Below is an excellent series of questions to ask yourself as a Christian to see if you are continuing to grow up in the faith. It is taken from a tract from James L. Melton at Bible Baptist Publications. You an order a printed version of this tract from their website.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5
YOU MIGHT BE A SPIRITUAL BABY
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (I Cor. 3:1-3)
In the above passage of Scripture, the apostle Paul speaks of the Corinthian Christians as being immature babies. Rather than having grown up and matured in the Lord, these Christians were still carnal and selfish babies who were bringing shame to the name of Jesus Christ
Could this be the case with you, friend? Are YOU a spiritual baby? No doubt, the Corinthians would have denied being immature babies, yet Paul stated that they were. Would he say the same about you? Please examine yourself, Christian, because YOU just might be a spiritual baby.
YOU MIGHT BE A SPIRITUAL BABY IF . . .
You Find Yourself Often Fighting with Other Christians
Babies will fight about anything and everything. Left to themselves, young siblings will slap, pull hair, kick, poke, punch, argue and scream. They haven’t really learned that they aren’t enemies, so they live as though there were.
As a Christian, your enemies are the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Other Christians are NOT your enemies. In the above Scripture, Paul points out envy, strife and division as characteristics of babies! Yet, our churches are filled with Christians who see nothing better to do than fight with other church members. Are you presently “mad” and fighting with another Christian about something? Is the cause of your fight something that Jesus would also fight about? If not, then you are a baby and you need to GROW UP and follow your Lord.
Get out of the playpen and onto the real battlefield. Stop fighting the “goo goo” fight with other Christians and start fighting the GOOD fight for Jesus Christ.
You Enjoy Being the Center of Attention
A baby delights in being the center of attention. If someone else is receiving attention, then a baby will do or say something to put himself in the spotlight.
Many Christians are like this. Rather than wait for their turn (I Pet. 5:6), spiritual babies will speak up, or step out, or act up, or show out in an effort to draw attention to themselves. Paul said, in III John 1:9, “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.” Diotrephes was a spiritual baby, so he misbehaved by rejecting Paul. Paul would have received too much attention, so the spotlight baby turned him away.
Are you such a baby? Do you push for attention, or do you wait upon the Lord?
You Are Shallow in Your Knowledge of the Scriptures
Babies have very little knowledge and understanding, so they will drink poison, eat insects, play in the streets, and even jump into water far over their heads. They have a great lack of knowledge and understanding, so they must rely on others to teach them.
The Bible says in I Peter 2:2, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” Just as a baby needs to grow from his mother’s milk, a Christian baby needs to grow from the word of God. If you are rather shallow in your knowledge of the Scriptures, then you are just as shallow about applying the Scriptures to your own life. You can’t possibly be obeying the Bible if you aren’t faithfully reading it. This makes you a spiritual baby. God wants you to GROW UP to be a good soldier for Christ.
You Are Easily Offended
Babies are very sensitive, and their feelings are easily hurt. When things don’t go their way, they will whine, cry, pout, sulk, and even throw tantrums. They haven’t learned to endure affliction, so they only know to be offended when trouble comes. Are YOU such a person?
Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Friend, the word of God can make you strong and mature. Faith in God’s great promises can give you the strength to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (II Tim. 2:3). Why be a brownie scout when you can be a trained veteran soldier of Jesus Christ?
You Are Never Satisfied
A baby never ceases to whimper and cry for things. He’s hungry, so you feed him. Then he’s tired, so you give him a nap. He then wakes up with a wet diaper. You change the diaper, then he wants to play. You refuse to play, so he cries. Then he’s hot. Then he’s cold. Then he bumps his head. A baby is just never satisfied.
Many of God’s people are like this. They whimper about everything. The preacher preaches too long. He didn’t shake your hand today. He didn’t smile at you. Sally’s dress is nicer than your dress. George’s wife is prettier than your wife. Doesn’t old Fred know that he’s sitting in your pew? By the way, who authorized that new wall paper? No one consulted your opinion.
Our churches are just filled with this kind of never-ending nagging and murmuring. While the mature Christians are praying, studying, working or winning souls, the murmuring little babies are being used of Satan to hinder and frustrate the real work of the ministry.
The Bible says in Numbers 11:1, “And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD . . .” God is DISPLEASED with your constant murmuring, and He will judge you for it if it doesn’t stop. You, as a born-again child of God, are expected to be CONTENT, THANKFUL and REJOICING in the Lord (Philip. 4:4; 4:11; I Thes. 5:18). Anything less is SIN.
You Have Trouble Staying Clean
A baby simply cannot stay clean. You can give him a bath and powder him real nice, but, if you aren’t careful, he’ll be in a mess before you can drain the bath water. He will play in the flower pot. He will play in the toilet. He will play in the cat litter. Then he will spill the apple juice all over himself. A baby will not stay clean.
Are you like this? Do you walk a straight and clean path for the Lord Jesus Christ, or do you find yourself playing with sin? Do you peep at the dirty magazines as you walk by the display? What about those steamy “love scenes” on television? Young person, what happened on your date last week? Dad, how many dirty jokes did you laugh at? Mom, how much gossip did you help to spread?
Jesus said, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you,” (John 15:3) yet most Christians don’t spend even one tenth of the time reading their Bible that they waste watching television. No wonder you can’t stay clean! You’re a spiritual baby, always defiling yourself with sin.
You Become Jealous Over the Success of Others
A baby only cares about himself. He is totally self-centered, so he always wants what others have. No matter how many toys he has, he will throw a fit if he cannot have another child’s toy. If another child is receiving special attention, then a baby will become jealous and fight to have the attention all for himself.
Spiritual babies are the same. They become jealous when other Christians receive a special blessings. They can’t rejoice with those that rejoice because they are too busy being jealous! Are you jealous because someone sings better than you, or because someone knows the Bible better than you? Are you jealous because the preacher often speaks well of a certain person, but that person isn’t you? Does it bother you that someone is getting married while you are still single?
Christian friend, your eyes should be upon your Saviour, not upon other Christians (Heb. 12:2). If you find yourself focusing on the affairs of others, then maybe it’s because you are still a babe in Christ and you need to grow up.
There will always be some babies in our churches. The little ones are in the nursery, and the big ones are in the pews, but YOU don’t have to be one of them. Your spiritual growth is your personal responsibility. Your primary goal in life should be to become LIKE Jesus Christ. If you wear His holy name (CHRISTian), then you should live a life that is worthy of His name.
If God has shown you that you are a spiritual baby, then why not confess your sin right now and make a commitment to start growing. Why not put off your spiritual diapers and put on the whole armour of God (Eph. 6:10-18)?
~ Copyright © 2000 James L. Melton
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. 11 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
“In my own pastoral and personal Christian experience, I can say that I’ve never known a man or woman who came to spiritual maturity except through discipline. Godliness comes through discipline.”~ Donald Whitney