John 2:13
I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father.

Heb 5:12
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Heb 5:14
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

When Christ came to earth, He came to manifest to mankind the gospel of the Kingdom. Over the centuries, the Church has tended to emphasize only a portion of the gospel. That portion is the gospel of salvation. However, Jesus came that we might have more than just salvation. He came to give us a whole new life that was accompanied by signs, wonders, and His Spirit living in us and revealing Himself to us daily. He came so that we might walk on this earth as He did. If our lives are not reflecting the same things as Jesus' did, we must ask why?

The scriptures above shows three distinct stages of spiritual growth believers go through. First, we come to Christ out of a need for salvation. Our hearts have been touched by His call on our lives. We reason and analyze the claims of Christ and make a decision for Him. It is the convenient time to accept Him in our lives. This first stage is often characterized by a "Bless me, Lord" attitude toward God. It is the first stage that primarily brings salvation into our lives. It is Christian infancy and some never really go past this first stage. A form of spiritual retardation.

The second stage is the crisis stage. As young Christians crisis takes place in our lives, and we are motivated to seek Christ with a whole heart. However, this motivation is not out of pure love for Christ; rather, it is motivated by the desire to get out of the pain of living. The motivation is to solve "the what" versus "the why" in my life at the time. This stage is best characterized as "Help me, Lord."

In the third stage we begin to experience the gospel of the Kingdom. It is the place where Jesus resided in His walk with His heavenly Father. It is the place of conviction. The number of people who live at this level are quite few, but these people are experiencing the reality of a walk with God that is foreign to all others. They are seeing daily occurrences of His involvement in their lives. They are motivated by a deep love for Him. They know Him. These people have an attitude characterized by these thoughts, "Have me, Lord; though He slay me, still will I trust Him."

Where are you today? We should not rush through these stages as they are natural stages of growth and each serves a purpose in our lives and we must fully understand and experience each level of maturity but we must assess from time to time that we are not "stuck" inappropriately. How long have you been "saved"? Have you merely accepted His salvation to simply float along? Or do you seek Him with a whole heart only when a crisis occurs? His desire is for you and me to live a life of conviction, motivated by our love for Him and His love for us. This is where we will experience the full gospel of the Kingdom. Father, help us love you and each other as you first loved us and gave your Son as an example and a sacrifice for us.

Grace and Peace,
Ed