Before Cathy and I had children, we had no idea how much work it took raising kids. I suppose we did not think it would be easy…but the reality is the workload is enormous. Kids don’t simply grow up by themselves.
Before we had children, we were under the illusion that as parents you put in your 18 years then your work is over. You can now kick back and relax as happy parents.
Since all of our children are now older than 18, I can tell you that once you have children, your parenting work never ends. In fact, I think it may even get harder as the kids get older.
Your spiritual growth is the same. It does not simply happen automatically. It takes work. And the more you grow spiritually the more work it takes to continue growing spiritually.
When you are a spiritual infant it takes a bit of work to grow to age 1. When you are spiritually 18, it takes much more work to spiritually grow to 20.
Have you ever known someone who’s been following Jesus for a long time but is not very spiritually mature? Sure you have. You can tell by the way they talk, the way they act, the things they are doing.
So what happened? Why haven’t they grown more? The answer is surprisingly simple. Year after year they failed to put in the work necessary to grow spiritually. As a result, they never spiritually grew up.
The problem is not new. The writer of Hebrews mentions it about 2,000 years ago:
We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 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 (Hebrews 5:11-14).
The problem was very straightforward. These people had been followers of Jesus for a while now. They should have been spiritually mature enough to be teachers. Instead they still needed someone to teach them the basic truths of God’s word. They needed spiritual milk instead of being able to eat real spiritual food.
So what happened? Why did they end up this way? Two reasons:
- In verse 11, we see that they stopped trying to understand spiritual truth. They gave up working hard for their spiritual growth. They had been coasting spiritually for a long time.
- In verse 14, we learn they stopped training themselves to distinguish good from evil. They gave up the constant use of the practices necessary to grow spiritually.
As a result, in spite of being followers of Jesus for a long time, they did not experience the spiritual growth they should have.
How long have you been a follower of Jesus?
Would you say the level of your spiritual growth is appropriate for the amount of time you have been a follower of Jesus?
Would say your spiritual growth is ahead or behind your spiritual age?
The important takeaway is to realize spiritual growth always takes work. Spiritually we never arrive at a place where we can coast and continue growing spiritually. On any given day we are really either growing spiritually or shrinking spiritually.
Remember, growing spiritually simply requires daily effort. Put in the daily effort and you will become mature. You’ll no longer be a spiritual infant or adolescent, but rather a full spiritual grownup.