One of the most difficult things that we as Christians must face is ourselves. For the most part there is no greater barrier to spiritual growth than our own preconceived and long standing beliefs–or misbeliefs. It is hard to get rid of those ideas and thoughts that have guided us throughout our lives. This is more the case for adults than for children because when a child comes to Christ they have not lived too much life. They have not experienced as much or seen as much. A child comes in innocence and through the love and structure of a church and family can learn the faith without having to replace or undo other ideas and feelings and thoughts from outside sources. The child asks this question, “Is what I have been taught the truth?” The adult on the other hand asks a different question. An adult’s question is, “Why should I change what I already believe and hold to be true?” This fundamental difference is what causes the stretching in people’s lives.
For the child it is a struggle to hold on to what he or she has been taught. For the adult it is the process of replacing already held beliefs for Christian ones. And it is through the process of discipleship that the stretching occurs. It is through the struggle of finding the truth and learning to exercise faith that we become more and more like Jesus.
Discipleship is the process of becoming disciples, of becoming men and women that believe, live and do the things that Jesus taught. To be a Christian disciple is to become Christ to the world. We are to become images, pure and perfect reflections of Jesus, so that when the world looks at me they don’t see me, they see Jesus.
From Meat To Milk
At the beginning of the Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church he reveals his amazement that some in the church were still carnal. They were still trying to live a Christian life according to worldly rules and principles. Paul’s description is that there were some that were still on spiritual milk and not on meat. What is happening is that there were a significant number of people that were not growing. The reason? Paul tells us that the Christians in Corinth were not living the teachings that they had been given. If the body grows through physical food, how does the spirit grow? The spirit grows through spiritual food. The practices of scripture reading, prayer, worship and service are ways that we learn, live and do the Christian faith.
The difference between milk and meat is this. Milk is the easy to do stuff. Milk is the talk of faith and as we mature and move to the meat, the more difficult things to do. We begin to move to the walk of faith. From suckling on a mother’s breast to eating T-bone steaks is a journey of years in the physical sense. How must more difficult is it and can be in our own spirits?
It Begins With A Step
The first step in growing is admitting that we do not fundamentally know what you need. As we grow we come to understand some of the things that we need better and begin to ask for them. This is hard at first because we don’t know where to start. James, the brother of Jesus, said, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4: 2, NKJV). As growing people, we must be honest with ourselves if we want a chance to grow in faith, but we must also be patient. This will take time.