Why Christians Fail to Grow
by Frank King 8/21/2010 / Christian Living
In the book of Hebrews, the writer brings up an interesting church problem: "For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat" (Hebrews 5:12, KJV). First, the writer is not talking to new converts, but he is talking to Christians who have been in the faith long enough that by now they should be serving as teachers in the church.
Secondly, not only did these believers fail to grow, but also they had actually regressed spiritually. They needed to be taught AGAIN, the basic doctrines of Christianity! Though God inspired the writer to pen the above verse over 1900 years ago, the problem is just as real today.
Let me quickly share with you several reasons why our failure to grow as Christians is a problem. The first one has to do with the will of God for us. He wants us to become like His Son. God is actively working in our lives to finish the good work that He has begun in us. He has no desire to stop until we attain unto the fullness of Christ so that as Christ was in the world so shall we be.
The second reason has to do with our service to God. If we fail to grow, we limit what He can accomplish through us. Of course, there are many things He can use us to do even when we are babes in Christ, but there are many things that only mature Christians can effectively do. A case in point is the verse quoted above. This portion of the epistle was specifically aimed at those members of the local church who by virtue of their time in Christ should now be teachers. Their failure to grow, however, made that impossible.
Thirdly, in a local church where Christians fail to grow, excessive carnality can be the result. Paul the apostle wrote to the church of Corinth regarding this selfsame problem (see 1 Corinthians 3). He said the evidence of their carnality was reflected in the envying, strife and divisions among them. It is certainly true that people who are spiritually mature handle conflict in more Christlike manners than immature and carnal-minded Christians do. A pastor whose church is plagued with carnality will feel the burden of the increased disharmony.
I could on and on listing the problems with Christians failing to grow. But a more important question is, what is the solution? How do Christians who have been babes way too long stem the tide and put themselves on the road to maturity? In the book of Hebrews, two verses down from the verse I quoted above, here is what the Bible gives for an answer: "Solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Hebrews 5:14, NIV). In other words, the key to spiritual maturity is to constantly useor put into practicethe truths that we are exposed to.
There is no groundbreaking revelation in that verse, but we know it's right. The bottom line is that Christianity is not simply a religion, but more importantly, it is a way of life. We must live it each day. In doing so, we exercise our spiritual senses, thereby learning to discern good from evil. This dynamic is fundamental to Christian growth. Those who fail to do this will not experience significant spiritual growth.
Frank King is a former church pastor. He is currently an evangelist and an author. Frank holds a Master of Theology degree. Through the grace of God, Frank has been blessed to cross cultural lines in his preaching. Website: http://www.efrankking.com