A Question I Was Asked:

'Are All Christians on a Spiritual Journey ?'

The Question:
'Somebody told me, "All Christians are on a spiritual journey, but some are more advanced than others." How do you feel about that?'

My Reply:
Provided one is talking about actual converted people here (not 'nominal Christians'), I think the comment is perfectly correct. One of the marvellous things about God is how He deals with all of us all a little differently, although of course, the vital things of the Gospel are not compromised.

I would point out three things here:

1. I have heard about many who came to Christ during Pentecostal/charismatic meetings, but - after a few years - their understanding has developed; as these people grow, they tend to move away from those areas - they don't remain charismatics. I find this heartening because we should expect Christians to '...Grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ....' (2 Peter 3:18, NKJV).
Again, there are certain Christians currently attending very ritualistic or legalistic places of worship whose maturity is - as yet - somewhat undeveloped, they are caught up in 'religiosity' - many sincere believers certainly do confuse 'religiosity' with true Christian spirituality but the two things are quite different. Yet - given time - they do seem to learn this.

2. We must never confuse spiritual maturity with purely well-developed doctrinal knowledge, although it is only too easy to do so. While more mature Christians can normally be expected to have greater knowledge, it is probably more accurate to say that more mature Christians should have their hearts more truly filled with the love of God. The more mature Christian should be more like Jesus Christ - that is the truer yardstick, although their doctrinal understanding will certainly not have retarded. But some Christians just seem to prefer to avoid doctrinal matters because the love in their hearts has taught them that this area can be divisive. Nevertheless, all such people will hate heresy.

3. We are warned not to compare ourselves with others (2 Corinthians 10:12), and, looking at other Christian believers, it is usually almost impossible to see where they are on their own spiritual journeys; certainly, comparing 'knowledge' with 'knowledge' can be deceptive: Where did we approach from in the first place? So we may see that comparing ourselves with others is unfruitful. The main thing is our relationship with God.

'12. Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed - not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence - continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,
13. for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his own purpose.'
(Philippians 2:12-13, NIV).

Robin A. Brace, October 21st, 2008.