With a new niece in my family, my kids have been talking about babies. They want all the details about what they were like when they were babies. What did they do? What did they eat? What did they wear? When did they walk (this is the major one!)? Between the two of them, they can pretty much keep this game up all afternoon. Even at their young ages, there is something ingrained in them that knows they were made for growth and change.
Each person should always be moving towards disciplines like maturity and Christlikeness.
When we are learning something new, success does not come overnight. It requires practice. Faithful study of the discipline or skill. We must be successful in the baby steps before we can face the big events that test us.
One of my babies took her sweet time to practice those first steps. She was a plump baby and acted as if her great achievement was sitting up! We had good laughs over this, but still encouraged her to crawl and walk. Why? Because, we knew it would be detrimental to her if she stopped her growth at “sitting up.” It would eventually be considered a handicap rather than the great accomplishment it was initially.
1 Corinthians 13:11 shows us the process. It says “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
1 Peter 2:2, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation…”
Putting old practices behind us, in order to grow up, requires discipline. It is a choice we make so our growth does not become stunted. Accomplishing small things, with faithfulness, will build the lifestyle we should have in order to move past our childish ways.
Although I have learned to walk and I don’t have to practice it any longer, I have other areas of growth that God shows me. Other areas where I have been challenged to put my childish ways behind me. For instance, when I want a clean house, I cannot go to bed with dirtiness around me. As much as I would like it, I will not wake up to spotless rooms. I have to go room to room, accomplishing a little at a time. I have to exhibit faithfulness in each task before I can enjoy the fruits of a clean house.
In the spiritual sense, I will not understand God or His ways, if I do not practice the discipline of learning my Bible. I must spend time reading it daily, taking baby steps towards growth, before I will have spiritual maturity. Once again, it is a choice.
2 Peter 1: 5-8 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Baby steps to build upon. One at a time, until you are walking or running towards mature knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consistent growth prevents ineffective and unproductive behavior. Those negative realities will cause you to become lukewarm rather than hot, in your relationship with Christ. There is no such thing as “just being”.
God commands that if His children love Him, they will obey what He commands. If you obey, there will be growth. If you disobey, you will be lukewarm and stuck in childish ways. God is very clear about this in Revelation 3:15-17.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
It is important to realize what state we are really in. I want to be spiritually hot! I want to be a woman who has forsaken all childish ways in order to pursue the things that can be added up and built upon in the heavenly realms. Through God’s power, I will learn to take steps. I will pray for faithfulness so my steps can turn into a fluid walking motion. Walking will turn into running because that is what growth does, it pushes the positive behavior forward.
Whether you are crawling right now or well into your marathon training, there is always room to grow up towards our Heavenly Father. Let’s build on that together!