Growth is essential for a Christian to thrive. Peter challenges us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Peter is calling believers to cultivate stability, so to speak, through Christian growth. This growth is spiritual growth, growing in faith.
When we enter into a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we are born again spiritually into God’s family. This new birth, similar to that of a newborn baby, requires nourishing milk for growth and proper development. A new or baby Christian needs spiritual food for growth. Peter writes: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2-3). Christians are to be like infants in their longing for pure spiritual milk. Milk is used in the New Testament as a symbol of what is basic to the Christian life, God’s Word.
Just as healthy babies move beyond milk to solid food, so do believers (see: Hebrews 5:12-14). Paul saw a problem with the Corinthian believers in that they had not grown in their faith, and he could only give them “milk” because they were not ready for solid food (see: 1 Corinthians 3:1-3). Christians are expected to grow. We need to learn and grow and become confident in handling the Bible, discerning God’s will, and sharing it with others. A baby needs to be fed, but a growing believer learns to feed themselves, eventually helping others grow.
A Christian will only grow as much as he or she purposefully reads and obeys and applies the Scriptures. Growing is up to each individual believer. Growth is not measured in years, but commitment. Some believers have been saved many years, but spiritually are still babies. Others have been Christians for a relatively short time, but have grown in leaps and bounds due to their devotion to God and His Word. It is important to note that it’s the doing of the Word, not merely hearing it that makes it a reality in one’s life. Genuine Christian growth comes when one puts what they know of God’s Word to practice in their life. This allows the Scriptures to take root in them.
A Christian’s diet ought to consist of the Word of God. The truths taught in the Bible are rich food for the believer. Peter writes, in 2 Peter 1:3, that God has given us everything we need for life through our (growing) knowledge of Him. As we continue down through verse 11, we discover a list of character qualities that need to be added to our beginning point of faith for maturity to take place, allowing us to thrive in Christ. There are many things that can help us grow.
Crosswinds have developed a discipleship strategy that assists believers in developing a daily time alone with God as well as meeting with fellow Christians through one-on-one discipleship groups and small groups. Meeting with other believers allows us to ask questions, share what we are learning with one another, and be encouraged as we continue to grow in knowing God and making Him known. We offer ministry teams where you can serve with other believers putting into action your growing faith. However, ministry does not only happen in ministry teams. As Crosswinds, we encourage one another to be used by God in extraordinary ways as missionaries in the ordinary places we find ourselves each and every day. Our large weekend worship gatherings are where we put God’s glory on display, sharing the workings of God in our lives and together are sent out on mission throughout our region. We also offer support options for those wrestling with specific issues like depression or situations like divorce as well as those desiring freedom from the hurts, habits, and hang-ups of life. The believer is called to take personal responsibility for their growth but is not meant to grow alone. God has provided His Spirit and the community of other believers to help us grow.
The foundation of Christianity – the milk – is something wonderful and not something we should forget. But, we are meant to grow beyond milk and become self-feeders of the solid food of God’s Word, able to help others grow. We are meant to be doers of the Word as we allow the Spirit of God to use what we know of the Scriptures to transform us more and more into the image of Christ. This is what it means to grow as a believer and thrive in Christ. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!