by Pastor Tim Burt
I was one of ten children. I have five younger siblings and I have memories of my mom feeding my two youngest brothers as infants. I loved occasionally helping her. I remember her constantly preparing baby bottles of milk and then eventually feeding them Pablum—an infant cereal. In the beginning of life, breast milk, baby-formula milk and Pablum were what got a newborn off to a healthy start. God says that new Christians should start of the same way. 1 Peter 2:2 says, “Just like new-born babies, desire and crave for the milk of God’s Word so that you can grow up in the knowledge of your salvation.”
In life and in Christianity, we all start off as infants. It is also our God-given destiny to grow up! Not just physically, but spiritually! But, just like an infant, we must start with the milk of God’s word, and learn of God. You’ve seen the pictures of a baby being fed and gazing in the eyes of his mother or father. We must gaze and learn of God—of His love, His character, His will and purpose for mankind and our lives, a day at a time. And like it or not, we are going to start out as spiritual babies. That is what you are the day you pray and receive Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior.
The moment you repent of your sins and sincerely receive Jesus, the Holy Spirit miraculously comes to live within you. He instantly opens the eyes of your heart and understanding to the truth of God. So let’s think for a minute about infants and children growing up. Children were designed to be continuously fed. Our society is designed to instruct and teach children in order that they may intellectually grow up. But, when it comes to Christians and their spiritual growth, we’ve got starving babies—people that don’t go to church or read or study their Bibles. We’ve got Christians who don’t pursue an intimate relationship with God through prayer. Infants and toddlers continually transform before our eyes! They transform in size, behavior, in verbal expression, and in what they can physically do, and they do so consistently. That’s what God intended for Christians but is too often not the case. Romans 12:2 (NLT2) says, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” We are encouraged to grow up and let God’s word instruct us, transform us, and mature us. Colossians 3:5 &10 (NIV) says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature… and put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
When that transformation doesn’t happen, the Apostle Paul said that Christians stay like babies! “I fed you with milk and not with solid food because, like babies, you still can’t handle anything stronger.” (1 Corinthians 3:2)
Each of us has a God-given destiny. By that, I don’t mean something that’s going to make headlines or put you in history books. What I do mean is that God has a great purpose for your life. He wants you to significantly influence and impact the lives of your family and others in the earth. But, infants don’t go from breast milk to steak and Christians don’t instantly mature and fulfill their destiny just because time passes. In God’s plan for our destiny we spiritually grow and mature. Even Jesus was born and matured into the fulfillment of His destiny. Destiny is a day-by-day, step-by-step, path of growing up in Christ. In that, we learn to live by God’s ways and values and over time, learn to influence and encourage others toward them. It is God’s will that all men be saved from eternal damnation. He has paved the way and opened the entrance of Heaven for any and everyone through Jesus Christ. It’s a gift we know and understand. We hold knowledge of the greatest secret ever revealed to mankind. God does not want it to remain a secret. He wants us to be influencers of this truth!
God also wants every believer to spiritually grow up and become contributors to His plan to reach and influence others with His love. Getting dragged down into the sinful activity and degradation that permeates this earth is the opposite of His plan and yet many Christians have been sucked into it, abandoning their faith. When you don’t focus on God and His will, you get sucked into the world’s garbage! God speaks to that in Isaiah 65:11 (Message Bible) “…For when I invited you, you ignored me; when I spoke to you, you brushed me off. You did the very things I exposed as evil; you chose what I hate.”
Destiny is realized through our growth and maturity and developed as we walk out God’s values. That means God first wants us to have a vision for learning His word and ways, and with His help, figuring how to walk them out in our life. He then wants us to learn how to share them with others so that we can help others grow up in Him. He wants us to become disciples and then become disciple-makers. These are the first two core values that lead us in our God-given destiny. Our destiny will never be a blueprint that we’ve seen and known in advance. Our destiny is like a rose. It unfolds and gets more beautiful! It’s an unfolding plan that God reveals little by little as He leads you there. And you can only be led there if you pursue these two core values of first becoming a disciple and becoming a disciple maker.
So, how to we grow up from being spiritual babies, to mature Christians that impact this world? How does this transformation and maturity happen in our lives? Simply put, it begins with finding a good Bible-teaching church that preaches and teaches the scriptures. Then it continues by becoming a part of that church community learning and serving one another together. It is in this place that you are impacted to another level by becoming a part of a serving team or small group. Making friends, growing and serving together, praying for one-another, and learning to love each other with the love of God puts you into transformation mode! God will be doing a work in you as you yield to these things. This has much the same impact as school does for children. This is God’s plan for growth and maturity. The world cannot teach you the love of God. It is too busy hating, being in unforgiveness and strife, and being selfish. It doesn’t know God’s values and ways, nor can it teach you them. This has to happen in the community of the church! Those they say they don’t need a church are those who will never fully mature in the knowledge, insight, and plan of God. No one gets a pass. No one! Seeking God to grow and working toward it in the community of His first love—the church, is His plan! Anything less is cop-out becoming a drop out!
And for those that have become an island of spiritual knowledge and wealth unto themselves—they will live in a level of immaturity and self-deception for the duration of their Christian walk, unless they humble themselves and grow up with others in the body of Christ together.
Oh and for those that proclaim to have been hurt by the church and will have nothing to do with it, you’ve only proven your immaturity in Christ. Get over yourself! Offensive happens. You’ve created much of it yourself. We all have to forgive each other and move forward! We have to return to our knees and seek God, asking Him to lead us to move forward. Remaining offended is not an option. Loving others when it’s difficult is God’s high ground! It takes prayer, courage, and effort but the reward is growing up in Him and becoming a world influencer starting with the world around you!
You have a destiny in the big picture of God. He wants a life of significance and blessing—the life everyone dreams of for you! He want it for you more than you want it for yourself. But He can only lead you there. It’s up to you to take hold of it, choose life, grow and mature, and walk it out!
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
If Fresh Manna is a blessing to you, I’d love to know. Click here: FreshMannaFeedback@gmail.com