If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
Investing in God’s people from life to life
These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
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A young believer will go through stages of development just as people develop physically from childhood to adulthood. 2 Peter takes us through some stages of development. I break them down as - Romance, Transformation and Mastery. These stages can be helpful for someone coming alongside to coach in spiritual development.
We want to see the young in faith grow. What should we expect at different stages? How do we help at different stages?
Development is a process. A young disciple of Jesus will make mistakes because they are ignorant of many aspects of the Christian faith. Even if they do have a degree of understanding, they might make mistakes through lack of confidence that God will work in them or their situation.
In our excitement we can make the mistake of demanding too much from someone. I certainly have been guilty of this. Peter gives us a breakdown of the stages a young believer can go through in developing from faith to love. 2 Peter 1:5-8.
The early stages of the Christian life are a discovery, a Romance stage. It is a time of wonder at new life as God pops up at unexpected moments. Reading the Bible they read with new eyes of who this great God is.
Starting from a point of no knowledge and not living a godly life, the new life develops. There are moments of realisation about how God would have us live. New values, new activities, and a change from old ways.
2 Peter 1:5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
My observation is that the three qualities are built as a ring. Faith, or trust in God is the start. The young believer starts doing what they understand to be good, possibly from ignorance. This may not be Biblical but it is the best they can do. This sense of goodness is sharpened as they gain knowledge from the Bible. Faith is developed as they live out true goodness in the light of Biblical understanding. So the cycle of Faith, goodness and knowledge spirals up.
The middle stage develops character. Much has been learned, but not tested by adversity. This stage focuses on training and disciplined living of the Christian life. The result is a depth of transformation that shines through in all circumstances. Now, God intervenes in life in a way that requires perseverance and self control.
2 Peter 1: 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
Love is the goal of this process. It takes the quality of resoluteness and determination and softens it to bring love and kindness. It is a stage of mastering the Christian life; learning to express God’s life in their own way. It takes the focus from ourselves and our obedience, to the needs of others who need God’s care.
2 Peter 1: 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
PROCESS OF GROWTH