Disconnect between belief and behaviour of Christian converts is the greatest crisis in Christianity. Gandhi puts it succinctly, “I like your Christ, I don’t like your Christians, your Christians are so unlike your Christ. The problem is that of product, what kind of person does the Church produce? The Christ commanded product is a Person called a disciple. Christ commanded His Church to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19).
Unfortunately, many long-time Christians find themselves victims of what appears to be stunted spiritual development (spiritual immaturity). Despite the length of time they have been converted, they seem no farther ahead than when they first came to know Christ.
They continue to throw temper tantrums and find it impossible to keep a lid on their anger. They still demonstrate faithlessness, jealousy, lust and countless other works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19). At the same time, they display little of the fruit of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22). They seem as carnal today as when they started. One may even question the validity of their conversion!
Furthermore, increased practice of consumer based Christianity that cannot truly form people into the image of Christ has given birth to many immature Christians. The danger lies in the fact that it promotes “What can God do for Me?” syndrome, a relentless pursuit of miracles and instant solutions to life challenges. It is Cheap Christianity – promises a lot, requires little.
However, Christian disciples should reflect God’s character in order to penetrate their world and reproduce themselves, which leads to multiplication. Maturing in Christ requires an environment where Christ is honored, taught, emulated and modeled. Disciples grow best under conditions of love, unity, harmony, acceptance, holiness and joy.
My thesis is that the process by which a convert become a disciple (Christian maturity) is similar to the development of a creepy crawling caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly, a process known as metamorphosis. It is a series of developmental stages that baby insects go through to become adults. The word transform is derived from the Greek word ‘met-am-or-fo’ meaning to change into another. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
God desires for us to grow in our understanding of Him, however from birth until we received Christ as our Saviour, we form habits of worldly understanding. Now He wants to gradually transform our understanding of Him, so that we increasingly view life from His perspective.
At the Samuel Foundation, we are committed to producing that Christ commanded product, a disciple. Since 2011, we have been helping people learn and equip themselves for their life’s mission as disciples of Jesus.