Prodigal: Howdy! We were just waiting for you.
Me: Thanks for waiting! I have so many things to do but I did not forget you.
Prodigal: Good because I wanted you to meet my friend. He had questions about what does it mean to be a Christian?
Me: Well today I have an explanation from James Gills who talks about the Christian walk.
Maturity in Christ often has little to do with a person’s physical age. In 1 John 2, John differentiates between three specific stages of the spiritual maturation process in which agreement plays a vital role. The first state is for those who are new in the Lord. He expounds, “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name” (1 John 2:12).
Adolescent Christians comprise the second stage, “I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one” (v.13). The third stage is that of a mature Christian adult, “I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning” (v. 14).
John speaks of the “little child” as one who knows the basics of faith. He simply understands that his sins have been forgiven. All future spiritual growth must be built upon this important foundation. “Young men” are those with more experience who have overcome the wicked one- and how do they overcome the wicked one? By abiding in God’s Word. The Word is the source of their strength. The path of spiritual victory is to live by the power of the Spirit attending the daily intake of God’s Word. We must meditate on it, believe it, savor it, embrace it, treasure it, hide it in our hearts, and obey it. The Word of God is God’s voice to our souls and it is attended with the same power that God evidenced in the creation of the world in Genesis 1. This “life in the Word” is a vital element of spiritual growth. Finally, John says the criteria for spiritual fathers is that they know God. Note carefully that fathers are secure and selfless enough to “grow others up.” This perhaps is the greatest need in the Church today.
After reviewing this week, I find myself focusing on the third stage of mature Christian adult. I needed one of those this week. I have a long list of things to accomplish before the end of the month. I am writing this and it will be with God’s grace that it is all accomplished. So I have found myself overwhelmed with the list of things to do. What is often my response to being overwhelmed. I will withdrawal from people. Praise the Lord that my friends have figured out how not to be offended by this behavior! This has been me this week and I take ownership. I did have a talk with a good mature friend this week and God just used her to show how this list of things to do can distract me from Gods people. I praise her for that and for God using her. My point is that it doesn’t matter today what stage you are. We all need to continue to work on our growth. We all need to continue to read his Word and seek his guidance. Does this mean that I am perfect now. Of course not. I am just going to try and keep working on myself with God’s grace and patience.
Romans 9:37 Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Jennifer Van Allen,