How To Develop Spiritual Maturity in Christ
By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)
Scripture Readings: Hebrews 5-7
Key Scripture Verses: Hebrews 5:13-14, Hebrews 6:12 (NIV, Life Application Bible)
“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”
“We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.”
The book of Hebrews establishes the superiority of Jesus above men, above all angels, and equal with God the Father. And to understand the authority of Jesus and to allow him to be our high priest, we need to understand more than the basics—we need to not only recognize the truths about Jesus being the son of God and that he died for atonement of our sins and to reconcile us with God, but also to be able to develop our faith beyond those basic lessons.
Just as an infant lives on milk, the new Christian having just accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior learns the basics of the Christian faith and that is enough to nurture him initially. But, only for a short while can that sustain him. Just like an infant needs to grow and to eventually eat solid food, we are to mature as Christians.
How do we do mature spiritually after having first heard the gospel message and accepted it? We have to learn what this Christian life is all about and how to live it and that is a mammoth task about us if we don’t have the proper tools. So, first we get with other believers who can teach us and guide us, because we can get quite confused trying to learn this on our own. And, we can be easily misguided if, in our enthusiasm, we seek guidance in the wrong way and from the wrong people.
We need to align ourselves with Christian believers whose beliefs and teachings are congruent with the scriptures—we must pray that God will lead us to those believers to be our teachers and mentors in our development.
And, so that means we have to be reading the Bible and studying it for ourselves, asking God to reveal himself to us in those words, to help us to understand more fully.
When we are new Christians, we need to grow and mature in our faith. It is only through maturing in faith that we will be able to sustain the patience and endurance required to be able to fully inherit the blessings intended for us.
We develop faith through scripture—God’s own letters to us, his own words recorded for that very purpose. This is explicitly stated in Romans 10:17: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”
When people ask how they are to develop their faith, how they can get over their doubts, how they can really know God, that is the answer—through his Word. And through prayer. And through becoming a member of a community of believers who can offer support.
When I need an answer about how to handle something in my life from a Christian perspective, I need to know how to find those answers. Because I can’t know in advance what problems I will face, I can prepare myself by my regular prayer life and reading of the scriptures. The more I know the scriptures, the more they are available to me in my consciousness when I need them and the more I know where to find the specific verses in the Bible when I need them. There are study aids that can also help me with this.
If we develop a practice of daily prayer and study, we are less likely to become lazy or complacent. I know Christians who think it’s a good idea to read the scriptures, but don’t really do that themselves, and then don’t really know how to rely on God when they are in crisis—they try to muster up the strength and courage to face something on their own—they’re not strong enough in their faith to weather the hardships. They miss the blessings of his love. They miss the abundance of his compassion. They miss the comfort they would get if only they would make the effort to know and love the living God by developing an ongoing, daily relationship with him.
The joy and abundance of the Christian life lies in the daily walk with Him. The present joy is in the journey. Let’s not miss the blessings.