In 1 John 2:14-16, John talks about stages of spiritual maturity. Keep in mind that as we look at “little children,” “young men,” and “fathers,” spiritual maturity has nothing to do with the years on the calendar, but with submission to God’s truth (Hebrews 5:12-14). We grow as we do what God says (1 Peter 1:14-16). In fact, in Hebrew thinking, knowing something is expressed by action, not just mental affirmation (James 2:17-20).

As “little children,” we begin by knowing that our sins are forgiven for His Name’s sake (1 John 2:12). That’s grace, beloved (Romans 3:24)! And when we remember the Lord in taking communion together, we are not thinking about our good deeds, but our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:1-7). As precious as a child is, something would be wrong if that baby did not begin to develop and grow. Such is true in the spiritual realm (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). It is one thing for a new believer to require constant care and attention, but it is another thing for someone who got saved 35 years ago to need the same degree of attention and care!

The second stage of growth is becoming “young men” and women in the faith as we hide God’s Word in our hearts and put it into practice in our lives (Psalm 119:9,11). As we grow strong in the word, we begin to experience victory over the devil (1 John 2:13,14; 1 Peter 5:8,9).

The last stage, of course, is spiritual fatherhood (1 Corinthians 4:15). The adult phase in the Christian life is that period when, as John simply says, they know The Father. It is being in that stage of growth when we just know The Lord in that beautiful personal way (Jeremiah 9:23,24). It is that place of spiritual maturity where we become more like Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:10). And that is the goal that we should all set before ourselves this morning (Philippians 3:13,14). May each and every one of us pray this morning, “Lord, show me how I can grow in your grace and knowledge of Jesus.”

Of course, the knowing of Christ and the growing in Christ go hand in hand for the simple reason that the more we know about The Lord, the more we will be devoted to Him. So as we go through our lives this morning, may we do so with an open heart and a deeper desire to know Christ and serve Him together.