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Friday, September 30, 2011

Thank You God for Making Things Grow

I learned, long ago, that it is possible for a "grown up" to act immature or childish (Genesis 25: 30-34), and on occasion, children can act wiser than their years (Matthew 21: 15, 16; Mark 10: 13-15) .  Age does not grant wisdom or automatically make us role models.  Height doesn't make us "bigger" people.

This was a tough realization for a kid who so desperately aspired to be "grown up."  It seemed that older people knew everything and had everything.  Was this "grown up" quality a skill I needed to master, like jumping rope?  I never was that coordinated, and I had little faith that I would remember to do the right things at the right time--there were always so many rules to remember.

What made some people grow up, while others stayed behind?

In my prayers, I've felt God telling me that humans have been given great skill to reason and teach, but that He alone can make people grow (1 Corinthians 3: 7).  God makes us grow in stature and physical maturity, but more importantly, He makes us grow in spiritual maturity.  The first is something we aren't likely to willfully resist.  It hurts to refuse to eat, or to walk around with a brick on our head!  The second can only happen if we willfully submit to it.  We don't gain spiritual maturity without making the conscious decision to obey God, no matter what.  We have to decide to let Him grow us!  That is difficult.

I am far from being as "grown up" as I always wanted to be.  First of all, I never got as tall as I wanted to be.  Now the only physical growth I can achieve is horizontal, if you know what I mean.  More importantly, I'm not as mature spiritually as I know I should be.  I still have limited faith, limited hope, limited patience, and weak perseverance.  When I forget this and believe I have it all under control, God patiently reminds me of these weaknesses and calls me again to listen to Him and trust what He says.  I know that if I go to Him, through these challenges God will make me grow--and that's what I want.  As James wrote, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything, " (James 1: 2-4 NIV).

That's my prayer for all of us today--that we will continue to be challenged by God, and bow our knee to the challenge, so He can make us grow into something we both can be proud of.  Through dying (to ourselves, and our sinful inclinations), we can grow in the Lord. 
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.  Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.   Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.  Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me." (John 12: 23-26 NIV)
Can we aspire to be "grown up" in the Lord, today?