grow.
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby;” (1 Peter 2:2). Feed daily on the Word of God. That’s where your strength lies. Saturate your heart and life with the Word.
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil,” (Hebrews 5:14). We have so many flabby Christians because Sunday after Sunday they sit, soak, and sour. Find something in your church to do. Help in a ball club, the dining hall, in a class, in the jail ministry. Don’t sit like a turtle on a log. Serve.
Are you a growing Christian? There’s a battle to fight, work to be done. I want you to become a spiritual father, reminding others of God. I want you to grow so much with God that you begin to look like Him and act like Him.