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I have had many seasons of spiritual growth where I felt that I was on top of the world and I have had seasons where I felt almost spiritually dead. I want to share this with you all today because like me you can get over the bad seasons. To do this you need to understand that there are many phases in your growth as a Christian. By understanding what stage you are currently in will help you maturely move forward in Him. You start as baby in Christ, then a child, then you enter the youth stage, and the final stage is Christian maturity. But many times your growth will be out of order. Sometimes the Holy Spirit hits you like a brick when you are called to do something. I will go over these stages and by understanding which stage you are in you should understand what areas in your spiritual walk you need to work on and pray about.
“In fact, though by now you should be teachers, you still need someone to teach you the basic truths of God’s word. You have become people who need milk instead of solid food. For everyone who lives on milk is still a baby and does not yet know the difference between right and wrong. But solid food is for mature people, whose minds are trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.”
Your age does not dictate what stage in spiritual growth you are in. Many people because of their age or work background automatically feel the need to teach or want to have some sort of authority. Yet as a Christian you must humble yourself and accept that no matter what stage you are in you will need a mentor and you will still be learning since we are not perfect in any means. Your first step is when you first dedicate yourself to Jesus Christ and His following. You learn the foundations of repentance, faith, and salvation. At this stage you are to focus yourself in learning the word of God and surrounding yourself with positive role models to learn from. You must ground yourselves in the foundation doctrines so as you go forward you will not be shaken be unbelievers.
“Then we will no longer be little children, tossed like waves and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, or by clever strategies that would lead us astray. Instead, by speaking the truth in love, we will grow up completely and become one with the head, that is, one with the Messiah, in whom the whole body is united and held together by every ligament with which it is supplied. As each individual part does its job, the body builds itself up in love.”
As a child in Christ, you have a clear understanding of the fundamentals of Christian doctrine and your life is dedicated to the Lord. This next stage of your growth you must understand the headship of Jesus and the body of the church. As we are the body of Christ we are to help one another. By contributing to one another in love we grow stronger. You will start to become better grounded and become part of the bigger picture so to speak. In this stage you start to focus more on felowship and loving thy neighbor.
1 John 2:14
“I have written to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known the one who has existed from the beginning. I have written to you, young people, because you are strong and because God’s word remains in you and you have overcome the evil one.”
When in the youth stage of Christian growth, worldly desires and the amount of sinning starts to diminish more. With better understanding and having your faith tested by either satan, worldly desires or sins of the flesh and coming out on top your faith is stronger. You understand that through Jesus Christ you can overcome all obstacles. This does not mean you will not be tempted, or that you will never succumb to sin again. If you sin, you are quicker to understand what has happened and with prayer and repentance you will bounce back faster than in the earlier stages. With time, prayer, and continued learning in the word of God you will soon start to be on your way in becoming a mature Christian.
“Now we who are strong ought to be patient with the weaknesses of those who are not strong and must stop pleasing ourselves. Each of us must please our neighbor for the good purpose of building him up.”
As a mature Christian your focus starts to shift on building up your neighbors and you start your discipleship journey. God gifts everyone in different ways. Some may be a gift of understanding, others may be a gift of knowledge, some have more patience and some are called to preach. As you mature, you let the Holy Spirit lead you where God wants you to be. You must now turn around and give your testimony! Share what so many taught you and what you have learned from your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. By sharing your ups and downs and surviving them, you will be a beacon of light to those who need it. It will not be by your words, but by your actions that people will see God in you. You must be filled with love and generosity.
Now that I have explained the stages of spiritual growth in Christianity I pray that you will know what you are needing to get over the hump. If you are a child in Christ, there is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a wonderful thing to be honest with yourself and with our Heavenly Father. Learn your short comings and strong points and pray for God to make your path clear in Him. Only by doing this will you start to get over what ever stage of growth you are in and walk your way closer to God and spiritual maturity. I am finishing this sermon with a small prayer today.
“Lord, I am a sinner, by nature and by choice. I can’t do anything to earn your favor. I turn to you, Lord Jesus, as my only hope. I trust your perfect obedience to be credited to me. I trust your blood to pay for my sins. I trust your resurrection power to give me eternal life. And now, Lord, I surrender my entire self to you. I will seek to obey your commands and follow where you lead. When I fail, forgive me and pick me up and guide me by your Spirit to become more and more like you Lord. Thank you, Father for your great love and for the wonderful peace and assurance I can have in you. Amen.”