Oh Grow Up!

March 19, 2013

Have you ever looked back at the pictures you have of you when you were a freshman in High School? Do you remember how grown up you thought you were?

I have a picture of me in a leisure suite with a big bow tie, and high heeled shows. My hair was split down the middle and wigged out on both sides above my ears. Yep. It pays to be around the day the clown dies.

I recall feeling, not only, dashing, stylish and cool, but I actually thought that I looked old. I was positive that 17-year-old girls probably wondered who the new senior was. I was my illusion.

I’m not really embarrassed by the picture because, in 1974 a pale blue leisure suit was stylish and somewhat cool. If I still wore my hair the same way today however, I would have cause for embarrassment. Style has moved on past the 70’s. It moved past the Bee Gees, permed Afro’s for white guys, and the over-heightened shoes. My ankles, record player and mirror have all expressed gratitude to me in writing.

Spiritually, I have also moved on. I have grown in my understanding of God’s grace, love, sacrifice, provision and expectation for my life. In short, I am living each day in pursuit of a deeper, richer, more faithful and anticipatory faith than the one I understood as a freshman.

Someday, I will write a book about the adolescent faith I see expressed by life-long believers. I will call it , “Stalled At Fourteen.”

I know some people who are stalled at the developmental age of 14. What that means is that they have not progressed emotionally, mentally or spiritually since their freshman year in High school and their lives reflect that. Their church politics reflect it. Their commitment to evangelism, giving, service, sacrifice and discipline reflects it. Frankly, our commitments to Church, marriage, missions and Bible study, you know, the old fashioned stuff, reflects it. They will not: simply refuse to work at their faith.

The pervading sentiment among most Christians that I encounter is that my mediocrity is what God is happy with. He should be happy that I made it to church. He should be happy for a twenty in the offering plate. God should be pleased if I occasionally help out by ushering, working the nursery or painting a church in the third world once a decade. The fact is, that we have looked at ourselves in the spiritual mirror and congratulated ourselves for looking so grown up in our leisure suit. God saw it coming.

In 1 Corinthians chapter three, Paul scolds the immature church in Corinth for the mentality that I have sometimes. He said, in verse 2,  “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.”

Some of you may be inclined to yell, “Wait! We are supposed to be like babies in our faith! In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Somebody else may say, “Yes! And don’t forget that in 1 Peter 2:2, God said,  “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,” 

Yep. It is true that we all start faith like babies. I wonder if it isn’t time to move past diapers and bottles. It is time to move beyond the Bee Gees and the pale blue leisure suit. We don’t really look as mature as we think.

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