Faith and Family

Hungry for maturity in Christ

By Lynn Jones

I read of a missionary who was captured by a group of cannibals. The cannibals put him into a big iron pot and prepared to start the fire. They asked the missionary if he had any final words. He said, “Yes, I am grateful that you will at least get a taste of religion.”

Religious tasting is very much in vogue these days. People move around a good bit and take a taste of this and a taste of that. 

The problem with such an approach is that you can starve to death if you only take an occasional taste. At some point you need to eat and drink deeply.

Eating and drinking deeply are needed for growth as well as for survival. Our desperate need is to go on with God. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). In the Book of Acts, followers of Christ are called various things. One of the things that they are called is followers of “the way” (9:2; 19:9; 24:22). I like that name because it indicates movement. The Christian life is designed to make progress, to grow.

The highway of holiness is not a place, but a way. We are to continue to move down that highway. In the words of Paul, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Philip. 3:12). The thing for which Christ took hold of us was to bring us to full maturity in Himself.

Lynn Jones

We must never stall out on the journey. Henri Nouwen said, “He who thinks he has finished is finished. He who thinks he has arrived, has lost the way. He who thinks he has reached his goal has missed it.” A restlessness for full maturity should predominate in our Christian lives.

Henry Sloan Coffin said that every person needs two things, a home and a horizon–a home for a sense of security, and a horizon to urge him on to growth and fresh discovery. A balance is needed. Some are so busy traveling toward the next horizon that they never settle down with the security of truth. Others are so much at home with a truth discovered that they lose all sight of the horizon that beckons them on to fresh discoveries and new experiences with God.

We need to be like one senior adult who was asked the secret of her Christian vitality. She said, “At the beginning of every day, I feel like a schoolgirl standing before God saying, ‘Teach me.’”

Peter wrote: “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” (1 Pet. 2:2-3). May God help us not to be satisfied with just a taste of religion.

Lynn Jones is a retired pastor who lives in Oxford. He does supply preaching for churches in his area and often serves as an interim pastor. Jones is also an author, has written two books and writes a weekly newspaper column. He may be contacted at: 

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