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.