In last week’s article I shared some insights with you from Jim Putman’s book, Discipleshift. He would say that one way of determining a person’s spiritual maturity is to simply listen to what a person says. Quoting Jesus from Luke 6:45, Putman would say “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Last week I gave some examples of what a spiritually dead person would say, this week I will give examples of what a spiritual infant and child would say.
Does it really say that in the in the Bible?
This is my money, I worked hard for it. I’m not giving that much away.
Can I just skip church this morning and sleep in?
Shall we go see that new R-rated movie tonight?
I’ve always connected with God through nature. I’d rather be in my boat fishing and thinking about God, than be in church thinking about fishing.
Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without making him Lord?
Do you have to go to church to be a Christian?
Where can I find a church that really cares about me?
Holy Spirit, who’s that?
Spiritual infants tend to lack knowledge of what Jesus taught—often a product of the culture they grow up in. They are ignorant and therefore ask lots of questions. Their lives are generally all about them and what they think works to fulfill their perceived needs. Like infants, their lives are pretty much made up of consuming, comfort, and making messes. They require patience and constant attention, but they also bring a great deal of joy to life. Infants realize their need for a Savior, but are ignorant to what it means to follow Jesus.
The next stage of spiritual growth is the child stage. In this stage, people are growing in their relationship with God and others and are learning the “language” of what it means to be Christian. A spiritual child can be anywhere from five to ninety years old. Though they are growing, the focus of their conversations are still self-centered. They say things like:
- I stand in the narthex and no one says hi to me. No one cares about me; this church isn’t meeting my needs anymore.
- I’m just not being fed by the pastor’s sermons.
- I don’t want to go to Sunday School OR youth group!
- Small group, no one is going to make me get into a small group. Besides, I’m just too busy.
- I think I’ll send the Pastor an unsigned letter letting him know how I feel about those new songs.
- Why do we have to sing those old hymns?
- I don’t think the worship service should last for more than an hour.
- If they keep making those changes, I’m going to stop giving my offering.
- Who was that new family in church and did you see how they were dressed?
- I just don’t have a lot of time right now to help people.
- My cousin was just killed in a car crash and now I got fired from my job, why would God do that to me?
May it be said of each one of us that the Father’s love has sparked our passion for growing in the grace and knowledge of or Lord Jesus Christ. Grace and peace, Mike