Gods system is designed to grow the believer no matter the point we are in the faith, God seeks growth, one that is often evidenced in our relations to our neighbour, and not necessarily as individual entities, because the fruits of the Spirit are often tested in the midst of people and not always in isolation because the test and the fruits development in us is seen when we’re in situations that threaten those fruits and yet, they shine through (Proverbs 24:10).
God gives instructions to Ezekiel concerning the Shepherds over Israel in Ezekiel 34, God expresses His displeasure at their negligence of His sheep and points out their selfishness in caring only for themselves and not the sheep He has put in their care.
As a result of this, God recalls His responsibility to them to shepherd and says that He will shepherd His sheep by Himself so they don’t remain scattered and lost as the previous shepherds had permitted (Ezekiel 34:11).
One will think it ends here, the shepherds were the issue right?
But when God resumes duty as direct shepherd over these ones, God says “I will judge between one sheep and another and between rams and goat”, Further down in the chapter, God says He will “judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep” (Ezekiel 34:17).
Meaning that even among the sheep, there are still opportunities for grown ones to feed, guide and steward those still growing, it’s not totally up to the shepherds. So this puts a responsibility on all of us regardless of our status as shepherd or sheep.
God expects that at every level of our lives, we be Paul’s (believers desiring to accomplish Gods plans in and through us), having Silas’s (fellow believers growing with us to accomplish Gods plans in and through us and keeping us accountable) and developing Timothy’s (fellow believers needing guidance and help through the similar phases we’ve also been through in the faith walk).
If every believer strived for the upward call like Paul, kept themselves accountable with Silas’s and ensured they were actively developing Timothy’s, in no time we’ll have a family of members who are ready for the meat of the word and have not remained babies drinking only milk (Hebrews 5:12).
We see that there’s no level of knowledge too low to be shared or taught. The bible speaks of an Egyptian evangelist in the bible called Apollos who only knew about the baptism of John and taught only that everywhere He went, later, the Lord will connect him to Priscilla and Aquila who took him in and taught him much more to add to what He already knew. Bear in mind that Aquila and Priscilla were also disciples and friends of Paul at this time, but that didn’t stop them from discipling other people who needed it.
The term given to this as we’ll see in the bible and today among ministries following the model is discipleship.
Even shepherds must remain in discipleship to avoid neglecting the call or derailing from the assignment.
None of us have an excuse as regards being discipled or discipling because Gods seeks it at every level of our growth.
Even today, as God remains the chief shepherd of our souls, we’re also called to submit to earthly shepherds in the design of the gathering of the brethren and also be shepherds in whatever capacity the Lord presents us with in our journey.
Our growth is by force lol.