Spiritual Maturity

Edwin Adams, London

How solemn are the words of our Lord, 'Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up', Matt. 15.13. On the other hand every true child of God is a plant of God's own planting and will always remain so, for he is the object of the great Gardener's everlasting love and care. Young believers, like young plants, need care while they are being reared. Because of the new life that was in them the 'babes' mentioned by John in his first Epistle knew God and could rejoice in the forgiveness of sins, but in the same Epistle the apostle makes it very clear that he is not expecting them to remain babes or little children. God does not want us to remain in spiritual childhood but to go on to spiritual maturity. For this reason the apostle Peter was honoured with the task of feeding Christ's lambs. Young believers need watchful care so that the new life may not be hindered in its development; they need the right sort of food and exercise, and the right environment. There is always the danger of drifting, of letting the spiritual life droop.
This notice appeared by the roadside: 'Hardy Plants Nursery'. Young believer, what kind of a plant are you? Hardy plants will not be discouraged by cold winds and a nip of frost in the air. Are you? While it is true that God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb and that Mr. Feeble-Mind is a true pilgrim to the Heavenly City, it is also true that 'It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth', Lam. 3. 27. If your spiritual life is vigorous the frost of neglect and the blast of trial will not cripple it, but rather increase its stamina. It is when the soul is drooping that it may fall an easy prey to error germs that are always lurking in the mental atmosphere. In New Testament times Christians looked upon their life as a kind of military service under Christ their great Commander, and like them we are to 'endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ', 2 Tim. 2. 3. We are not to be parasites, creepers and clingers; we must stand on our own feet. Nor must we be merely spoon-fed Christians; healthy grown men feed themselves. Thus may it be ours joyfully to 'grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ'.