As I wrote in a previous blog pastors don’t want to placed up on a pedestal. They take their role of providing care, spiritual direction and teaching very seriously but they don’t want to the one who is responsible for your growth with Jesus. Pastors want to serve you and help you grow but you need to be the one who is responsible. This is following Jesus every day. Your pastor isn’t there with you throughout the week, but you can still grow spiritually.
Imagine you’re at the park watching your kids play. Suddenly a child about 6 years old comes up to the mother sitting next to you and says they’re hungry. Now you’re expecting the mother to reach into her bag and pull a biscuit or piece of fruit, right? How do you react when she lifts her top and offers the child her breast?
Or, you’ve just sat down for dinner with your boyfriend’s family for the first time. It looks okay and everything seems normal when his mum stands up, walks around to her son and starts cutting his steak. Even worse, she starts feeding him and he lets her.
In both these situations the behaviour is just weird. First, the parent needs to let their child grow up. Second the child needs to be responsible for their own growth.
I wonder if this could be applied in the Christian life? Maybe you’ve been following Jesus for years but you still struggle with Christian growth. Do you feel, as the writer of Hebrews puts, like you are feeding on spiritual milk instead of meat? Many Christians fail to transition from spiritual infancy to maturity. Here are 4 small things that can help you become more mature in your faith.
1. Be Jesus Centred
How can we hope to grow more like Jesus if we aren’t Jesus centred? I have found worship a vital practice to help me to be more Jesus centred. Worship is coming to see who God is and responding to him. But it also has the side effect of changing us to be like Jesus. It’s not just about singing. Worship can take place anywhere at any time. So be creative.
2. Changing Language
It’s strange but one of the things that has really helped me grow in my Christian life is to stop calling myself a Christian. Instead I have started referring to myself as a follower of Jesus. Now there is nothing wrong with the word Christian, but for me, following Jesus keeps me focussed on him daily.
3. Hook into Community
Being in strong relationships with fellow Jesus followers helps us grow. Others help us identify areas we need to grow in and support us along the way. Of course this relies on authenticity and trust but when we find these relationships our growth can skyrocket. And it’s inspiring to be part of a community that are longing for God and seeing him in action.
4. Take Responsibility
No one can make you become spiritually mature. People may assist you to grow but they can’t force you. At the end of the day you have to want to become spiritually mature. Sure it’s easy to blame others for our lack of growth but really it is your responsibility. You need to own it.