Phases & Stages, part 7
Now we move from the “Phases” part of this series to the “Stages” portion. As we grow from infancy through childhood, to adulthood, we pass through different stages. We begin with I John 2:12-14.
I John 2:12-14
I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13 . . . I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. 14 I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. . . I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
STAGE 1 – INFANCY (Greek word – Teknion)
Both naturally & spiritually, we’re talking about newly-born people. Infancy is a time of dependency, and it is INTENDED to be a very short time. After only a few weeks or months, a baby rolls over, then he begins to crawl. At about one year of age, that baby starts walking. He may need help for a short time, but soon, he is walking on his own.
I Peter 2:2-3
Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
If you’re a new Christian, your job is to taste & see that God is GOOD! You should CRAVE pure spiritual milk – wanting to be fed and learning how to feed yourself so you can grow up in God, and never turn away from His goodness!
Sometimes people say, “I’m just not getting fed at my church.” We must remember that – A mature person knows how to feed themselves! Even a young child can feed themselves if someone puts food in front of them. The more you mature, the less you should have to depend on others for spiritual feeding!
STAGE 2 – CHILDHOOD (Greek word – Paidion) or half-grown boy or girl.
By the time we reach this stage, we are walking, talking, and eating. Childhood is a time of growth, learning & character development. This is the time when we come to understand that our sins have been forgiven and we begin to know our Father! This is the time when we learn how to function within a family, obeying mom & dad and others in authority. We learn how to relate to others beyond our family too.
I John 2:28-29
And now, dear children, continue in Him . . .
As we are learning to function within the family of God, we make mistakes. We learn. We progress. We see older, more stable Christians as examples. We need encouragement, correction, and comfort.
STAGE THREE – YOUNG MEN (Greek word – Neaniskos) – a youth under 40!
By this time, both naturally and spiritually, we are able to do most things on our own. This time of our life usually includes a struggle between independence and submission. We want more independence, but we need even deeper discipleship. We must willingly yield ourselves to those who are more mature, who have greater wisdom – while at the same time we’re learning to seek wisdom from God on our own. The struggle itself is not a bad thing. The problem is, we have an enemy who will try to manipulate us and use this struggle against us.
I John 2:13
. . . I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.
This is the stage of overcoming. We learn to resist and overcome the evil one, Satan himself. There can be many issues involved in this. Our God knows us all so intimately that His plan for our growth and success is tailor-made just for us. If I am a selfish person, he deals with my selfishness. If I am prideful, He humbles, etc. If we submit to His work in our lives, we will reach the next stage – the most useful stage.
Check back for the final entry in this series, Stages and Phases part 8.