25. After the spirit is born in us how does it grow and mature?
Like all other living organisms the spirit has an inner dynamism to grow. Like a child it will long for milk. So Peter says, “Like newborn babes, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2).
So also Paul said to the Corinthian Christians, “I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it” (1 Corinthians 3:2). These Corinthian Christians who were born as spirits were fed with the milk of the spirit. Hebrews 5:12 tells us what this milk is. It is “the first principles of God's word.”
After milk, of course, it takes solid food. Hebrews 5:14 says, “But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their faculties trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.” Solid food refers to the “whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). Hebrews, chapter 6 onwards is an example of this solid food.
But the best food is Jesus himself, as he said, “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed” (John 6:55). And he is found best in the Gospels. That is why Teresa of Avila has this to say of the Gospels: “I have always been fond of the words of the Gospels and have found more recollection in them than in the most carefully planned books” (WAY OF PERFECTION, chapter 21).
The child grows and matures also by doing the things that its family does. It learns the work or trade of the family. So also the spiritual child grows and matures by learning the work of the kingdom of God. Jesus considered this also as food, since working in the family makes the child grow and mature. In John 4:32-34 he says to his disciples, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” So the disciples said to one another, “Has any one brought him food?” Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.” So, doing the work of Jesus is also food for the spirit. It enables this spirit to grow and mature.
Secondly, just like the physical child, the spiritual child needs a lot of sleep. When a physical child sleeps it is left alone to rest. In a similar way the spiritual child needs a lot of time just to be with itself. It needs solitude, aloneness, to build up its strength.
Thirdly, again like a physical child, the spiritual child needs discipline. It needs to be directed by its parent, the God Father of spirits, along the proper path.
Hebrews 12:5-11 has an extensive discussion on this discipline. “And have you forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons? – ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor lose courage when you are punished by him. For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers to discipline us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time at their pleasure, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Fourthly, like a physical child, the spiritual child learns to talk to its parents, its brothers and sisters. Talking to our heavenly parent is called prayer. Talking with our brothers and sisters in the spirit is called fellowship.
But all these things are not imposed on the spirit. He just grows with this food, rest or solitude, discipline, work, prayer and fellowship. A physical baby naturally obtains these things with the help of its parents, brothers and sisters. So also the spiritual baby naturally obtains these things for its growth from God its parent and from its brothers and sisters who are also spirits.
Tomorrow we rest. When we resume on Sunday our topic will be how the spirit bears fruit and multiplies.
Here are my other blogs which may be of help to you:
http://bit.ly/spiritworld for knowing more about spirituality or spiritual realities
http://bit.ly/alterhealthcare for your health
http://bit.ly/novotrends for learning about the new trends around us
http://bit.ly/bepaidonline for earning some income from the Internet
Here are your links to download the e-books for FREE. To download a copy of A NEW CHRIST by Wallace D. Wattles click this website http://bit.ly/anewchrist. To download a free copy of A NEW EARTH by Eckhart Tolle click this website http://bit.ly/ebookanewearth. I hope that you enjoy reading these free e-books and profit much from them, as I have also profited greatly from them.