“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding” (Hebrews 6:1, NLT).
Deciding to become a follower of Jesus is a crucial step, but it is only the first step of a life-long journey. Rather than remaining infants in the faith, God desires for each one of us to grow, to learn, to improve, to mature. This process, commonly referred to as discipleship, enables a person to go deeper in his or her understanding of God while getting to know Him better and better. Ultimately, it allows the Holy Spirit to work within us, transforming us to become more like Jesus.
For this to happen, however, we must first do away with four false assumptions:
False Assumption 1: Growth is Automatic
Salvation comes as the result of God’s grace in response to our faith. Growth, however, takes planning, commitment, and significant effort. Believers who sit back and passively wait for growth to occur will never experience all that God has for them.
False Assumption 2: Growth Comes With Experience
We all have experiences, but they do not necessarily cause growth. In truth, some people stop growing because of their experiences. Others use experiences as a substitute for growth, expecting that those experiences somehow replace the need to grow. We must choose to use our experiences as a catalyst for growth, not a barrier to it.
False Assumption 3: Growth is the Result of Age
A 17-year-old can be more mature than a person in his seventies. Pastor and author Chuck Swindoll has explained it like this: “There is an enormous difference between growing old in the Lord and growing up in Him. One is automatic and requires no effort at all… just aging. But the other is never automatic or easy. It calls for personal discipline, continual determination, and spiritual desire. Churches are full of sleepy saints who are merely ‘logging time’ in God’s family.”
False Assumption 4: Growth Comes from Information
Consider a musician. A person could study all the inner workings of a piano and master all levels of musical theory, but until his or her hands actually touch the keyboard, no growth as a musician actually occurs. Gaining information is important, but it is not until the information is applied that growth occurs.
So if spiritual growth is not dependent on those assumptions, what does it take to grow? How can we intentionally grow as followers of Jesus? That will be the subject of the next blog entry.
Coming up next: What Spiritual Growth Requires.