By Tom Brown
Bible equates spiritual growth with natural growth. Just like a person is
born a baby, so we are born again a spiritual baby. For you
have been born again (1 Pet 1:23). Like newborn babies, crave pure
spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation (1 Pet
No one is born a full grown adult. The same is true spiritually: no one
is born again as a mature Christian. It takes time to grow. The way you grow
is through the spiritual milk of Godís Word. The more you feed on it
the more you will grow.
The Bible teaches us that there are basically three stages of spiritual
development. Paul mentions them in 1 Corinthians 14:20:
Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants,
but in your thinking be adults.
Notice the three levels of growth: infants, children and adultsóthat
pretty much summarizes human growth as well. Just like in the natural,
certain age groups generally behave in a certain way. I have noticed that
there are typical characteristics of Christians within their spiritual age
group. Baby Christians act one way, children behave in another way, and
spiritual adults do other things. Of course, our goal is to be a spiritual
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. Then we 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 men in their deceitful scheming. (Eph 4:13-14)
Where are You?
A map shows you how to get to your destination, but before you know where
to go, you have to find out where you are located. I think it would help you
in your spiritual growth to find out what stage of spiritual development you
are in. Once you know, then you will know what direction and improvements
you need to make to get you where God wants you.
Here are some characteristics of a baby Christian. The first two
distinctive qualities of a babe in Christ are quite positiveóhunger and
I remember when I first got saved I devoured the Bible; I gobbled it up.
I was so hungry to learn everything I could from the Word of God. Of course,
since I did not know anything, everything I read was new. I learned
something fresh every time I read the Bible. The growth in my life at that
time was tremendous. I can honestly say that I grew more in the first two
years of my walk with God than at any other time. That is normal.
The physical growth of babies is enormous the first few years, but they
slow up as they get older. Some Christians feel frustrated when they get
older in the Lord, because when they read the Bible, they donít seem to get
as much out of it as they used to. Well, if you are looking to learn more
new things than you first did, then you are expecting too much. How can you
learn more by reading something over again? When you first read a
book everything is new, but when you reread it, you get some
new things, but not everything is new. You canít expect to continue to learn
as much as you used to. But at the same time, you should cultivate a hunger
for the Word of God.
Feed your spirit the Word even if you think you have read that passage
before or already heard the teaching. You do not stop eating your favorite
foods just because you ate it once. No, you keep eating it. The same is true
with the Word: you need to keep feeding your faith with a good, solid diet
of balance teaching.
A well balance diet is a key phrase in nutrition. You canít live off of
proteins alone. You need vegetables, good carbohydrates, and other minerals
and vitamins. You need to get a good solid teaching of the Word in every
area. You need teaching on faith, healing and financesÖbut you also need to
learn about prophecy, holiness, and the cults. There are other equally
important subjects to learn as wellófrom family living to being a better
employee. The Bible covers these things. You canít expect to be a healthy
Christian living only on particular subjects.
I have seen many believers who have been a Christian for a very long
time, and sometimes, I can sense they have received an unbalanced diet. For
example some are overbalance in deliverance. Of course, I am known for that
ministry, but believers who concentrate on demons too much trouble me. They
are always looking to get delivered from something. They seem obsessed with
curses. Now, I understand the reality of demons and curses and the need for
deliverance. I have just written a
book on this subjectóbecause
it is needed and neglected by so manyóbut I have also learned that some
abuse this subject and get unbalance. They may be a Christian for a long
time, but I see very little spiritual growth in their lives. They are still
a baby wanting someone else to feed them, pray over them, and basically
become their spiritual parent. There must come a time when they grow up and
take authority over the devil and start praying for others instead of
concentrating on themselves and their problems.
Put everything in their mouths
Not every quality of a baby Christian is positive. There are some
negative traits to be wary of as well. For example, babies have a tendency
to put everything in their mouths. If they see a spider or bug they will try
to grab it and put it into their mouths. They think everything belongs in
their mouths. Their hunger for food and curiosity about things puts them at
risks. This is why Paul warned infants in Christ about false teaching.
Then we 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 men in their deceitful scheming.
Newborns in the Lord are often gullible. They think that everyone who
says they believe in the Bible is teaching the truth. They donít realize
many twist the scriptures or deny certain parts of the Bibleólike tongues,
miracles and healing. You need to be cautious about what you put into your
spiritual stomach. Donít receive everything. Test the teaching to see if it
lines up with the Word of God.
There are sectarians who try to draw away people from the body of Christ
with scare tactics. They warn you that unless you are part of their group,
you may not be saved. They tell you unless they baptize you that you will
not be saved. Forget those folks. They donít know what they are talking
Then there are teachers who try to divide the body of Christ. They will
warn you to stay away from certain ministers. Yet, they are overly
judgmental. I call them heresy hunters. The truth
is we are never going to agree on everything, but God wants us to come into
the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. We
will not become united in our personalities.
We all have distinctive personalities. Churches have distinctive
personalities too, but these differences should not cause division. When you
have teachers who try to exploit these differences then be warned.
I get email from people all the time accusing me of teaching heresy,
because overly critical people will take certain teachings and exploit the
differences of my beliefs with others and exaggerate the teachings to bring
You must be careful of those who are overly judgmental. If you are not
careful they will impart to you their judgmental attitudes and you will have
a difficult time getting along with other sincere believers.
The greatest characteristic of a mature believer is their love for
others. If you want to reach maturity in the Lord, then you will have to
feed your spirit good, solid teaching from biblical balanced and
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