Jesus told Nicodemus that he couldn’t enter, much less see, the Kingdom of God unless he had been born of the Spirit. At first this confused Nicodemus; he had been so sure that by keeping God’s law he’d checked all the boxes and had his ticket into heaven. Jesus helped him see the importance of being born of the Spirit. But our relationship with Jesus shouldn’t stagnate once we’ve started our relationship with him. Our relationship with Jesus is a journey. He calls us to continually be growing and maturing in him, coming to new heights of faith, obedience, and hope.
Starting with the new creation
We don’t start in the heights. When we take our first steps with Jesus, we’re in the foothills. The journey has just begun, but it is certainly a journey!
God created us with flesh. We are human, and we need our skin and bones. But once we are in Christ, once we’ve started this journey with him and let him breathe our spirit to life, we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Brand spanking new! And God will carry to completion the transforming work he has started in us. It’s a journey, and it will take time, but God won’t stop transforming us as long as we’re on earth.
We start as babies, having just been born again, and this transformation matures us in Christ a little bit at a time. Eventually, we’re supposed to grow up.
Yes, we are supposed to long for this milk, the things that are easy to do and understand. But Peter still calls us to grow up. In another book, Paul laments that the Christians are still ‘drinking spiritual milk’ when by this time they should have ‘grown up enough’ to be able to eat solid food (1 Corinthians 3:2).
Babies aren’t babies forever, and we’re not supposed to be spiritual babies forever, either.
Growing Up in the Fruit of the Spirit
We need to grow up, to mature. But we shouldn’t expect to run right away. Instead, let’s let Jesus teach us and help us grow.
One way we can see our growth is in the fruit of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is a list of character traits Paul gives us in Galatians that are fruit, or evidence, of the Spirit living in us. It is a list of God’s character traits that he gives to us once we’re born of the Spirit.[Related Post: The Fruit of God’s Character]
So, take an inventory. Are you maturing in these areas? Have you been acting less like your old, human, ‘fleshly’ self and more like Jesus? Are you growing up, or stagnant?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25).
Celebrate the progress you have seen, and pray that God would continue to mature you and make you more like him.
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