TRAINING THAT LASTS ETERNALLY

GROWTH METER: MERE INFANTS OR MATURE IN CHRIST?

Series : PART III

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.


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. Nevertheless, solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.

Hebrews 5:11 – 6:3

Training – we come across this word so often in our lives – be it school, college or work. Any training is to help one grow from knowing very little or nothing to excelling in a particular task or subject. Today, laypersons are taking up training classes and becoming professionals in so many things.

Think about it. If a layperson needs training to grow in a particular field here on earth – how much more do we, believers, need to grow in Jesus Christ to become like Him? We repeatedly say that we want to be like Jesus – but the truth is, we cannot become like Him unless we train ourselves in His character, mind and ways. And, this is a training that will not be rewarded here on earth alone, but has its reward in eternal life.

One of the sign that shows us that infants are growing up well is in their ability to digest food from liquids to semi-solids and then solids. An infant needs to be gradually trained to digest semi-solids after liquids and then gradually fed solids until the child can actually chew and swallow solid food. It is a process, yet it is an intentional process that parents undertake to help the infant grow and mature.

Training yourself to maturity in Christ is a training that will not be rewarded here on earth alone, but has its reward in eternal life.

Therefore, while addressing a group of believers, the author of Hebrews tells them that they cannot be fed solid food because they still need milk. While they ought to be teachers, they still need to be taught.

The author is pointing out at their lack of growth in the Lord. So, he is telling them how a mature person is someone who has trained themselves to distinguish good from bad by constant use of what they learnt from the beginning. Whereas, a person who is an infant still needs to be trained in elementary teachings of the faith. What are these elementary teachings? The author mentions it – repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about cleansing rites (baptism), the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

This is the clearest distinction between someone who is still an infant in the faith and someone who is maturing in Christ. Are you constantly going back to the essence of your faith in Jesus? Doubting and questioning your faith in His life, death and resurrection? Are you thinking twice about being baptized? Debating about leaders or mentors or if gifts exist in the first place? Confused about how those who pass away in the Lord will live eternally? Or not sure about heaven and hell? Well, if these are questions you keep going back and forth with – you know you are still an infant in the faith and need to be taught these elementary teachings.

Maturing in Jesus Christ is an option for all of us. It requires an intentional effort of knowing Him more, practicing what we learn from Him and obeying Him in every decision – be it big or small.

Yet, if you train yourself in these elementary truths day after day, minute after minute – you will be taken forward into maturity where now the elementary teachings will become a sure and firm foundation and you will be able to discern good from evil. What this means is that you will slowly and steadily grow in the righteousness of Jesus Christ and becoming more and more like Him.

Maturing in Jesus Christ is an option for all of us. It requires an intentional effort of knowing Him more, practicing what we learn from Him and obeying Him in every decision – be it big or small. One cannot be going to church Sunday after Sunday and maybe even serving in church, but not practicing what they have learnt from the Lord, and expect to grow in Him. No! Growing in Him is by consciously training yourself by knowing Him through His word and through prayer and being completely obedient to Him – in the easy as well as tough decisions. As the author of Hebrews says, by constant use train yourselves – Are you constantly meditating on God’s word to know Him deeper? The Psalmist says in Psalms 1:2 – Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. Are you prayerful and praying in the Spirit at all times? Paul says in Ephesians 6 : 18 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Are you acknowledging God always and in every area of your life? Proverbs 3:6 says, ‘in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’ This is how we need to train ourselves to become mature in Christ.

Being taken forward in maturity in Christ would mean that now you are not questioning God’s existence when trouble strikes you, but you trust in Him and are actually thinking about how to share about Him to others even in the midst of a storm in your life. Maturity in Christ means you are not fighting people who do something against you or hurt you or treat you badly, but you are fighting against principalities and powers of darkness in the spiritual realm through prayer. Maturity in Christ would mean you have left your petty ways of gossiping, fighting, and arguing and instead you are focused on loving everyone the same way.

We know we are growing in Maturity when we are growing –

  • In Jesus’ Character –

Hebrews 1 : 3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word…”. Jesus is like the Heavenly Father in every way – compassionate, kind, patient, loving, zealous and more.

The more we grow in a relationship with Jesus, the more we will grow in His likeness and character. That is why John says in 1 John 2:6, “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” Ask yourself every single day if you are growing in His likeness, imitating His character.

  • In Jesus’ Ways –

Jesus said He came to save the lost (Mark 2 : 17). In fact, when we read the gospels, we see that Jesus preached the good news about the Kingdom of God and healed all who came to Him, drove out impure spirits. He moved in the power of God.

When Jesus was talking to the disciples about ascending to heaven, he said this in John 14: 12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

He said we would do greater things than Him. What does that mean? He wants us to move in the power of God. He wants us to save the lost, to heal the sick, drive out impure spirits. Are we moving in the power of God? Are we maturing to become more like Jesus in the way He moved and did things?

  • In Jesus’ Mindset or Thinking –

One of the things that Jesus spoke about a lot was about the heart and mind. In fact, He said that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. He also said that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of (using the example of trees and their fruit). He talked about how what comes out of you is what defiles you rather than what you eat.

You see, Jesus knew that everything we think and understand decides what we believe and how we act. That is why He spoke about our thinking and the place of our hearts so much.

In fact Paul tells us to become like Jesus is our mindset or thinking, who being in the likeness of God did not consider equality with God (Philippians 2 : 5-7). Are we growing in thinking like Jesus? Are our thoughts aligned to His word?

Like the author in Hebrews said in Hebrews 6 : 1 – “Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity…”

A GOD-LED OR WORLD-LED LIFE?

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.

The Mature in Christ are people whose lives and minds are rested on the Kingdom of God and Kingdom values.

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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STANDING ON SOLID GROUND

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.

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.

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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