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No Longer Children

Ephesians 4:14, 15 We must no longer be children, …we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.

Everybody (or most everybody) loves children, especially babies.  However, for someone to remain permanently a child is a tragic situation.  I’ve know several—a next-door neighbor, a cousin.

Yet some Christians seem to believe that all we want is to record spiritual births—have people born again, converted, accept Jesus.  That is also tragic.  Most don’t survive very long and even if they do God is not satisfied.  Rather, God wants each one to “grow up.”  The New Testament has much to say about the importance of growth in the Christian life– “become mature”, “no longer be infants”, “grow up into …Christ”.

It is silly to believe that the Christian Disciple is to live her/his whole life just where she/he started.  Yet some seem to try to do that and it is one of the major problems that we face in the Church.  The late preacher, Sam Shoemaker wrote: “It is not the strength of our enemies that holds us back.  It is our own weakness.  The church’s best people who will learn no more and move no further, nor faster—are our stumbling block.”

The basic duty of a child is to grow out of childhood. Spiritually, to remain a perpetual child is sin and death.

Spiritual Children among adults wreck havoc.  Like children they tend to be unsettled, flighty, subject to novelty and the latest fad.  The Bible describes them as “tossed to and fro” like a small sail boat on the sea.  They are like the character, “Mr. Facing Bothways,” in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.  Susceptible to outside influences, given to “eccentric individualism” and egotism they demand center stage from the world.   True spiritual weaklings, they suck strength from the body.

The causes are well known—disease (Bible calls it sin), lack of nourishing food (the “pure spiritual milk” of God’s word), lack of exercise (service), and rest (renewal).

The cure—through what are called the classic “spiritual disciplines”—worship, giving, community, service comes from surrendering to what has been called the “Growth Principle.”  This is a great Biblical concept expressed by the little word, “LET.”       Growth is the natural, normal experience of a healthy child.

You are invited on this life-long adventure of learning, growth, and maturing in “the grace and knowledge of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” And one day we will become “like Him.”

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