When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things (1 Cor. 13:11 KJV).
The Apostle Paul illustrated a believer’s spiritual journey towards maturity, by recalling his own growth from childhood to manhood. First, he explained that we all begin our Christian walk in a childhood phase, and we gradually grow into the mature phase of a “man”. The Apostle John also teaches us that there is an intermediate phase, called “young men” (1 John 2:14).
Each of these phases of spiritual development have their own distinct characteristics. For example, Paul lists three characteristics of children in the faith, “I Spake as a child”, “I understood as a child”, and “I thought as a child”. You can simply listen to a person talk, and determine if they are babes or mature. The same is true of spiritual maturity.
God’s will for your life as a Christian, is to become spiritually mature. Just as humans are not born as adults, Christians are not born spiritually mature. It is our responsibility to grow up, first by drinking milk, and then by eating solid food. Spiritual maturity is not a function of how long we have been believers, our title, or what ministry office we hold. A spiritually mature Christian is defined by a Christ-like character, called the “perfect man” (Eph. 4:13).
What does a child need to grow up to maturity? (1 Pet. 2:2). What does today’s scripture say must happen when we “become a man”?
APPLY THE WORD
Where do you think you are in your Christian development? If you have difficulty with this self-assessment, look at how you talk, act, or think, and then compare it with Christ’s character.
Ask the Spirit of the Lord to help you feed on the Word, to grow to maturity in every area of your life.
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