Four Ways To Grow Up

Little babies need to grow into maturity so that the Church can be what she should be.

The other day I was waiting in the checkout line at the supermarket and there was this kid in the other line, about two years old I suspect, howling in his baby stroller.

He seemed to be wailing for general principles because his mother didn’t seem worried. I tried to figure out what was wrong but nothing was obvious. He still cried, even after his mother lifted him from the stroller, so I think he was enjoying his tears.

Or maybe he was punishing her for waiting so long to pick him up.

I wondered what my Granddad Deloney, the disciplinarian, would have said. “If I he was my kid he wouldn’t be crying like that.” Granddad’s bark may have been worse than his bite because I don’t think he ever even spatted me. But, he had his bluff in and I was pretty good around him.

I used to worry about what became of spoiled kids like the one I saw in the supermarket—would they end up in prison? I don’t worry too much about it anymore. I’ve seen some real brats turn out to be fine adults.

What worries me much more is when an adult constantly howls and acts like a kid.

Christian Brats

Imagine that you hear a yowling, and when you look into the stroller you see that the whiner has whiskers with a stogie in his mouth. You’d agree that things need to change.

Often we hear Christians talk about how they snuggle up to the Lord when they’ve got problems, like a child snuggles his mother. That’s all good but I don’t believe the final goal that God has for us is cuddling all day long.

God’s goal for us? He wants us to be adult sons capable of running the business.

Look at Silas in Acts 15:34. When his fellow messenger went back to Jerusalem, he decided to stay in Antioch.  “It seemed good to Silas…” It doesn’t say, “He fasted and prayed and God revealed he was to stay in Antioch.” Silas was a big boy in the Lord. He didn’t spend his time whining, but he prayed, listened to the teaching of the Word and tried to walk in a way that pleased God.

And when the time came for a decision, this grown-up son had a real feeling for what God wanted without having to have a giant revelation.

The early Church leaders didn’t do it that way every time, but often they did. Sometimes it “seemed good” to the leaders of the church. And when He wanted them to go in a way that didn’t seem evident God might sent a dream: “come over and help us.”

Or He might direct them by a vision or something else. But, that was the exception rather than the norm. They were spiritual adults and God trusted them.

Are you howling and whining or are you becoming responsible in the House of God? Grow up. Quit griping. Become an adult son that God can trust with the business, a son who has been taught what the Father wants and doesn’t have to be re-told each day.

Four Ways To Grow Up

How do you arrive at that point? Well, Paul gives some good direction in Ephesians 4:11-18.

–>Get in a place where the leaders teach you how to grow to resemble Jesus (4:11-13), leaders who will tell you the truth from God’s Word and not just those who scratch behind your ears to make you feel good (4:15)

–>Quit running after every new spiritual fad, every new doctrine.(4:14)

–>Find out what role you’re supposed to play in God’s Church and get busy doing it. The Church can never be all that God designed it to be as long as parts of it are pouting instead of working and ministering (4:16).

–>Let God’s Spirit help you banish sin from your life and begin to live like the Lord wants you to live (4:18, 19)

Hey little one. Snuggling is nice and even grown up sons enjoy giving dad a hug and spending time just talking to him, but if you’re old enough to be shaving, God expects you to get out of the stroller and get busy doing the things He created you to do.

“He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.

No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. (Eph. 4:11-18, The Message)

Hmmm …

“Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone – except God,” Billy Graham says. “Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control.

“My heart aches for America and its deceived people,” Graham continues. “The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance. In Jonah’s day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower – wealthy, unconcerned, and self-centered. When the Prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s warning, people heard and repented.” (Billy Graham quoted in the Christian Post)

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