Sunday, 12 June 2016

It's Time to Grow Up!

There is a huge difference between being childlike and childish: one blesses a church, the other drains a church. One is spiritual, the other is carnal.

Spiritual growth and maturity is an essential characteristic of a true Christian, yet infant behaviour seems rampant in so many churches. It was A. W. Tozer who said that the visible Church of Christ includes at least four classes of people: First, average people who come to church regularly but are never converted. They enjoy church, their friends are there, but they have never passed from death to life. Second, those who have trained to be Christians, but are not. They have learned the language, give the impression they are a Christian and others think of them as such. Third, there are those who are true Christians, but carnal and are still as they were when first saved. Finally, there are true Christians but ‘unfortunately these seem to be the minority in most churches’. Tozer’s comments make sad reading, but his challenge cannot be ignored. A similar picture is found in the New Testament where Paul refers to the Corinthians as ‘mere infants’ and ‘spiritual babes’; 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 ‘Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready’. The writer to the Hebrews speaks of believers being ‘slow to learn’; Hebrews 5:11-12 ‘We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food’! There is a huge difference between being childlike and childish: one blesses a church, the other drains a church. One is spiritual, the other is carnal.

There is something very tragic about an adult being childish. John Ortberg tells of a man called Denny who regularly attended church all his life, yet didn’t like the music and called in the local authority about the volume. Everyone guessed who had complained and laughed it off. However, Ortberg said it was no laughing matter as this guy was 60 years of age, his children couldn’t tolerate him, he stayed cranky and no one expected him to be any different. Those comments remind me of some words from Juan Carolos Ortiz, who said, ‘We have a phenomenon in the church today which I call the Eternal babyhood of the believer. We have members of our churches who, after years of hearing messages are just the same. They continually need a minister to keep after them, changing their diapers, putting talcum on them, and checking their milk isn’t too hot’. Perpetual infancy is not allowed in the Kingdom of God! Childish behaviour has to be addressed and confronted.

Immature, childish believers have these unhealthy traits:

• Self-centered – everything has to revolve around them.
• Influenced by their feelings – one minute they’re happy, the next           they’re screaming!
• Easily attracted by externals – a new sound or rattle quickly gets their   attention.
• Prefer play to work – unproductive apart from making work for others.
• Don’t take responsibility for their actions and behaviour.
• Live on a restricted diet, preferring to be spoon-fed and dependent.

Pastoring isn’t pampering! Growing as a Christian is a command not an option. Spiritual growth is a matter of attitude, not age. God has provided everything we need for growth, and maturity should be our burning ambition. If you’re wearing a small jacket, make sure you’re growing out of it!

Author: Alan Hewitt - AOG UK National Leadership Team 

May God bless and enrich your life

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  1. "WOW", Mr Hewitt, strong words, I found myself shouting "COME ON!!!" to every sentence. I pray with ALL my heart that everyone (including myself) will truly grasp the importance of this message from God. Thank you SO much for Blessing us by taking the time to write it. ALL the Glory to God ALWAYS AMEN. God Bless sister Tina

  2. Thank you for this message. I pray that we grow in Christ every day and in doing so get to know our Father more deeply each day. God bless

  3. Great message on the need for spiritual growth. God Bless

  4. What a wonderful words of which we need to hear I trust and pray that the Holy spirit will open our spirit mind so we follow Christ to maturity

  5. strong message much needed . being born again is the first open door to our salvation? we can not sit on it? there is a long journey ahead? much growing to do in Christ . This blog is a good (open window ) to what can happen if we are not surrendered to Christ

  6. Wow - Powerful words. What a blessing. Praise God for working through you to give such crucial, important message. I pray it speaks to many as it did to me. Amen