GROWTH METER: MERE INFANTS OR MATURE IN CHRIST?
Series : PART II
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.
Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?
1 Corinthians 3 : 1 – 3
When we try feeding infants solid food, they either throw up, cry or push the food away. Some infants accept the solid food, but they vomit it out because their body is still not ready to digest it. Some others do not even accept it because they cannot enjoy it – one bite and they will zip their mouths and cry if you try giving them more.
Apostle Paul understood this aspect about infants very well. That is why when he was addressing the church in Corinth, who were quarreling, having strife and jealousy among themselves, he told them that they were behaving like mere infants in the faith. What Paul was saying was that he could not talk to them like those who have matured, who can digest solid food, simply because they were still worldly. He is saying this because even if he talks to them about deeper truths of God, they simply will not accept it or even if they do hear him out, they will spit it out.
When he says ‘worldly’ – he is pointing out to their attitude, their understanding and lifestyle. As we read the book of Corinthians, we understand that believers in the church in Corinth were jealous of each other and having fights among themselves because they were simply making decisions based on worldly values and perspectives rather than making God-led (Spirit-led) decisions. They were getting into fights with each other and not talking to one another. They were jealous of each other, so much so that they rejected people – including Paul himself. They were divided based on idolising men (choosing either Paul or Apollos), they took each other to court instead of talking things out among themselves, one expected women to behave a certain way and other expected another. All these divisions and fights came up because these people were thinking, living and talking like the world – based on the principles of the world.
This is exactly why when Paul begins dealing with the issues among them, he starts off by saying that he can’t talk to them as ‘people who are led by the Spirit’.
In fact, Paul goes on to tell the Corinthians that they are behaving like mere humans. Why is Paul questioning them for behaving like ‘mere humans’? It is because he knows that those who are led by God live as though earth is not their home. They are people whose life and mind is rested on the Kingdom of God and Kingdom values.
That’s right! Being mature in Christ would mean being wholly dependent and led by the Spirit, living every moment and making every decision based on what God desires.
Maturity, according to the word of God here in 1 Corinthians 3 : 1-3, is living according to God’s standard and God’s leading. Maturity is what Abraham did, when he obeyed God and left his land to go to an unknown land that God promised to give him, not worrying about his security. It is what Rahab did when she hid the Israelite spies because she understood that the God of Israel is the living God, not fearing mere men. It is what Ruth did when she went along her mother-in-law after her husband’s death at a young age, not worrying about what her future would look like. It is actually what Jesus Christ did when he died on the cross forgiving those who rejected and crucified Him.
On the contrary, the Spirit of God teaches us to bless those who curse us, to love the unlovable, to forgive the worst of sins, to embrace the lonely.
In today’s world, it is so easy for us Christians to be ‘worldly’, to go with the flow, to please the world and live the way culture demands us to and according to our flesh. The Corinthians were doing that, they were going with the worldly culture – that demanded idolising someone, that demanded showing themselves greater than one another and that demanded fighting their way forward. The world and flesh refuses to submit to correction, refuses to love those who are against us, and refuses to forgive those who have hurt us. On the contrary, the Spirit of God teaches us to bless those who curse us, to love the unlovable, to forgive the worst of sins, to embrace the lonely. The Spirit of God teaches us to trust God and take steps that seem like foolishness in this world but wisdom in Him. Like Mary, the mother of Jesus, who didn’t let go of the child she conceived as a virgin, instead bore the shame in society to bring forth the Messiah, the savior of the world. Like the disciple Peter, who walked on the water when the waves were crashing and heavy winds were blowing. Paul says in Galatians 5 : 22-25 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
Maturity in Christ means keeping in step with the Spirit and living according to God’s standard.
Are you being God-led or World-led? Introspect and ask yourself.
Say this prayer with me if you desire growing out of infancy to maturity in Christ – Lord, would you help me to grow from infancy by living according to this world’s standard to maturity by being completely led by your Spirit. Give me the spirit of discernment to discern between what is from you and what is not, that I may walk in step with you. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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