Every good husband shares the load regarding house work and it was during a recent stretch of folding laundry that I found myself thinking of the “Most Interesting Man in the World”. (Yes I know, your shocked to hear that it’s not me.) The commercials always show or speak of him in the most unrealistic ways and doing laundry just may be one of the most unrealistic things a women could find a man doing. If given the chance, I’m sure some wives would write the catch line for that commercial as follows, “Whenever a man does or folds the laundry, he never does it right.” Regardless, I was giving it my best when the remarkable happened that left me reflecting on God’s word.
As I was folding I ran into a rather familiar problem. The father of a tall 13 year old daughter, I’m no longer able to tell the difference between my daughter’s clothes and her mothers. With my wife being over 6 feet tall and now my daughter almost 6 feet tall, I’m often left having to ask one of them the question of “Is this yours?” I don’t say this to indicate frustration as I find it very comical at this point. Matter of fact, I feel more pride than anything else. We are so blessed to be raising a daughter who continues to mature into the God fearing women we pray her to be; a result most parents pray for but sadly, for some, doesn’t happen.
Some youth just never seem to want to grow up. Actions speak louder than words they say and statistics are showing, as is the media, this reality. The growth issue can be seen through all generations and Christians are not immune. Growth and maturity issues have plagued Christians and the church throughout the centuries. The proverbial 1 step forward, 2 steps backwards is seen often. For some it may be 10 steps forward, 1 step back and it is that step that could be the undoing were it not for the grace of God in Christ.
Life is about growth. It is of the utmost importance when it comes to God’s children and his church. Scriptures referring to the vine, pruning and God being the enabler for growth shed the light on this. (For reference see John 15 v 5, John 15 v 2, 1 Corinthians 3 v 6 – 7). But as with the physical, there are things that have the power to stunt growth. With growth being an issue for early believers and churches, we can learn a lot from history if we are to avoid repeating it.
The book of Hebrews is a New Testament book whose author is unknown. It is a letter written to encourage its readers, those considering leaving the faith in the face of great persecution. To stay firm in the truth that Christ was and is who he said he was, who they have been waiting for. Hebrews 5 and 6 provide great insight into what was hindering there growth, creating the room for doubt. In sadness, I believe the writer indicates the following in Hebrews 5 v 11: “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.”
In reading the words above I can’t help but feel the emotion; even more so when looking at my own life as well as the church of my time. The writer explains further in Hebrews 5 v 12: “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” I take this thought and the revelation of the believers not even trying to understand to mean that they may have had the following problems:
- A poor prayer life (Hebrews 10 v 22)
- Neglect of the daily and diligently searching of the scriptures. That they had forgotten (Hebrews 12 v 4).
I would even go so far as to say that they may also have gotten away from the frequent fellowship together (Hebrews 12 v 25), that those of Acts 2 as well as believers present day benefit from.
Growth was also an issue for the church in Corinth, (See 1 Corinthians 3), and this same lack of growth affects believers and churches today. It’s no wonder to me that these early believers were considering abandoning their faith; if some had not already done so. The enemy was taking full advantage of their weakened state and I have to ask, is he taking advantage of yours? Are you feeling weak? Are you or have you considered abandoning your faith? If you can relate, let me encourage you by saying that God can bring the change. He can, as Isaiah 41 v 17 – 20 indicates, bring life to what was once considered dead. To maximize yours and ours potential, with faith as the enabler.
It takes faith to believe what we believe and even more to live it out. If you are in need of first time faith or maybe just a greater portion, I have good news, I know where it can be found. Ephesians 2 v 8 reveals faith is a gift from God alone. Romans 10 v 17 says, it is given to those who hear his word; all we need do is ask. Ask our loving father to give us, as Jesus says in Mark 4 v 9, ears to hear. And once we’ve heard; once the seed of faith has been planted; that we would take those steps to sure up that which we know to be true.
In providing discipline to the believers of Rome and/or Palestine, the writer of Hebrews is quick to illustrate a key to our growth and maturity. Hebrews 5 v 4 states: “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” In stating this we can determine that maturity comes not in ones sitting back or watching from the sidelines as was the problem for the Thessalonian church. It is in the living out of our faith that the growth comes. That as we pray, consume scripture, help the needy and if the Lord wills it heal, we would not be living a life to ritual but, as stated in 2 Corinthians 3 v 18,”And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
To closing, I can’t help thinking about my own time as a youth. All I wanted was to grow up and I hear this from young people all the time. With adulthood come the opportunities. As an adult I often find myself thinking the opposite; a sentiment older people often share. The reality is, as Christian’s we are always growing. The pursuit of growing up is always before us and we’ll never fully mature until we are home. That truth keeps me young and I pray that it does for you also. That you would again look forward to the day when you are all grown up.
God Bless – Sean Bosse