February 13, Monday

christineliThe AMI QT devotionals for February 13-19 are provided by Christine Li. Christine graduated from University of Pennsylvania and currently lives and works in New York City. She attends Remnant Church in Manhattan.

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT FOR TODAY

Growing Up in Christ
1 Corinthians 3:1-3: Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans?

deleteThe house I grew up in is still the same one that my parents live in. When my younger brother and I are home, sometimes we will look at the wall that has all of our height charted. We will marvel at how little we used to be, but my brother also likes to point out, in particular, where he first caught up to me in height – and where he began to overtake everyone in the family in stature. I will never know, but reminding others of his exceptional growth seems to be very satisfying for him.

Paul says that our spiritual selves also have markers from which we can track our development. In early stages as Christians, most of our concerns are all personal, and our thoughts are mostly occupied with ourselves – when we are unleashed onto others, there is disunity and distrust. As we “grow up” in the faith, those scenarios should decrease.

Today, let’s take some time to assess how we are growing. Have we let ourselves stagnate in spiritual growth, still being mired in personal concerns? Or are we growing and showing genuine love and patience for one another?

Usually, when we measure our spiritual growth, we use a lot of numbers: How many things am I getting involved in? How many chapters of the Bible can I read a day? How much money am I giving to the church now? While these are a good start, I want to share what Dallas Willard writes about measuring spiritual growth: “We measure things like attendance and giving, but we should be looking at more fundamental things like anger, contempt, honesty, and the degree to which people are under the thumb of their lusts. Those things can be counted, but not as easily as offerings.”

As we strive for true spiritual growth, let’s ask God for the right measures of success. May He give us grace to see where we are immature in our behavior and a true desire to grow. We do not want to stay spiritual infants and children long-term; we want to grow into a mature family of Christ so that we might bless one another.

Prayer: Father, we want to truly grow in You. You do not count our growth by the number of years we followed You but by the depth to which You have refined us. Show us where we must grow up, Lord, and give us Your grace so that we might be a blessing to one another. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Song of Songs 1


LUNCH BREAK STUDY

Read Ephesians 4:11-16: So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. 14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Questions to Consider

  1. How does Paul define Christian maturity here?
  2. What are aspects of Christian infancy that Paul warns against here?
  3. What are the practices that we can use to build one another up in love? Let’s take time to reflect on whether we are helping one another in this way.

Notes

  1. Christian maturity is the ”whole measure of the fullness of Christ” –it is when our lives begin to reflect the character of Jesus Christ. The passage suggests that this comes as we experience unity in faith and grow in our knowledge of Christ Himself.
  2. Christian infancy is uncertain about the truths of the gospel and easily swayed; since Christian maturity is marked by Christ’s character, we know that ungodly behavior will be an indicator of immature faith, too. We can begin to grow when we are rooted in God’s truth and character, not chasing after teachings here and there, but by learning to discern between truths and deceit.
  3. Paul mentions that some are gifted to teach (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers). We can build the body up by speaking God’s truth lovingly to one another. As we also discover and exercise the spiritual gifts that God has given us, we will properly bolster and support one another.

EVENING REFLECTION

Is spiritual growth currently a priority for you? If so, how are you measuring your growth? Let’s take time to reflect on how we want to grow and ask Him for the help to get us there.

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