The example of our lives gives weight to our words. We must make sure that we are practicing what we preach.
18 A wicked [making decisions without regard to Christ] person earns deceptive wages [leading them astray from Christ and His way], but the one who sows righteousness [daily] reaps a sure reward.
As we look at the Infant stage of spiritual growth, we must understand that new Christians are secure in their salvation, but lacking in their understanding. It is the job and joy of the church to feed them and watch them grow in Christ.
The first thing we must teach them is that our faith and daily walk in Christ is not based upon a feeling, but on our knowledge. Yes, we felt His peace and joy when He entered into us; yes, we feel His presence and participation in our lives each day, but many times we do NOT feel Him when we are overwhelmed by the waves of the sea as Peter was (Matthew 14:29-31). These waves are the world’s attempts to dissuade us and to draw us back into its clutches. Our faith is based upon the promises of God in His Word, the Bible.
The second thing we must teach them is that although our faith is based upon our knowledge, it is God who saves us and keeps us in Jesus Christ. Intellectual belief is NOT the same as heart-felt faith. Faith requires trust, which is belief in action. We give our lives to Christ the first time (salvation) and every day afterward (sanctification) so that eventually, we will be just like Jesus (glorification).
The third thing is that the more we learn, the more we realize we don’t know, which whets our appetites to learn more about Christ and His kingdom…and the cycle continues into eternity. Learning just a few basic tenants of the Christian faith will not sustain a person for very long. For instance, take the account of manna that was given to the Israelites in the desert for forty years. It’s in Exodus, so we learn about it by reading Exodus 16. Those passages explain that manna was given daily except on the Sabbath. The Israelites were to gather just enough for each weekday and then for two days (enough for the Sabbath). God regulated the amount and provided enough for everyone. If anyone kept the manna for more than one day, it spoiled. The lesson here is that our daily bread (Matthew 6:11) is like manna from heaven. We need daily nourishment that is fresh. Also, Jesus is our manna from heaven (John 6:49-51). We need a fresh communion with Jesus daily, as well. These are basic truths, i.e. milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2).
Let’s make sure that our new brothers and sisters are receiving all they need to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Abba, I know that it is the responsibility of Your church to raise their young. May we take seriously our own walk with You so that we are not trying to live on moldy manna. Keep us fresh so that we can lead others by our example as much as by our teaching. We are depending on You, our Manna from heaven. Amen.