Growing in your faith

As an evangelist, I share the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ as clearly and plainly as possible: that we’re all sinners and that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us and that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and that whosoever believes may not perish, but have everlasting life.

It’s so simple, and yet eternity hangs in the balance.

But there’s still work to be done, even after someone has accepted Christ. Our organization works hard to follow up with each person, plugging them into the local church and helping them grow in their faith. Why? Because, much like a child grows in wisdom and power, that is how inquirers mature from “baby” believers to strong Christians as they begin to apply Scripture to their faith journey.

This all sounds good, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. As in any area of life, some passionately pursue a goal while others rest or focus on other priorities.

In Hebrews 5:11-14, we see the characteristics of a group of believers who are not maturing in their faith.

Lazy or “Dull” – A person’s faith is immature because they are lazy or “dull of hearing” (v. 11). There is no drive or initiative, and this prevents understanding. They sat and listened, but didn’t apply what they had learned from God’s Word.

Refusal to Grow – Many of these same people who were weak in their walk were refusing to grow (v. 12).  They accepted the “ABC’s” of the faith, but had not progressed from “milk” (basics) to “solid food” (applying the Scriptures).

Unskilled – Some people are spiritually underdeveloped because they are unskilled (inexperienced) in the Word of God (v. 13).  By this time they should be teaching, but could not because they refused to be trained in spiritual matters.

Do Not Exercise Discernment – Finally, some believers remain spiritually immature because they do not exercise their mental and spiritual senses (v. 14) and are therefore unable to discern between good and evil.

Reviewing the characteristics of a stunted Christian may hit a little close to home for some of us. So what’s the remedy? Hebrews 6:1-3 offers some guidance.

First, we must build on the teachings that we already know (v. 1). The foundation has already been laid. Now we need to develop our spiritual structure, adding depth and understanding.

Second, we must be determined to grow (v. 3).  The author makes the declaration of “This we will do,” which shows the determination required to grow as a Christian.

Third, we must also realize that we are totally dependent upon God for growth. By saying, “if God will permit” (v. 3), the author shows that we cannot grow apart from His strength.

To summarize, the answer for a stunted and immature spiritual walk is a motivation to build on the foundation we have, with determination and a reliance on God’s faithfulness and strength.