Stages of the Christian Journey

I have been walking with Jesus as my best friend for 55 years. According to John’s stages of the Christian journey, I’m a father.

He wrote this about fathers.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning. (1 John 2.13)

He repeated his message about fathers in verse 14.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

The big word in these two verses is “know.” Henry Blackaby wrote about knowing God in his classic study, “Experiencing God.”

According to Blackaby, knowledge is more than cognitive assent to statements about God. Knowledge is a personal experience of his reality.

Mature Christians (fathers or mothers) have a collection of experiences with God and they “know that they know” him.

During the 2004 Billy Graham Crusade in Kansas City, I sat beside Cliff Barrows in two meetings. Barrows was a longtime music and program director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

On both occasions, I sensed a powerful spiritual presence in Barrows. He was a “father” in the truest sense of the word and reflected the multiple experiences of God’s work in his demeanor.

God wants all of his children to move from childish faith to maturity. We do so by faithfully following the leadership of the Holy Spirit.


Followers of Jesus don’t begin as “fathers or mothers” in the faith. We all start as children.

John devoted two verses to children.

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins are forgiven on account of his name. (1 John 2.12)

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father. (1 John 2.14)

Children know the Father because it is only by knowing the Father that they become children.

We call God “Father,” because he is personal. He is not an “unmoved mover,” as some philosophies once stated. He is a personal Father, the best Father anyone could imagine.

Since sin blocks our relationship with God, sin must be forgiven.

One of my friends was early in his walk with the Lord. One night he was unable to sleep and many of his sins kept circling in his mind.

At one point when was in the middle ground of sleep and wakefulness, the Lord appeared in his consciousness. Jesus hugged him and told him all of his sins were forgiven.

This was the most profound experience of his young Christian journey.

Not only are Christians forgiven, but we are children – children in God’s family.

Young People

Like “fathers” and “children,” John had a message for another stage in the Christian journey.

I am writing to you, young people,
because you have conquered the evil one. (1 John 2.13)

I write to you, young people,
because you are strong
and the word of God abides in you,
and you have overcome the evil one. (1 John 2.14)

An old man once said to me, “Children run, but they don’t run very far.” The Christian journey is a walk, not a race.

Children need to mature in their walk with the Lord, or they will be overcome by the evil one.

An abiding relationship with God’s word is absolutely essential to walking with the Lord.

Rudy Ross believes that “daily bread” in the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6.11) refers to a daily meeting with God while reading the Bible.

Referring to the manna that God provided his people in the wilderness, Rudy reminds us that manna must be gathered each day. Yesterday’s manna fills with worms.

Rudy is right. We abide in God’s word by making it a daily part of each day. As we do that, we will find the strength to overcome the temptations of this world.

All of us begin as children, move into youth, and end up as mature fathers and mothers of the faith.

The best choice we can make is to continue on the journey to full maturity.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I continue our study of 1 John today. Our video can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s