CHRISTIAN CHARACTER PART 1
Verses 14-16. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, Who is the HEAD, even Christ, from Whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint provides, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
These verses give a clear picture of PROGRESSIVE and STEADY GROWTH when we read phrases like: No longer children, grow up in all aspects into Him, causes the growth of the body.
I saw a sticker on a Mini Cooper once that read: “WHEN I’M BIG, I’LL BE A ROLLS ROYCE”. The born again believer can say: WHEN I AM BIG, I”LL BE LIKE THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
The Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ, has placed within the Church an EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE MEANS to cause the growth of His Body, both individually and corporately. He gave the FIVEFOLD MINISTRY for this purpose.
NOBODY IS BORN AGAIN FULLY GROWN.
All growth is a gradual process which begins with the meeting of a seed and an egg. As believers born again of the Spirit (1 Peter 1:23) we cannot force spiritual growth but we can assist by being obedient to the Word and will of God. Maturity comes as a result of a learning process as we live through life’s experiences.
E.G. A young girl wearing her mother’s clothes does not make her a mature woman. Neither does a believer carrying a big, marked Bible, praying 3 hours a day, attending 4 meetings a week, make him mature. PUTTING GOD’S WORD INTO PRACTICE IN EVERYDAY LIVING, TRIALS AND CIRCUMSTANCES BRINGS ABOUT TRUE MATURITY. IT TAKES TIME AND PRACTICE!
EVERY STAGE OF GROWTH IS WONDERFUL.
Babyhood is not a shame, neither is childhood, adolescence, young adulthood or adulthood/manhood. IT IS ONLY A SHAME IF YOU STAY AT ANY STAGE!
OLD BABIES are folk who have been saved for many years and are still babies because of a lack of understanding as to where they are, where they ought to be and how they ought to get there.
The world often experiences these old babies and are given a false impression of what followers of Christ really are.
An immature believer finds it difficult to handle the pressures of trials, circumstances and discipline.
Counterfeit maturity is unsanctified ego and is evident in those people who want to impress others and receive praise with their “spirituality”. E.G. They boast of how many people they witness to, how long they pray, how much they study the Word etc.
On the other hand, the mature with a willing heart get on with the “doing” without much “saying”.
DISCIPLINE PRODUCES MATURITY.
A person who cannot take the discipline of the Word of God or loving correction from others in the Body of Christ will never grow up. When folk are confronted with change they throw tantrums or sulk as a baby, or want to run away from home as a teenager.
IMPORTANT. Sickness, calamity and destruction are not God’s means of discipline. The Word of God is God’s true rod of correction. It is when we are threatened by those storms of life that we must be found under the discipline of God’s infallible Word. A mature believer will be found steadfast and immovably established in the Word, instead of capitulating to the circumstances and giving up in fear.
CHARACTERISTICS OF BABYHOOD.
1 Peter 1:23-2:2. The scriptures here draw a parallel between the NATURAL and the
SPIRITUAL. We are therefore able to take the natural processes of life and growth and apply them to our lives and growth spiritually.
BABYHOOD is where we all start as believers. The born again experience from above by the Holy Spirit parallels natural birth. John3:1-8.
Innocence. 2Corinthians 5:17. Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.
A newborn baby has a brand new life starting at birth into this world and there is only a future to look forward to!
Just as a natural baby itself has no past , and only brings the DNA history of the parents into this world, so God is now our Father and we are born into His Spiritual DNA, His family, His attributes, His nature, His Name, His authority, His reputation and His accomplishments .John 1:12.
It is the hidden man of the heart that has no past and only a new, great future.1 Peter 3:4.
When the scripture states that all things have become new, it means SPIRITUALLY.
We still remain the same mentally and physically in the sense of our mental knowledge and our physical appearance. Now by the Holy Spirit we are able to have our minds transformed to think from above, instead of thinking from below. Romans 12: 2, Romans 3.1-2.
Hebrews 5:13. Babies are ignorant of spiritual knowledge and experience i.e. they have not yet lived God’s Word experientially.
Other than knowing how to crave milk or sustenance from it’s mother and other basic human instincts, a baby knows nothing.
The sure signs of a healthy spiritual baby are the person’s thirst for God’s Word, the questioning (why, why, why??), the hunger and desire for more of Jesus and to be in the warmth of fellowship with believers.
That is why newborns require ‘parental’ care by their older siblings in the Body of Christ.
They are to have a solid foundation of the Word laid in their early lives. Hebrews 6:1-2.
1 Thessalonians 2:7-11. We are not to be baby neglectors, baby bashers or abusers.
Babies demand attention and if not given quickly, they will let you and the whole world know all about it! They are impatient (It’s my way and I want it now!), self-pleasers, easily frustrated and distracted, fidgety and restless, re-acting to their basic instincts and desires. 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.
E.G. If you do not greet them properly, they think that you do not like them; if you do not spend plenty of time with them, they think that you do not care and are neglecting them; if you are not giving them constant attention they think they have done something wrong.
This is what every adult believer must realize: Babies do not really know how to help themselves, feed themselves, stand and walk themselves. Without proper care and attention, the mortality rate of spiritual infants is high. Romans 15:1-2.
All these traits of spiritual babies are true, but are also the normal first stage of the growth process towards being conformed to the image and likeness of their Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 8:29.
If a person cannot feed, stand or walk in the Word of God then they are still infants in Christ. This is not a stage to condemn but rather to help them grow.