1:07 am and I’m wide awake. Not by choice, but it is what it is.
I woke up thinking–remembering, really–how as a child I desperately wanted to “grow up”; to be a grown up. I couldn’t wait to “become an adult”, although I rarely thought about it in those turns. I mostly thought about it in terms of being a “grown up”. I think sometimes, now, as I watch my kids growing faster and faster each day, that in my haste to grow up–to get bigger, to have more control of my life, I missed out on some “kid things”; or I didn’t have or take the time to enjoy them.
This leads me to thinking about being a new believer in Christ. Really, the subject of spiritual maturity has been on my mind for several days now. It’s a strange thing, spiritual maturity. And I can’t really wrap my mind around it. I find myself so desperately wanting to be “grown up” in the faith. I don’t like this strange place that I’m at in regards to being a follower of Christ. I want to hurry and get to a place of spiritual maturity, where I quit making foolish mistakes. Where God can use me (understanding that God can use anybody). Where I don’t doubt so much. This is something that has really perplexed and even bothered me over the past several days.
Why doesn’t God, once someone becomes a follower of His, grant that person instant spiritual maturity? Wouldn’t that make more sense and further His kingdom better? Would it not prevent doubt and immature mistakes in regards to scripture interpretation, behavior and the like? But it seems that God has not chosen to do so. How do I know this? Because I can look at my own life and see where, since becoming a believer, I have fallen and failed over and over and over again. I can see mistakes that I wish I had never made, scripture interpretation that I now understand to not be truth, and selfish behavior likened unto that which you would see in a child.
I look at those who have been Christians for many years, and I’ll admit–I envy them. Sinful as it is, I envy their longevity of walking with God. How I wish I had become a believer sooner in life rather than later…..so that I would have their kind of maturity and longevity, their experience with scripture and prayer and watching God answer. Their lack of doubt, understanding though that doubt can occur at any stage of a Christian’s life.
This is a hard thing for me. Maybe it is for you, too. Because I’m ashamed of the many times that I fail God. I’m ashamed at the many times I miss the opportunity for serving God and others. I’m ashamed at my lack of knowing what to do with these new-found passions and priorities and feelings and teachings. I want God to be proud of me, and yet, like I have alluded to, all to often I stumble and fall.
But when I was awakened an hour or so ago, remembering wanting to be grown up so badly as a child and it seeming to take forever, it reminded me of this new path I am on. I want to be “grown up” in Christ, yet it seems to be taking forever. What do I do with that? What do you do with that, if you experience the same kind of growing pains that I seem to be experiencing?
I don’t ever want to be content or complacent about where I am in following Christ. I spent much of 2013 in stagnation–a year somewhat wasted–not complete, but somewhat. I want to always be moving forward, not backward like I find myself doing.
This topic reminds me of verses I learned in James when I taught that study this past year. James 1:2-4 state:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
James here is discussing the trials that a believer will come into that will test their faith. Testing of faith produces endurance. And endurance has a perfect result: that we may someday be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. Spiritual maturity.
But the more I think about that, the more I realize that I’ll not reach that level of spiritual maturity until I am in heaven with God. It is then that I will be made perfect and complete. Lacking in nothing. So what do I do in the mean time?
The only answer I can come up with is to continue to be consistent in spiritual disciplines such as scripture work and prayer. Immerse myself in sound, Biblical teaching. And–unlike when I was a little girl and missed out on some “little girl stuff” by wanting so badly to be a grown up–I should now want to relish in this journey toward spiritual maturity.
Yes, I’ll always be anxious to be further along. But I don’t want to miss out on something I’m supposed to be learning now, either.
1 Thessalonians 3:8-10 states: 8 For now we live, if you are standing fast in the Lord. 9 For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, 10 as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
I think these are important verses that relate to this subject. I want to be standing fast in my Jesus. And as believers, we need to pray earnest prayer that we might see other believers–maybe those “younger” in the faith than we are, to help supply what may be lacking in their faith, through teaching and prayer.
I want to be spiritually mature. I want to “grow up”. But most of all, I want to not fail my God. I want to be able to hear Him say to me one day: “Well Done!” And I want to help others, as well, as they journey toward spiritual maturity in Christ.