Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Growth stages

TODAY'S SPECIAL: 1 John 2:3-17

TO CHEW ON: "I write to you fathers because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I write to you young men because you have overcome the wicked one. I write to you children because you have known the Father." 1 John 2:13

In the middle of some heavy teaching about how important it is to love each other and how when you hate someone you're living in darkness, John interjects this little section that seems to say, "And guess what folks. This is for all of you!"

The parenthesis section of verses 12-14 give us some great little insights into the different stages of the Christian life.

Little children:
Pick up the excitement of the new believer in John's word.
  • It's excitement over sins forgiven: "I write to you little children because your sins are forgiven."
  • It's excitement about a new relationship: "I write to you little children because you have known the Father."
When, in another place, John scolds a church for having left their "first love," I think we can rightly assume he's talking about this stage. It's the stage of having a crush on God/Jesus—only it's much more profound and lasting than human infatuation.

Young men/women:
A sidebar article in my Bible describes this stage:
"But as we feed on the milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2) we see that there is more to salvation than the forgiveness of sins. We grow beyond our infancy into young adult lives of challenge and victory as people who live daily by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7)" - Kenneth Ulmer,  in "Growth In Stages," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1785.

This is the stage of the long-term settled relationship. These folks are so tight with God, have been through so much with Him that John says, simply, they know Him.

Know (ginosko) means:
1] To learn to know.
2] to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of.
3] Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse.

In other words, it's knowing that encompasses all stages from introduction to the deepest intimacy. The relationship only gets richer, more secure, more satisfying!

I ask, which one of these stages am I in? (Though I'm thinking, there is a little bit of each stage in my relationship with God.) What about you?

Another good question to ask is, are we making progress to new levels of growth?

PRAYER: Dear Father God, thank You for our relationship that lasts a lifetime. Help me, even today, to grow stronger and bigger and more mature in You. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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