Christian Children

Spiritual childhood is the accepted norm for many Christians. Many Christians never mature past childhood. They stay stuck in the ways of childhood in far too many areas of their lives. They live lives that are marked by immaturity. The responsibility for this problem is not entirely on the individuals themselves. I would argue that by-in-large, we have created an environment in most churches that expects little more than child-like behavior. I would further argue that our culture is largely built on encouraging the kind of ego-centric consumerism that drives child-like behavior among Christians. It is rare to find a Christian (young or old) whose evaluation of their church does not incorporate this kind of language and mentality. “I am looking for a church that meets my needs better…” “I love …”  “I….” Do you see it? Any of these might be genuine sentiments from more mature believers but, the ego centeredness is so prominent and so ‘acceptable’ that in too many cases they reveal a person who has yet to grow up in their faith. Here’s the challenge then, let’s dare to be different. Let’s make ours a church where you are welcome at any maturity level but, the culture is one of GROWTH. You are not okay. None of us is. You are not a completely mature Christian. None of us is. But, let’s get after it. You can grow. You can become mature and complete in Jesus. His resurrection power is available for this very reason. LET’S GROW!

Spiritual Children Are:

  • someone who has come to know new life in Christ, having been born again by the Holy Spirit and has an assurance of their adoption into God’s family
  • someone who knows the ‘basics’ of the faith (for example: Scripture as authoritative Word of God, Trinity, Old and New Testaments, Sin, Sanctification, etc.)
  • someone who has an inconsistent application of the Bible to life in certain areas

Key Characteristics:

  • Ego-centric; their faith and the application of their faith is very ‘me’ centered.
  • Growing Independence; they are starting to do things on their own, from Bible reading to prayer, witnessing to a co-worker to learning to control their anger. They will still stumble and fall and need help but, there is a growing sense of ‘owning’ their faith.
  • Struggle with Kingdom-perspective; they aren’t quite able to apply with consistency a Kingdom of God approach to their life and the broader world.

Milestones to Aim for:

  • Consistency in a small group. You need a group of people who love Jesus and you enough to help ‘raise’ you spiritually. To encourage your learning and especially your application of God’s Word. People who will ask you hard questions and lean in when it gets messy. People who will cheer you on as you grow.
  • Service as a regular part of life. You need to find an avenue to serve others. Could be in the church or outside of the church but, there is nothing like service to help you learn how to love others.
  • Read all of the New Testament.

Cautions/Pitfalls:

  • Learning vs. Living. The approach of many discipleship tools is to LEARN. Messages, Bible Studies, books, and on and on it goes. The reality is that knowledge doesn’t mean growth. You can learn and not apply. Much of what gets a person ‘stuck’ in childhood is that they “know better” but, they don’t live what they know. Instead of real life change, they accept knowing as enough.
  • What’s good for me… One of the hardest by products of growing and not being fully mature is that you can fall into the trap that everyone should do what you are doing. This isn’t true. God sees us as individuals who need different things at different times. He develops us at different paces and in different places. Don’t be unhelpfully distracted by looking at someone else’s hang-up. And definitely don’t let their hang-up become yours.

Key Memorization Verse: Ephesians 5:1-2

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