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Next Steps: Training to Move Forward

One day Albert Einstein and his young neighbor were having a conversation at a dinner party. Mr. Einstein was asked by his young neighbor what his actual profession was.  Mr. Einstein replied, saying “I devote myself to the study of physics.” The young neighbor was stunned at such a response and replied, “You mean to say you study physics at your age? I finished mine a year ago.”

This neighbor viewed Einstein’s study of physics in the same way that many view the Christian life: a short semester of study and you’re set. In truth, it is an entire life devoted to the study of the Master and His will and a desire to be trained by it, to apply it, to live it. It’s about taking the next steps to move forward.

We often speak of the plan of salvation: Hearing (Rom. 10:17), Believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of the God (Rom. 10:10), Repenting (Acts 2:38), Confessing Jesus (Rom. 10:10), Baptism (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:4; 1 Pet. 3:21). It is always exciting when one comes to understand the truth and obeys the Gospel call. What too many forget is that baptism is not the end; it is the beginning. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3,4)

Many passages of scripture call us to remain faithful such as 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”

In addition to remaining faithful, Hebrews 5:11-6:1 addresses the need for Christians to grow and mature so that they’re able to teach others. The Hebrew writer rebukes the disciples who had lost the desire to move forward and had become “dull of hearing.” Due to such, they were not able to move on from the milk of the word to the strong meat.

This phrase “dull of hearing” means sluggish, some would translate it as lazy.  The Hebrew passage describes those who were not taking the next steps, and instead were simply content on where they were.  I cannot stress this enough: We must never be content with where we are spiritually as if we have arrived. We must take the next steps in learning to move forward, determined not to stay where we are.

There are some who have never taken the next steps because they didn’t fully comprehend that God desires for them to grow! (1 Peter 2:2). Then you have those who were at one time aware of the next steps, but decided not to take them, becoming “drifters,” as they decisively wanted to move backwards rather than forwards. (Hebrews 2:1 “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away”). Whether you are a new babe in Christ or a seasoned Christian, we must know that God always wants us to be growing and maturing in our faith! (cf. Hebrews 6:1)

When you look at the passage of Hebrews 5, many would simply say that these brethren “just stopped trying.” The passage as read from the NASB, “But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

It is quite evident that this is not about trying, this is about training on an individual level.  Spiritually, we must be taking the next steps in training each and every day; our spiritual vitality depends upon it! (1 Cor. 9:25; 1 Tim. 4:7,8; 2 Tim. 3:16,17)

We continually need to train, practice, exercise, and discern because we can’t do the right thing at the right time in the right way with the right attitude every single time. The fact is, we all have a lot of training and practicing to do! Yet there are so many opportunities to train and learn that are taken for granted and wasted. There are Christians, new and yes, even “seasoned,” who are being spiritually slaughtered every day by the devil because the next steps are being neglected.

We must be intentional and decisive in our training because it does NOT happen by accident! People at the gym didn’t just drift into that establishment by happenstance. They went there with drive, with purpose. We need to wake up every day with drive, with purpose for God! We are going to train, we are going to exercise, with the very goal of spiritual maturity and growth.

We need the reminder of what we are training for, what the next steps mean. It’s a fight that our spiritual life depends upon, the good fight of faith that we are exhorted to contend for (Jude 3; 1 Tim. 6:12).

I hope we will make this very personal. I hope that we will be resolved to become more than what we have been. As one has said, “If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll always be what we’ve always been.”

I want to encourage you to take the next step. It may be that you need to take the first step in your faith putting Christ on in baptism. Take that first step. If you are interested in learning more about the first step in your faith, please get with me and we’ll do that. As a Christian, who may be a new babe in Christ, take the next step, “desiring the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Start the maturing process by exercising, practicing, training your senses.

As a Christian who may be considered “seasoned”, take the next step, continuing to grow in the faith and then teach others. Move from just simply saying “I got to” to “I get to,” having an attitude of loving obedience to our Lord and Savior. Allow Him to constantly transform you, mold and make you into the masterpiece He so desires. Take the next step to NOT just simply TRY, but intentionally train.

May we be excited about what this training will build us and lead us to!

Something to think about. Have a great week! – DJ 🙂

About Author

DJ Dickerson

Evangelist | La Porte Church of Christ

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