Does becoming christ-like seem like an impossible task? I have heard that some people are reluctant to becoming a christian due to their belief that it is too much for them. This is understandable; but this could be said about doing what an adult does if you are a little child. No one expects a 4 year old to do what a 40 year old does and God does not either. we are taught that it takes time to grow spiritually.
Growing as Christians is a lot like growing physically as human beings. There are a number of analogies in the word of God that explain for us spiritual development by use of our physical growth. The starting point is birth. Jesus said, ”No one can see the kingdom of God without being born again”. [Jn. 3:3]. This birth is of “water and Spirit” [vs. 5] “what is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit”. [vs. 6] Through this birth we enter the kingdom of God, God’s family.
As spiritual newborns, we must “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” [1 Pet. 2:2]. Infants like nothing more than to nurse, and a new Christian’s desire for spiritual nourishment must be as strong. A baby that is not hungry would alarm the parents and pediatrician, and would be terrible if not corrected. Likewise a new Christian that is not interested in the milk of the word should cause great concern for their elders and brothers and sisters. Without food, there is no growth! Thankfully most babies and new Christians do want to be nourished and so, must be feed. [1 Pet. 5:2, Eph. 4:11, 12]
Children must continue to grow. Children who cease to grow mentally and physically will not be able to function in society. They will have to be carried, being unable to deal with normal everyday life. So too with God’s children. Paul wrote that when evangelist pastors and teachers fulfill their responsibilities, we will “no longer be infants or children, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery……..but we should grow up in every way into Him Who is the head, Christ” [Eph. 4:14, 15]. In order to do what normal Christian life requires we must grow to maturity.
Sadly, a lot of time is spent in the church on those who are spiritually babies. Many elders are more like baby sitters than the shepherds God would have them be. Paul wrote, “brethren, stop thinking like children. In respect to evil be infants, but in your thinking be mature”. [1 Cor. 14:20]. We must be teachable and, ”submit to those who are over us the Lord”. [1 Cor.16:15, 1 Thess. 5:12]
Our goal is to grow up and be like Jesus. Jesus is what maturity is all about. Paul wrote, “for those He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His son”. [Rom. 8:29] God decided in advance that we should become like His son so that Jesus might be the firstborn [that is Preeminent, here stressing Jesus is the pattern], among many brethren. We become like Jesus when we take in or absorb the word of God. After Paul explained the superiority of the new covenant, speaking of it said, “And all of us, gazing with unveiled faces on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory into glory as from the Lord, Who is the Spirit”. [2 Cor. 3:18] From the pages of our new testament we can clearly see Jesus and become like Him.
The need for maturity is obvious and the problems that come from not growing are clear, such as the many problems in Corinth. [1 Cor. 3:1-ff] And the warnings also. [Heb. 5:12-6:8] So let us move on to maturity and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen