Babies sure are cute, but they need people to feed them, change them, comfort them, and clothe them. These things are all part of being a baby…but what if they are still true when the baby becomes a teenager or an adult? A baby drinking from a bottle is cute and normal… an adult drinking from a baby bottle is not so much.
We know this to be true for physical growth, yet for some reason we don’t have the same expectation for spiritual growth. We understand that new believers will need someone to help them grow by helping them to read the bible and pray. We know that they will need “feeding” through topical studies that relate directly to their immediate needs. Yet for some reason we have no problem when someone has been a Christian for 10 or 20 years (or even more) and they still are not growing on their own.
At Orchard Community Church, we believe that it is the goal of every Christian to become “Fully Devoted Followers of Christ.” This is not reserved for the super spiritual or the people who just have way too much time on their hands. It is God’s will that every believer in Jesus grows and matures. Here is the explanation of core value #5, “Becoming Fully Devoted Followers of Christ”:
We see discipleship as a lifelong commitment to follow Jesus as we increasingly strive to learn from and obey Him, abide in Him, and sacrifice for His sake and for the sake of the Gospel. We will live out our lives and give our resources to Christ for the expansion of His Kingdom. (Luke 9:23-27; John 15:5-8; Colossians 2:6-7)
Sometimes churches are partially to blame for immature Christ followers. When a church continues to spoon feed the people and does not lovingly encourage and equip them to feed themselves then growth is stunted. In an effort to attract people and keep them happy, too often churches can inadvertently allow or even encourage people to remain immature in their relationship with Christ. We don’t want this to be true of Orchard Community Church!
Colossians 2:6-7 is sort of my “life verse.” It reads, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” The more we grow and mature as believers in Christ, the more we are able to bring glory to God in everything we do.
Becoming fully devoted followers of Christ means that as we grow, we increasingly yield more and more of our life to God’s will and seek to be obedient to Him. Sometimes well meaning Christians debate about how much you have to obey Christ in order to be a Christian. To me, this question is looking in the wrong direction. God has set before us the goal of being like Christ in our attitude and actions. He has offered us abundant, eternal life through Christ’s death and resurrection. He has called us to live in relationship with Him for His glory and our good. Why would we sit around debating what we can do instead of focusing on what we get to do. We have the incredible privilege of living for the glory of God. We get to see the incredible faithfulness of God as we live in obedience to Him. We get to see God work in and through us as we increasingly yield to His will. We get to know more about the God who made us and loves us enough to send His Son to die for us on the cross. Why would we ever want to stop and discuss whether we have come far enough when there is so much more that God has for us?
Sometimes it is tempting to look at a baby and think, “can’t they just stay like that forever,” but we don’t really mean that. We don’t really want to make bottles and change diapers for the rest of this person’s life! We aren’t born to remain children. We are born to grow and mature. We aren’t born again to remain spiritual infants. We are born again to become fully devoted followers of Christ.
picture is of my daughter a few days after her birth and I believe I took it – though it could have been my wife.