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Spiritual Growth—Adulthood and Parenthood

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Spiritual Growth—Adulthood and Parenthood

John describes this stage by the depth of maturity in our knowledge of who God is. “I write to you, fathers, because you know him who has existed from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you have defeated the Evil One. I write to you, my children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who has existed from the beginning. I write to you, young people, because you are strong; the word of God lives in you, and you have defeated the Evil One.”[1]

So who are the spiritual fathers and mothers of Lakeview Church? What do they look like? What should they be doing?

In Ron Bennett’s book, “Intentional Discipleship” he defines spiritual parenting like this. “Spiritual parents are Christians who have a history of experiencing the reality of Christ and are now mature and responsible enough to encourage spiritual growth in others.”

This stage should actually be the goal of all believers.

We should come to a place where we are looking out for weaker Christians and raising them up to full maturity.

Let me speak to those who ought to be in this stage of discipleship and growth. If you refuse to look beyond your life and expand your realm of influence, you will actually begin to shrivel up and die.[2] The whole reason we study the Bible and seek to grow into full maturity is so that we can then help others. God wants us to use our spiritual muscles to lift others up, but if we won’t do it, we have in some ways wasted our efforts in spiritual maturity.[3]

Back in the 80s, the “The Merv Griffin Show,” was very popular. On one show he had a guest who was a body builder. During the interview, Merv asked, “Why do you develop those particular muscles?” The body builder simply stepped forward and began flexing various parts of his well-defined muscles. The audience burst into applause. So Merv asked the second time, “What do you use all those muscles for?” Again he flexed his biceps and triceps and they bulged to impressive proportions. Merv persisted and asked the third time, “But what do you actually use those muscles for?” Suddenly the body builder was bewildered. He didn’t have clue as to why, other than to display his well-developed frame.

Christian friends, Bible study, prayer, reading Christian books, listening to Christian radio and CD’s are all designed for a divine purpose. They are meant to strengthen our ability to build God’s kingdom, not simply to improve our pose before an admiring audience. God wants all of us to grow up, reproduce spiritual life in others, and help grow the family of God.

The cool thing about God is you can bear fruit even late in life. God is willing cut out the dead and bring new growth, if you’ll let Him. No one can say, “I’m as mature as I could be.” God may want to prune you. Are you willing to let Him bring you to full maturity?

 

 

[1] 1 John 2:13 & 14

[2] Hebrews 5:12-14

[3] Hebrews 6:7-9

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About Ron Bontrager

Lead Pastor of Lakeview Church in Indianapolis.

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