“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
~1 Corinthians 13:11
There is a normal cycle in our human existence. We all go through a span of life development.
We are born into this life as a helpless baby. We mature into a child, adolescent, and adult. Even our adulthood is filled with a maturing process. We go from being young adults to middle adulthood. Finally we become an elder. While this process is a natural one, there is also a spiritual process of development that we all must go through. Yet there is a slight difference in the two.
The natural process of development takes place without our participation. Every year we grow older, age, and change. Life’s situations and circumstances cause us to develop, even in our minds. Our brains change, developing the essential qualities needed to live a healthy life. Yet, the spiritual process is not the same.
As an adult that is a newly saved Christian, we are a new creature in Christ. This means that we are born again and a babe in Christ. After spending time in relationship with God through His word, we begin to mature. However, this process of maturing requires more than what is required in our natural lives.
What I mean is that as a Christian ages, this is not equivalent to their level of spiritual maturity. However God calls us to a place in Him where we go from being a child in Christ to being a young man or woman in Christ. After that it is important that we begin to mature into an elder in the body of Christ. In the body of Christ, new babes are always being born and we are called to help train them for service and for their lives in this earth. (Titus 2:3-5) Yet we cannot do this if we stay babes ourselves.
This process of becoming spiritually mature requires our participation. In the scripture above, Paul distinguishes some of the changes that take place. He says that when he became a man, he put away childish things. We must put away from us speaking as a child. We must be willing to take the time necessary to acquire the understanding of a spiritually mature adult so that we no longer understand as a child. Even our thoughts have to change from being childish to being spiritually mature, thinking on the things that are pleasing to God and replenishing to our spirit.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8
This is one of our first steps.
We must change the way we think. We cannot do this on our own. Instead, we have to allow God’s word to permeate our beings. As we do, we will renew our minds and change the way we think. (Roman 12:2)
We also have to change what we do. It is not enough to simply read the word of God. We have to do it. We have to decided that if our lives conflict with the word of God, we will bring things to a clear resolve by doing what the word says. (James 1:22)
In all of this, it is important that we seek to build a relationship with God, in faith as a changed individual. (Hebrews 10:22)
We all want to be our best. We want to be good wives, mothers, daughters, friends, aunts, sisters, cousins…you name it…we want to be our best. If we want this, we have to do what it takes to be that. We have to afford ourselves the opportunities to be our best. Yet, when we do not pursue the things of God, we rob ourselves and those in our lives of experiencing us at our best.
I hope this message comes across in a way that blesses you. I have found that being my best means saying no to some things and yes to others. I have to trust God at His word and do what He says, so that my life can be a reflection of His love. It might be challenging, but when we look back and see how far we have come, it will all be worth it.
As we bring this week to a close, let’s think about the things we can change in our lives. What are new habits to build and old ones to break? How can our relationship with God and others be better? What is our relationship with the Word of God?
Basically, let’s do some evaluating so that we will be ready tomorrow to start a new week, moving forward spiritually.