Is it possible to be a faithful church attender, serve in the ministry for years, teach others about the gospel, be a leader within our church community, even be a pastor and still be a babe? The answer, unfortunately, is yes.
The Church has developed some un-biblical ideas about what defines a mature Christian. Because of these twisted beliefs we have fallen into the trap of “thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought,” (Romans 12:3).
Young children always think they are more “grown up” than they actually are. Boys compare themselves with other boys to see who is bigger and stronger. Girls compare each other to see who has the most grown up stuff in their purse, who gets their ears pierced first, who gets to wear make-up first, etc. This thought process produces a belief system that makes them think they are more than they are, and they carry that into adulthood. It is not a healthy thing. It lacks humility and darkens the perspective about their identity.
It is time for the body of Christ to humble themselves and acknowledge their immaturity. It is the only way to move forward and grow spiritually. If a person thinks they are more mature than they really are, it hinders their spiritual development because they are trying to start from a place that they are not.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
If we are to learn algebra, we must first have a clear understanding of basic math. Without a solid foundation of basic math, algebra will remain a mystery. There are certain rules and laws of math that must be understand clearly before we can advance into algebra. Growing up spiritually is the same way. There are a few things we must understand about ourselves before we can grow into a mature believer.
Spiritual maturity is much like physical maturity, and just like the physical, spiritual maturity can be measured by stages of growth. We see three stages represented in the New Testament. Babes, children, and mature. For this lesson we will look at what causes Christians to remain a babe.
Hebrews 5:12-14 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Notice the phrase “unskilled in the word of righteousness.”
A clear understanding of righteousness will cause us to grow beyond being a baby Christian.
The word unskilled here means to be ignorant. It means: without knowledge of, unaware of, unconscious of, oblivious to, incognizant of, unfamiliar with, unacquainted with, uninformed about, unenlightened about, inexperienced with, naïve. You get the picture?
Being ignorant of our righteousness is one of the greatest tragedies in Christianity. Not knowing who we are prevents us from becoming what Christ paid for. If we never understand we are righteous children, we will serve God FOR approval instead of serving God from a place OF approval.
Galatians 4:1-2 Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, 2 but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.
Many of us are claiming our rightful inheritance of healing, blessing, prosperity, favor, etc. but until we embrace our righteousness and establish our identity as sons and daughters, we will not grow up enough to receive much of our inheritance. We will remain under guardians and stewards and remain a servant, a slave, a babe. Many times the reason we don’t grow up is because the “guardians and stewards” (pastors and leaders) we are under don’t have this revelation themselves so they can’t teach it. This produces a lot of frustration and discouragement in the body of Christ.
We will never grow beyond being the revelation of our identity, the understanding of our righteousness.
We have a tremendous inheritance through Christ, but our inheritance won’t come to us in fullness until we catch this revelation. We will live a life no different from a slave, because in some ways, we will still be a slave to sin. The revelation of righteousness sets us free from sin and legalism which wars against Christ’s transforming work in us.
Living without a revelation of righteousness is living a life of bondage and slavery to sin. It keeps us from the freedom and intimacy of relationship with our Father. This is why it is such a big deal. We can be zealous and hungry for God and miss the whole point of the Gospel. Listen to Paul’s heart for his fellow Jews.
Romans 10:1-4 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
What is Paul saying here? The Jews are zealous for God but they are ignorant of the fact that righteousness has been provided for them. IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS! Ignorance can get us destroyed. Ignorance can keep us from receiving God’s promises. Ignorance can stunt our spiritual growth and keep us from developing beyond a babe in Christ.
We must submit to righteousness. This means that we must set ourselves in agreement with what God has said about us. Stop talking sin and death and begin speaking life and righteousness. We can’t be free from a sin consciousness and keep it in our language. We need to submit to the the gift of righteousness.
God sees us sinless. When we begin to believe that righteous and holy is the only way He sees us, then we will begin to see ourselves that way too. This opens the door for His grace to flood our lives and transform us so that we actually begin to produce righteous and holy fruit. If we try to live righteous and holy in our own strength, we have already set ourselves up for failure. That is what the Jews were, and still are doing. We can’t make ourselves righteous, so we must agree with God that He has already made us that way and His grace will empower us live that way.
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this very thing that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
Christ started the work by giving us the gift of righteousness. Believe what He said is truth and grace is released to perfect the work.
When we begin to believe that we are righteous, we leave no room for the enemy to touch our lives. Being settled in our identity will cause our motives, thoughts, intentions, and even our actions to be pure. Submitting to righteousness is the key to spiritual maturity and transformation. Righteousness isn’t just who we are in His sight. It is a promise to transform us, by the grace of God, into a person that actually lives a righteous life. We just have to believe what God has said about us is true.
Why is it so hard for us to believe that we are righteous? Because we know us!
Let the weak say “I am strong!” (Joel 3:10) Let the Christian that struggles with sin say, “I am righteous!”
Righteousness is not a lesson we learn and move on to something else. This must be focused on, cultivated, and exercised constantly. Its something we continue to grow into. when we develop a hunger and thirst for this revelation we will be filled with all the fullness of God.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
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