CHRISTIANS IN TRAINING
Scripture: Hebrews 5:11-6:11
Anyone who expects to gain strength in whatever endeavor they attempt must engage in a training routine or pattern. Whether it is reaching a goal in a physical feat or a mental accomplishment, training is necessary. In the same light, and really of much greater importance, if we are to achieve growth we must train to grow, increase and mature spiritually.
Many who have been Christians for years may be at the same level spiritually as when they came up out of the water of baptism. Others will be at a middle of the road state of spiritual growth. And, still others will work daily on spiritual growth. We must ask the question of ourselves. “Where am I in my spiritual maturity? Am I growing daily? Is my life in Christ something which excites me and urges me to continue to grow? Or am I satisfied with my level of spiritual growth, and see no need for further training?
Where are you spiritually today?
There are times in our Christian walk that we may find it difficult to grow in our faith. Sometimes, we even see people walk away from serving Christ, back to a life without the burden to grow in Him. Their passion has faded. Faith becomes weakened. And, they just gradually slip away.
Just as a baby, a few months old, learns to crawl before he learns to walk. That process happens over a period of several months. My grandmother always told on me, saying that I was 18 months old before I began walking. I think I probably just liked having her hold me. But, as I grew older I eventually turned loose, began to mature and walk on my own. But, later, as I became an adult, I kind of repeated that practice of late beginning to walk with Christ, until I was 25 years old. Beginning a walk in faith with Christ is a growing process. It takes time. It requires conscious effort and desire to please Him.
And, it is often two steps forward, one step back, two steps forward, and three steps back. We get tangled up in the day to day living and lose ground in our maturity.
So, at times, we need a reality check. We need to step aside and ask ourselves some searching questions.
· Am I growing forward spiritually?
· Am I stagnant?
· Am I moving backwards?
As we struggle to continue our spiritual growth we may question why we keep doing the same things over and over which seems to hinder that growth. You think you have made it past that and then, there it is again to deal with and overcome.
How does Jesus deal with us in these situations? Jesus always called people to a higher standard. However, He continued to encourage them to grow and did not condemn them. Jesus was the ultimate encourager. He was always encouraging people to get back up and try again – giving more grace and forgiveness.
How important is my spiritual growth in relationship to my faith? Our spiritual growth impacts not only our own life and growth. In the Body of Christ (the Church) we will affect the spiritual growth of the body of believers. In other words, my spiritual maturity is bigger than just me. It impacts others as well. So, we must be careful to assure that that impact is a positive one which promotes spiritual growth in the Body.
We might check ourselves with the question: Does my faith attract others to Jesus or does it cause them to flee? We, the church, are commanded, by Jesus to reach the world (Matthew 28:18-20). Accomplishing that task begins with each individual growing into spiritual maturity.
We know that in the physical world, growth is expected; the same is true in the spiritual realm! At some point we must stop trying and start training.
As believers and disciples of Jesus Christ we all want to hear from Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Hebrews 12:1–3 sums up the necessity of our training, or run to win the race, with our eyes on the One who endured a horrific death so that we may inherit eternal life.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Gary K Fair
05 January 2021