God has crafted each of our lives in such a way as to grow us and produce in us a faith that will glorify Him and bring about our maturity and holiness. During one particularly intense time of my spiritual growth, I had already studied the doctrines and themes of Scripture and come to embrace a reformed understanding of Scripture, every dimension of my faith was tested by the death of one of my best friends who was not a believer. All of the academic questions I had asked in my pursuit of God were re-asked emotionally and applicationally. I had a friend during this time who also liked to ask questions. I would run my thoughts by her, pull out scriptures and doctrines and my emotions and lay them all out on a messy platter and she would ask and listen and think with me. Her openness, willingness to learn and ability to ask questions was a tremendous relief and encouragement to me while God established my faith which was knowledgeable into faith which believed and trusted.
After graduation, we went separate ways and kept in touch occasionally, but when I moved overseas we rarely connected. Then, when my world fell apart six years later, we happened to cross paths and went out for coffee. My faith was firm and unshakable this time – and that by no strength of my own, only by God’s grace. My heart was broken, but God was my constant and literally all I had. There were no deep groanings of my heart questioning His goodness or sovereignty. But she was at the same exact place where we were years before. She said to me, “I love to hear your questions and process with you”. But yet she had no drive of her own to push her on to learn, to grow, to understand. The things of God were interesting to her when they came up, but not of enough importance to draw her in on her own.
“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God, because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets, and do not thoughtfully meditate on God’s Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord. . . .”
– Charles Spurgeon
Are you an active Christian or a passive Christian? Or not a Christian at all? We all go through seasons where we neglect prayer, or personal time in the Bible, or just live for ourselves. We also all go through times where we want to just sit back and let the pastor and small group leader spoon feed us. There are times I like to ask questions but do not necessarily look for or long for the answer. Because it is cool nowadays to be deep and ask the hard questions. But Paul warns us about people like that. They are wicked and a sign of the coming of the age:
“…always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
– 2 Tim 3.7
When we are brand new Christians, it is mature believers’ responsibility to teach us how to grow and feed ourselves. We do not naturally know how to study the Bible, how to pray, how to seek God for guidance and insight, and how to surrender our sinful flesh to His commandments. But it is not the pastor or small group leader’s lifelong responsibility to feed us Spiritually. If you only eat one meal a week, you will not survive long. The same is true in our Spiritual walk. If we rely on the Church to feed us, or podcasts, or online preachers or blogs, we will never truly develop an intimate relationship and trust in the Lord, and the depth of maturity will not be there to sustain us in the trials.
My friend has since found a solid church and been drawn through strengthening seasons of life and is being led by the Spirit to dig in to maturity through personal time with God, daily. In prayer. In reading. I learning. Let us all do the same!
Do you muse on the things of God? Do you seek out the answers to your questions? Are you spending time in prayer and intimacy with God? Are you growing?
“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.”
– Heb 6.1-2