Grow Up

1 Corinthians 3:1-3 NLT - Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. 2 I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, 3 for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?

1 John 4:7-8 NLT - Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.  

The goal for every Christian is to mature.  There are many parallels with childhood to adulthood in our spiritual lives.  As with babies learning to interact and talk, there’s the need to recognize our Father and desire His presence while learning to communicate with Him in private and public prayer.  There’s our need to become proficient at “self-feeding” in terms of contemplative study of Scripture and a healthy diet of spiritual health food in the form of books, podcasts, classes, etc.  (Immaturity craves only junk food).  Maturity is also demonstrated by our ability to reproduce.  Specifically we sow the seeds of the word of God in a way that produces new life, new birth experiences - coupled with our responsibility to care for new “babies” in Christ.  Finally, maturity is demonstrated by the ability to resolve differences, love beyond disagreements, and forgive rather than “pout”, “throw fits”, or “take one’s toys and go home.”  Spiritual immaturity often craves the highs of spiritual experiences and emotional release with less taste for actually going to work every day in our Father’s business.  As a result, spirituality among the immature is usually measured by seeking pleasure more than productivity, by convenience more than character, by getting more than by giving more, and by seeking short-term felt-needs rather than by making long-term commitments. Real responsibilities, caring for others, having to get along with people - this is maturity.  Yet Jesus modeled this maturity in that He did not live to please Himself, but He loved others by self-sacrifice so they could live and thrive.  The type of spiritual thrills and self-indulgence that many new or young believers needed and experienced simply cannot be maintained forever when they grow up into Christian maturity, at least not without increasing their commitment levels accordingly.  If the goal in the natural life is to develop into physical and emotional maturity, why would we not expect something similar in our spiritual lives?  What part of spiritual infancy or childhood do you still long for?  What does Scripture say about the character and behavior of Christian “grown-ups”?