Once one becomes a Christian, he is expected to remain
faithful. One must realize that Christianity is a way of life, not just
an occasional activity. He is expected to grow and become stronger as
time progresses. There are many things he incorporates into his life,
such as prayer, Bible study, worshipping God, sharing the gospel with
others, serving others, finding a local church that follows the pattern
outlined in the New Testament, and generally living a moral, upright
life. Yes there are also things he cannot do and if his heart is right,
he will not want to do these things, because they are contrary to a life
of serving God. Here we want to examine the Christian's need to grow.
In every aspect of life, growth is expected. To survive,
a business must grow. Plants, once they are planted, must grow to be
useful and to survive. When a child is born, it too is expected to grow
and develop. In fact we have criteria that we use to determine if one is
developing normally. By a certain age, a child is expected to know and
understand certain things. He is expected to have physically developed
to a certain stage depending upon how old he is. When the child falls
short of this criteria, we begin to become concerned. We take steps,
where possible, to help him develop to be where he ought to be. If for
some reason this is not done, we know that we have a problem. Well the
same is true spiritually. There are a number of passages that teach the
importance of growth.
The Hebrew writer rebuked those to whom he wrote telling
them, "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need
someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God;
and you have come to need milk and not solid food." (Hebrews 5:12).
As he wrote to these brethren he noted their failure to properly grow.
Continuing, he explained it telling them, "For everyone who
partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he
is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is,
those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both
good and evil. Therefore, laying aside the discussion of elementary
principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection..." (5:13-6:1a).
It is clear that the fact they had not learned as they ought to was a
problem that needed to be remedied.
Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:18, "...but grow in the
grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." Earlier,
he wrote, "as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that
you may grow thereby, (1 Peter 2:2), pointing to the fact that we ought
to desire to grow as Christians. Paul, prayed for the Colossians,
"that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him,
being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of
God;" (Colossians 1:10) Increasing in the knowledge of God implies
growth. And being fruitful is a characteristic of one who is mature,
that is, he has grown to the point of producing fruit. To the
Thessalonians he wrote, "We are bound to thank God always for you,
brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and
the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other," (2
Thessalonians 1:3). They were commended for their faith growing.
2 Peter 1:5-11 describes the process of growing in the
life of a Christian. He begins by saying, "...giving all diligence,
add to your faith, virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge
self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if
these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor
unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ..." Note how
in this text, that the life of a Christian is a building process. We
find that with diligence we are to "add" to that which already
exists. This demands growth.
When one becomes a Christian, he must understand this.
Or else he will find himself turning back to the world where he will be
worse off than when he began (2 Peter 2:20-22).
Are you interested in obeying the gospel and
surrendering your life to serving God? If so, let us help you do this.