Growing in Christ
Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. 1 Corinthians 13:9-12
One becomes a Christian by experiencing a new birth. When Jesus was asked by Nicodemus how he could enter the kingdom of God, “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Everyone who comes to know Christ as Lord and Savior must begin as a spiritual baby. As a baby craves for milk, a spiritual babe in Christ also finds nourishment from the truth found in the word of God. “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness” (1 Peter 2:2-3). However, a spiritual babe will not remain as an infant but will grow and will start to leave childish things. This is what the apostle Paul was telling the believers in Corinth from the text. Christians growing in faith and in the word of God demonstrate spiritual attributes that characterize development and spiritual progress. This is in contrast to what Paul described previously in this letter to Corinth. “When I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ... for you are still controlled by your sinful nature” (1 Corinthians 3:1, 3). As parents expect their babies to grow, God also expects His children to grow into men and women where the appetites to selfish and sinful living are starting to diminish. They continue to live their lives obtaining spiritual nourishments and get trained in applying biblical truths. “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 5:13-14). They will also become discerning of false teachings and will not be easily persuaded by wrong philosophies. “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth” (Ephesians 4:14). Christians are expected to mature in their faith and this maturity becomes visible in their understanding and behavior. As Peter told the believers to pursue spiritual growth, make this also your goal as you seek to grow in your relationship with God. “You must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).