In life we are born as babies, with a need to be fed, protected and cared for by those around us. As that baby grows it becomes more aware of the world around it, becoming more sensitive to other people and their needs. Once that baby becomes a child, it learns to develop in other ways, social skills, conversation, obedience and generally has a thirst for knowledge.
At each step in the of development of a child, we find different achievements, different capabilities, and as a person grows up, their focus shifts as they mature. So to, a Christian when they accept Christ as their Savior – Jesus used the term “born again” – they begin a new life, a spiritual life, where they start out as a baby with a need to be fed, protected and cared for by those who have grown in their spiritual walk with the Lord. As the person spends time with the Lord, studying His Word, they grow and mature through different stages in their spiritual development.
In this study, we will look at five different stages that are common as a Christian grows up in their relationship with Christ. Babies, Children, Young Men, Fathers and Mature (or the scripture’s term “perfect”).
THERE ARE THREE STAGES NOTED HERE IN THIS SCRIPTURE:
1 John 2:13-14 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
- DEPENDENT UPON OTHERS.
- STILL HAVE THEIR OWN LITTLE WORLD INTO WHICH THEY OFTEN REGRESS (a womb world, where there is no one but themselves). THEREFORE, THEY ALMOST ALWAYS DWELL ON THEIR OWN FEELINGS AND DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER THE FEELINGS OF OTHERS.
- THEY ARE OFTEN FEARFUL.
- THEY CLING TO THE ARMS OF SAFETY.
- THEY ARE MOVED MORE BY IMPRESSIONS AND EMOTIONS THAN BY FACTS
A. MOST OFTEN STILL ARE CARING ABOUT THE THINGS OF THE WORLD MORE. 1 Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
B. THEY ARE ABLE TO DIGEST ONLY THE SIMPLE THINGS OF THE WORD. (even though they may want to have more complex floods which they can’t digest yet). 1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby
C. THEY ARE MORE APT TO PRAISE GOD. Matthew 21:16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
- THEY WANT TO BE MORE ON THEIR OWN (INDEPENDANT FROM ADULTS)
- THEIR DESIRE FOR STRONG FOOD HAS NOT DEVELOPED, BUT THEY TRY.
- THEY OFTEN DO NOT GET ALONG WITH ONE ANOTHER FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME. OTHER TIMES, THEY ARE LOVING AND CLOSE.
- THEY ARE USUALLY GUIDED BY PEER PRESSURE THAN BY OTHER VALUES.
- THEY WANT TO PLEASE THOSE WHO LOVE THEM.
- CHILDREN NEED TO LEARN OBEDIENCE. THEY FINE TUNE THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF RIGHT AND WRONG. (if not taught right, it becomes difficult to correct later).
1 Peter 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
1 John 2:12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.
1 John 2:13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.
1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
CHILDREN CAN BE INFLUENCED AND DECEIVED MORE EASILY. ***(THEY NEED TO SET THE GOAL OF BEING MATURE).
EPHESIANS 4:13-15 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
3. YOUNG MEN.
- THEY ARE BECOMING MORE INDEPENDENT.
- THEY ARE ABLE TO DO MANY THINGS WITHOUT BEING SUPERVISED.
- THEY OFTEN THINK THEY KNOW IT ALL ALREADY.
- THEY ARE SETTING THEIR GOALS FOR THEMSELVES.
Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
- THEY HAVE A GREATER SENSE OF ‘FAMILY,’ SPECIFICALLY “GOD’S FAMILY.”
- THEY HAVE GENERALLY GAINED SPIRITUAL SKILLS AND USE THEM.
- THEY UNDERSTAND THE DEEPER THINGS OF GOD’S WORD.
- THEY ARE MOVED MORE BY FACTS THAN BY IMPRESSIONS OR EMOTIONS.
- THEY SEE THEMSELVES AS PROTECTORS AND HELPERS OF THE YOUNGER ONES.
FATHERS, BECAUSE OF THEIR MATURITY, ARE ENTITLED TO DEEPER REVELATIONS AND EXPLANATIONS. ***You don’t have to explain everything to a child. They are supposed to obey, and don’t need explanation.
Acts 3:22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.
They have a personal, intimate relationship with the LORD.
5. PERFECT (MATURE).
- THEY ARE VERY FEW IN NUMBER.
- THEY HAVE THE RIGHT PRIORITIES SETTLED IN THEIR LIVES. GOD IS FIRST.
- THEY HAVE STRONGER FAITH,
- THEIR FAITH IS RELIABLE, NOT HAP-HAZZARD.
- THEY RECEIVE GREAT GRACE FROM GOD.
- THEY ARE CLOSER TO THE LORD THAN OTHER STAGES.
- THEY ARE MORE OFTEN USED TO ACCOMPLISH MAJOR THINGS FOR GOD.
THIS STAGE IS THE GOAL !
***Note: The New Testament translation of the Greek word “teleios”to “perfect” does not mean sinless in the sense of attaining a state of never sinning again. The Strongs (number 5046) tells us the definition of “teleios” means to be “of full age, mature, wanting nothing necessary to completeness”.
Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect <5046>, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age <5046> , even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect <5046>work, that ye may be perfect <5046> and entire, wanting nothing.
1 Corinthians 14:20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men <5046>.