We often speak of the individualized side of following Jesus to warn others from a false belief of inheriting the benefits of another’s devotion, but we also miss something. One Christian’s growth should help build the rest of us up.
Following Jesus is more than a solitary pursuit. To draw near to Jesus means alignment with others who are following Him as well. That’s why the church is so vital to our growth. It helps us flesh out what it means to live for Jesus.
1 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, desire the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow up into your salvation, 3 if you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, a living stone—rejected by people but chosen and honored by God— 5 you yourselves, as living stones, a spiritual house, are being built to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.1 Peter 2:1-5
The first step in growing as a Christian is ridding ourselves of sins that hinder the church’s growth (2:1). The transgressions listed above are all those that affect others negatively. Our disobedience discourages others.
We must crave the essentials of obedience. Every believer requires spiritual nourishment. To have a healthy diet, we must know what to reject and what to consume (2:2). The Scriptures provide us with the required palate so that we may gradually mature.
Salvation comes through faith, but too many believers stagnate in their development. Receiving the gospel is not an invitation that the spiritual task of this life is complete. It actually serves as a starting point rather than a finishing one. We are not meant to remain as spiritual infants for all our lives.
It’s time to grow up!
As you mature, something grander transpires. Your development encourages another’s development. The church isn’t a building, but God expects the people to function as a united structure (2:4-5). Every disciple is like a stone stacked upon each other to make something more impressive and functional together. No one ever marvels at a lone brick, but a magnificent structure is complete when arrayed together.
It’s time to build up!
While growing in Christ is worthwhile to honor the LORD and the wisest path for ourselves, we should never overlook the benefits it provides for others. As we grow up personally, we build up collectively.