I remember the day I weaned my last child. It was bittersweet. I had anticipated the day, knowing that developmentally it was a necessary step for Ben and let’s face it, I was looking forward to more freedom…but…I was sad to let go. It was the end of an era for both of us.
I also remember watching Ben begin to feed himself. (He didn’t want my help anymore.) He was puffed up with pride as he worked to navigate the runaway peas from his plate to his mouth via the chunky spoon in his chubby hand. He was asserting one of his very first steps in independence as he took on the responsibility to feed himself. He had reached an important marker…by becoming a “self-feeder.”
It would be pretty weird if Ben had never made the step towards self-feeding. (He is, after all, 21 years old, 6’3” and in his last year of college!)
Just like a child needs feeding for the first year, when we begin our life with Christ, we need lots of help to understand the Bible and unpack what this new life actually means and looks like.
But I wonder if sometimes we get stuck there…we don’t take the next step and learn to spiritually nourish ourselves. We instead create (as one writer put it), “an unhealthy dependence on supplemental nourishment” from books, Sunday sermons and study guides.
Now don’t get me wrong…there is HUGE value in gleaning from what others have to share, but it cannot replace the nourishment that comes from our own revelation of the Risen Christ. If we rely solely on other people for our nourishment, we will not mature and gain strength.
Maturity is a theme that we see regularly in the New Testament writings. The Apostle Paul wrote the church in Corinth this: Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind. (1 Corinthians 14:20)
The writer of Hebrews challenged the NT believers by saying this: 12 You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 5:12-14)
Spiritual maturity matters! It should be one of our primary goals!
Why is maturity so important?
Paul describes what happens to the spiritually immature. He says that they are “tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching.” (Ephesians 4:14)
Do you ever feel like you are being tossed and blown about? I do.
I am still learning to daily be nourished by Christ through His word so that I can be strong and mature. In fact, I want to be so grounded in Him that I provide nourishment for others.
In the next four weeks, we are going to hear from different writers who are a part of ZOE network on this very subject…learning to nourish ourselves.
Lean in…and let’s grow in maturity TOGETHER!
*Photo from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/12-bible-verses-hardworking-college-students
"In Luke 9 we find Jesus asking his disciples two questions: Who do others say I am? Who do you say I am? In wrestling with that text, I've realized that Jesus invites us on a journey of discovering the truth about who He is. And the only way for us to do that is to put disciplines and practices into our lives that create space for the Almighty God to move us from a place of immature understanding (milk) to a place of mature understanding (solid food). Some of my (and we're all different) favourite disciplines and practices include: Inductive Bible Study, Silence and Solitude, Sabbath, and Practicing Presence. Some other things I regularly enjoy are learning from exceptional Bible teachers, listening to podcasts from leaders I respect, and working on my Master's degree. Spiritual maturity should be one of our primary goals, and how or where we spend our time tells a story of the value we place on our own spiritual growth. So, let's 'lean in' so that we can confidently answer the question of who Jesus is. Praying your roots in Christ go deep!"
Carmen is a wife, mother of six, speaker, licensed minister with the PAOC, and leader. She serves as the Executive Director of Advancement at Horizon College and Seminary while also studying for her Master's degree. Her life purpose: To live out her God-given identity, and help others find theirs.
"Spiritual maturity is a topic that is not talked about enough. There are bible studies to encourage growth but in terms of developing as strong Christians, we often fall short. I believe that in many ways we are 'surface-level' Christians. We let the words of Christ touch outside our lives but don't let it in to saturate our lives. We need to study the word of God and act on the gift of grace that demands a response. It is easy to follow study books and have a devotional time every night in the sense that it follows a 'plan' and these things can be helpful in challenging us, however, there needs to be more to our relationship with God than 5-minute devotions. We must develop an understanding and our lives should reflect this monthly."
Brianna is a student at Vanguard Bible College in Edmonton. She interned with AB/NWT PAOC this past year in women's ministries. She is very passionate about women knowing their identity in Christ and being free to move forward into all that they are gifted in.
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