As Christians, being born again is a life-changing experience, yet it’s only the beginning of our spiritual journey. It can be compared to ending one chapter of our lives and beginning another. When our old, sinful self dies and we become new creatures in Christ, our spirits become as perfect as His. Yet we’re still considered infants who must grow and mature in the spiritual realm the same way newborns grow in the physical realm.
Reaching spiritual maturity doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years, and the process depends on how much we study the Word and apply it to our lives. It feeds and sustains us but, in the early stages, all we can handle are the basics. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (1 Corinthians 3:1, 2). Until we start renewing our minds, we continue to think and act in worldly ways that contradict the Bible.
We take more missteps on our journey while we’re still spiritually immature, and God patiently guides and corrects us as needed. Sometimes He speaks to us through the situations we get into, and sometimes it’s through other people. The Holy Spirit in us leads us in the right direction and acts as our compass, motivating us to seek after God as we let Him transform us from the inside out. “Like newborn babies you should crave (thirst for, earnestly desire) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk, that by it you may be nurtured and grow unto [completed] salvation, since you have [already] tasted the goodness and kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:2, 3, AMPC). Even when we make mistakes and fall, God picks us up, sets us back on our feet, and loves on us the same way a parent does a young child just learning to walk.
Growing in Christ means learning to trust Him in every situation. Trusting someone completely with all we have, even our lives, is a scary proposition to many Christians. The world teaches us that trusting someone else is risky, and opening ourselves up makes us vulnerable. Fear of trusting God is probably one of the most difficult areas in which to let go, but He promises to keep us on course if we listen to Him. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).
By relying on Jesus and letting Him perfect us, we shed the old ways of thinking we learned in the world. We move past the ABCs we learned as new Christians and approach spiritual maturity. “So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding” (Hebrews 6:1-3, NLT). It’s not an easy journey, but it’s well worth every step.