God desires growth not distraction

An often-misunderstood subject is that of Christian maturity. Just as we would think something very wrong if a baby fails to grow and mature physically, so it is equally wrong if a believer in Jesus Christ fails to grow and mature spiritually. A babies growth demands routine feeding, washing, clothing, possibly medication, human interaction, and exercise. These essentials enable growth and maturing, and they must be facilitated by parents or caregivers. These are the non-negotiable necessities of life.
God desires growth not distraction
Likewise, believers in Jesus Christ, from rebirth onwards, require routine feeding, washing, clothing, spiritual exhortation, fellowship, and exercise through service. There are no exceptions, and no valid excuses for stepping aside from or resisting these God given essentials. Similarly, there is no justification for preventing, withholding, or limiting these life-critical elements from other believers.

Peter’s exhortation to grow in our salvation has no expiry date (1Pe 2:2), because growth is the correct response for all who have tasted that the Lord is good (1Pe 2:3). In fact, Peter says our desire for spiritual growth should reflect the craving of a new baby for milk, and this milk is the living and abiding word of God (1Pe 1:23).

Proclaiming Christ was central to the apostle Paul’s teaching, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me (Colossians 1:28-29). Paul, like Peter, understood the necessity for Christ centered biblical teaching that would stimulate spiritual growth. Regardless of his struggles and the many setbacks he experienced from others, Paul persevered in this task with unparalleled tenacity.

For Paul, spiritual growth towards maturity (Christlikeness) was not optional, nor could it be exchanged for any worldly focus which would distract from it. However, the arch enemy of God, accompanied by our fleshly humanness, seek to interfere with God’s plan for spiritual growth towards maturity in Christ. Jesus included this in His parable of the seed in Luke 8:14. As for what (seed) fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

More than ever, those who hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, who have the Word of God faithfully invested into them, are confronted by the world’s loud and persistent voices demanding to take the place of authority in their minds. Sadly, all too often, the world’s compelling messages convince the listener that the cares and riches and pleasures of life are to take priority over Christ.

God’s ingenious and protective design for His people is that they will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14). This is discovered within the local Church, where Christ provides teaching leaders to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13).

May the year 2022 be a year when distractions are pushed aside, and Christ and His Word alone take the place of authority. May we pursue Christlike growth for His glory and the sharing of His gospel.

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