John the son of Zebedee gives us a vivid picture of the spiritual growth the Lord wants to work in us.
In the Gospel of John, he presents himself, along with his fellow disciples, as fleshly in orientation. This was early in Jesus’ ministry. For example, Jesus would say to them something like “I have food to eat that you do not know about,” and they would say to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?” (John 4:32-33). Jesus was speaking spiritually, but they were still quite fleshly.
In another example (Matthew 16:5-12), Jesus speaks to John and the others about leaven. They think He’s talking about physical leaven, but He’s actually speaking about spiritual leaven.
Note then the great contrast when you get to the book of Revelation, also written by John. That book is so spiritual, and we are so fleshly, that it sounds like gobbledygook to most of us. Yet the same John wrote it that had such a hard time understanding Jesus in the beginning. John had grown. He had matured from a fleshly orientation to a spiritual orientation.
We must go through the sort of change that John did – especially if we are to speak the word of God to others. Remember 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 and let not its admonition apply to you. Remember also Hebrews 5:12-14. If you are to teach others the way of Christ, be mature. To be mature means to be spiritual and not fleshly. The apostle John provides a clear example to follow.