GROWTH METER: MERE INFANTS OR MATURE IN CHRIST?
Series : PART I
About the series
A lot of us have come to the point where we believe in Jesus. Some of us are also dedicated to go to church, participate in church activities, and sometimes even lead groups, worship, children’s ministry and so on. But, when it comes to our walk with Jesus, we move on with life and watch ourselves constantly going back and forth with the core aspects of our faith like overcoming sin, our very belief and faith in Jesus, indecisive about what is good and evil and so on. Why is that? It is simply because we are not making efforts to GROW, to MATURE in Christ. There are three portions of Scripture where our growth in Christ is compared to the growth of an infant to adulthood – and this is a great growth meter for us to see where we stand in our life. In this three-part series, we are going to learn why we should not be infants and instead become those who are mature in Christ and how to do this.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
Ephesians 4 : 11 – 16
Have you seen a little baby, an infant, moving around? I’m a mother of an infant now and I often observe that my child does not stay on a particular object or in a particular space for more than a few seconds. She does not even know which object is good for her and which is not, and so she goes around trying to touch, pick and put everything that she comes across in her mouth.
When Paul addresses the church in Ephesus, one thing that He tells them is that all the works of service is for the church to be built up until we become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then He points out to this aspect about infants – how they easily believe and follow anything that seems good to their senses. He says in Ephesians 4 : 14-15, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
What does Paul mean by ‘infants being tossed back and forth by the waves’? He’s talking about how when tough situations hit some people, they are tossed back and forth. They are not stable. At one point, they say I will pray about the situation but in no time they question if God can possibly answer, help or deliver them. Being tossed around means – not fully trusting God, instead also following the opinions, suggestions and ways of the world.
For some people, who are like infants, these waves are their emotions. They feel really good when someone says something that they can hear and accept, but get utterly offended when they are corrected, rebuked or even redirected in another way. They feel happy when appreciated, but feel upset and snubbed if their work is not acknowledged. They show love to those who are good to them, but mock or ignore those who are not. They feel jealous of those doing better than them and feel boastful or superior over those that they assume are not doing as good as them.
Another aspect of those of us who are like infants is that they are blown by every wind of teaching and deceived by the craftiness of certain people. They are people who blindly believe certain teachings, traditions and beliefs, which have been passed down or taught to them, without checking what the word of God says about those things.
If we remain infants in our faith, it is as if we know the very basic things and think we can survive on that knowledge.
Just like a little baby is clueless and gullible, those who remain as infants in their faith in Jesus Christ, tend to lose track and are easily stirred by teachings, emotions or circumstances that come their way. This is simply because they know very little and try to face the world with that. This is, in fact, why infants need parents supervision all the time. If we remain infants in our faith, it is as if we know the very basic things and think we can survive on that knowledge. No! That is why, Paul tells us that we should no longer be infants, but grow and become mature in Christ.
So who is mature in Christ?
He answers that too. He says that mature people speak the truth in love. They speak it and they live it.
A person who is mature in Christ is completely reliant on the word of God and surrendered to God’s will. Everything that such a person does is based on the word of God as a solid foundation. That is why, if trials, temptations or even wrong teachings come their way, they are not moved. They constantly seek God to learn His truth and put it into practice to become mature in Christ.
Jesus also taught His disciples this key instruction. He used the example of a wise man who builds his house on a rock and a foolish man who builds his house on sand (Matthew 7 : 24-27). Jesus compares the man who builds his house on sand to someone who hears the word of God, believes it but does not practice it. And, he compares the wise man who builds his house on a rock to someone who hears the word of God and puts it to practice. Waves come, wind blows – the wise man’s house stands, while the foolish man’s house is destroyed.
This is exactly what Paul was saying too. If we believe in the elementary truths about Jesus and then remain satisfied with that without living out God’s word in every area of our life, growing in our calling and understanding deeper truths of God, we will remain infants – easily tossed around. But, that is not wise and that is not what God desires of us.
What God desires of us is to mature – to reach a point where we can know and speak His truth in love. We can grow towards maturity in Christ when we diligently seek Him in prayer, grow in our knowledge and understanding of Him through His word and obey Him in the smallest to greatest decisions of our lives.
Peter says in 2 Peter 3 : 18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…”
Let me tell you, we are all on the journey of reaching complete maturity as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 : 12, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
So, the question to ask yourself is – Am I easily tossed around by situations, my emotions, wrong teachings or beliefs? Am I able to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus? Am I growing closer to Him in prayer?
Grow in maturity by standing on the solid ground of believing and practicing God’s word in every area of your life, unlike infants who know very little and are easily swayed by whatever comes their way.
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