God created you to grow spiritually. When we commit our lives to follow Jesus, this is just the beginning. We are then called to mature in our faith journey. This involves taking “next steps” spiritually - being baptized, reading God’s Word, praying, serving, and more. As we grow, we become more like Jesus. There are definite challenges that keep us from growing. Pushing past the challenges and growing in Christ is what creates in us a beautiful life.
What Spiritual Maturity Looks Like
We all want to live a life that is beautiful. We want a life that is characterized by love, peace, joy, and grace. We long for freedom from the struggles of this life. But, how do we get there?
Well, it starts with growth. We all have to start somewhere, whether you’re new in your faith journey or whether you’ve been walking with the Lord for years. Regardless of what that stage is for you, it begins with a decision that you must make to invest in your faith and begin growing where God has planted you. Things that are alive grow. It doesn’t necessarily have to be growth all the time, but, overall, is your life looking more like Jesus?
The world will hold many challenges that could keep us from growing in our faith, as it will tell us over and over that our happiness will come from what it, meaning the world, has to offer us. Scripture tells us exactly the opposite of what the world tells us – God’s Word says that our happiness will not be found in anything of this world. Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever (1 John 2:15-17) Real joy is what God provides us with. Real peace is what we can find in Christ. Real grace is what the world will never have for us and what God alone can give.
So, do you want to have a beautiful life?
What the Bible Says about Growing Daily in 1 John 2
We’ve been in the book of 1 John in this series, and we’ve learned that the apostle John wrote this book as a letter to those who were younger than him, to those who looked up to him and were learning from his spiritual wisdom and maturity. In the second chapter of 1 John, we read about the three primary groups of people he’s writing to: spiritual children, spiritual young men, and spiritual fathers. Each of these types of people represent Christ-followers and what stage they’re in in their walk with Christ.
Spiritual children are those who are new to the faith and those who must be “fed” spiritually. They are learning and growing in this stage, since they are younger in their journey. Spiritual young men are those who are able to “feed” themselves. They are serving the church, they are stronger in their faith, and their lives are undoubtedly focused on Christ. Spiritual fathers, lastly, are those who are able to “feed” others. They are bold and very strong in their walk with Christ, and, therefore, they’re able to pour into others and help others in their journey with Jesus.
John boldly writes, Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did (1 John 2:6). Whether you’re a spiritual child, young man, or father, if you call yourself a Christian, your life must show growth, for growth indicates life. If you aren’t growing spiritually, then you are drifting. Growth takes attention. It doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen accidentally. We will face challenges as we are trying to live a beautiful life where we are growing and maturing spiritually, but it’s ultimately about where your confidence lies and making that active choice to continue growing and maturing.
Are you putting your energy into the things that matter – eternally?
We all are at a different spot spiritually, whether we’re a spiritual child, young man, or father. No matter where you’re at in your faith journey, however, first and foremost, you’re not walking alone. God is on your side, and He longs for you to come to Him as your source of strength while you are growing in your faith and are fighting the challenges that the world and the enemy inevitably will throw your way. You also have a community of believers who long to come alongside you and support you as you continue growing spiritually.
Secondly, a beautiful life does not come out of nowhere. It isn’t just going to show up after one day of practicing spiritual disciplines or one day of obedience. Eugene Peterson describes your spiritual growth as, A long obedience in the same direction. Spiritual growth is a process, but it’s one that will lead you to a life that is beautiful. A life that is worth living. A life that is defined by a unique and powerful purpose.
No, it won’t be a life that is simple and easy – actually, it will likely be quite the opposite. But that’s when we must stand on the faith that we have been growing in over time. We know that challenges will come, but we know who our God is.