September is an “in between” month. It rests comfortably between the seasons of summer and fall. This month usually witnesses the temperatures dropping from the searing highs of August to the moderate cool that is October. September is a month of transition.
It is this time of year when we send our little children off for their very first day of kindergarten. It is that same time, a few short years later, when we watch them going off to college. September is a month of new experiences and good-byes.
Life itself is but a series of transitions. From the time one is born, he or she is expected to progress across the “stage” of life from newborn to infant, toddler to preschool, school-aged to adult, adult to… well, you get the point. It’s when we do not transition from one of life’s epochs to another that something is seriously wrong with us. A full, healthy life must transition.
The same is true for spiritual life. Ephesians, chapter 4, looks forward to a time when “… we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ (Eph. 4:13-15)” Similarly, Peter encourages his readers to “… grow up into salvation… (1 Peter 2:2b)
A full and healthy spiritual life must also transition. We grow from new believer, something that Peter likens to “newborn infants,” to what Paul described as the full measure of Christ. The problem with spiritual growth is that some of us get comfortable where we are and get “stuck.” As in “real life,” when you fail to transition spiritually, something is seriously wrong. The big problem, though – unlike physical development – is that for a long time no one notices a lack of spiritual progression.
The author of the letter to the Hebrews explains some of the problems with a lack of growth in Christians when he writes, “… About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14)”
The mark of maturity described in the Hebrews passage is one’s level of discernment. The mature have practiced discernment and through training are able to distinguish good from evil and to teach others these principles. Therefore, one mark of the spiritual maturity of a believer is the ability and willingness to teach others Biblical truth.
So the question comes down to this. Are you in transition or have you stopped spiritually maturing? None of us can lay claim to having already reached “the full measure of Christ?” (When was the last time you walked on water. Or I, for that matter?) So all of us need to be transitioning in that direction. Life is short. None of us can afford to halt that progression. Examine yourself. Allow God’s Spirit to search you. Be honest with what you find. And then keep “growing up” in Christ.
Praying for transition,