Encouragement in Maturing Spiritually

1 John 2:12-14 gives us the stages of spiritual maturity in a believer’s life. John writes this letter to each stage and gives a simple encouragement so they will continue on in the light of Christ.

12 I am writing to you who are God’s children
    because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.
13 I am writing to you who are mature in the faith
    because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I am writing to you who are young in the faith
    because you have won your battle with the evil one.
14 I have written to you who are God’s children
    because you know the Father.
I have written to you who are mature in the faith
    because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning.
I have written to you who are young in the faith
    because you are strong.
God’s word lives in your hearts,
    and you have won your battle with the evil one.”

The 3 Spiritual Stages of a Believer’s Life:

  1. Children
  2. Young in the faith
  3. Mature in the faith
  • Children: When a person comes to accept Christ as their Savior, they become a child in the faith. John encourages the children to know and remember that their sins have been forgiven through Jesus (v. 12). Also, in verse 14, he writes to them because they are beginning to know the Father intimately and they have become aware of His goodness and love. This letter will help them to increase in intimacy and to show just how much their sins are forgiven through Christ’s sacrifice. Children in the faith, remember that Jesus has taken away all your past, present, and future sins and continue to grow, grow, grow in intimacy with the Father!
  • Young in the faith: As a child matures, they become young in the faith. This could equate to a “spiritual teenager/young adult.” Those who are young in the faith are facing battles with the evil one (Satan) to overcome the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. John seems to give this stage some extra encouragement because it can be challenging to lay down the desires of the flesh and pursue godliness. Those who are young in the faith need to know that they have already overcome Satan (v. 13-14). In fact, John tells them this two times. He reminds them that they are strong and that they have God’s Word living in their hearts (v. 14). If you are young in the faith, remember that you are strong because you have God living in you and His Word is in your heart and mind. You have everything you need to overcome the flesh, the world, and Satan – in fact, Satan has already been defeated! Victory is already yours so go claim it.
  • Mature in the faith: Those who are young in the faith who keep battling and overcoming while trusting God will then progress to being mature in the faith. Those who are in mature in the faith have come to know God in a deeper, more intimate way. John states two times that those who are mature in the faith know Christ who existed from the beginning. They’ve come to truly trust in the work of Christ, to trust His words, and to trust Him. They’ve come to understand more of who God truly is and His character. Progressing spiritually by understanding their sins are forgiven, that they have a relationship with the Father, experiencing strength through Christ in spiritual battles, and knowing they have already overcome Satan has deepened their trust in Christ. If you are mature in the faith, keep trusting, seeking, and following the Lord. He has been faithful in the past to see you through and will continue because He is Faithful and True.

This passage also shows us that God has called us to grow up in Him. He does not desire for us to stay children or even spiritual teenagers. He desires for us to be spiritual adults who have progressed from spiritual milk to solid food (Heb. 5:11-14). Maturity can be a challenging process but so freeing. Read and meditate on these verses and ask the Lord what stage you are in and then allow Him to mature you. He does not leave you to do it on your own. He is with you and will help you and if you fail, His arms will always catch you. Be encouraged today, own where you are in your spiritual walk, and walk forward with the Lord.

Want to go deeper in Bible study? Check out my friend Tiffany’s blog here. She is currently studying the book of Hebrews.

 

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