Mike Focht 11/10/2023
There is a difference between days lived and distance traveled. Just because we are older does not mean that we have made much progress in our spiritual life. Spiritual growth is not exactly the same as physical growth, which is crucial for us to recognize. It is possible to live a long time, become fully mature physically, and still be a baby spiritually.
This observation shouldn’t shock us. We have all experienced someone in the Body of Christ who should be much farther along in their spiritual journey than they are. Paul came into contact with many of them in Corinth. And I brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able, for you are carnal.
One of the main reasons that we must recognize that spiritual growth is a reality is to look at ourselves and see if we are growing! A Christian can live in a state of stunted growth. The very possibility should make us all watchful and alert. Others remain in a slowly deteriorating position for years or decades before realizing something is wrong. Often it is the humiliating shock of a sinful public action or the stunning lack of spiritual grace in a time of trial that forces us into the revelation that we are not as mature as we thought.
Stunted growth happens physically. The difference is that physical stunted growth becomes very obvious. Physical handicaps tend to be diagnosed quickly. The danger with a lack of spiritual growth is that spiritual handicaps often go unrecognized until someone with real spiritual maturity points them out, directly or indirectly.
And in our current day and age, we typically stigmatize mature spiritual correction as legalism or religious pride. If anyone were to speak to a group of modern Christians like Paul spoke to the Corinthian church, we would immediately reject everything else they had to say because of how hard and judgmental they were. Thank God the Corinthians—despite their carnality—could hear God’s word and accept the godly rebuke from Paul. They were more mature than many who read their letter and scorn them today!
The Bible constantly encourages us to grow spiritually because God knows how easy it is to settle down and imagine that our spirits are as mature as our bodies. Just because we have been Christians for many days doesn’t mean we have also traveled a proportional distance in spiritual maturity. Days lived is not the same as distance traveled.