Growing up for a reason

“And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.”  1 Cor. 3:1

Pr. 11:30 reminds us that, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.”  It is hard to win souls when we’re still babes in Christ.

Babies need almost constant attention.  When they’re not sleeping they need to be fed, held, cleaned, and kept safe.

There comes a time in our spiritual journey that we must make the decision to grow up.  We must begin feeding and caring for ourselves, not depending on others to provide us with everything.  We must learn to trust God to hold us and clean us up, not expecting others around us to be the ones who do so.

Of course, we all have moments when we need the love and care of those around us; however, when we find that we need that almost constantly it is an indication that perhaps we are still behaving as babes.

Jesus commissioned us to go into all the world preaching and baptizing.  Solomon reminded us that winning souls is the wise thing to do.  In order to do these things, we must have something to offer.

Babies are born helpless and have almost nothing to offer others.  They have to learn and grow so that they can begin contributing to the world around them.  Likewise, we must continue to grow in our trust in God and in our knowledge of Him so that we have something to offer those around us who are truly in need.

The best place to start is…drum roll, please…the Word.  When we begin feeding ourselves the Bread of Life each day, we are beginning to grow up and care for ourselves.

Once we get used to feeding ourselves, we can begin cleaning ourselves up through prayer.  Asking God for forgiveness and direction cleans us up and gives us wisdom for our next steps.  Thanking God for His blessings causes us to become grateful, which is a very grown up attribute.

With these skills, we will then find ourselves running to God to be held.  We will have grown in our understanding of who our Provider, Comforter, Helper, Deliverer, and Savior truly is.  We will know that when we need help the most, the safest, most dependable place to run is to the arms of our Father in heaven.

Armed with all this knowledge, we can then teach others that these same things are true.  We can point them to the same Father, who gives us the safety to be His baby, and the wisdom to grow into spiritual adults.

Growing up alongside you,

jamie

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Learning even more

Pr. 9:9:  “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” 

So, the reason I’ve been MIA for a few days is that I fractured my tibial plateau on Tuesday night.  (the top of my shin bone)  Everything has been taking 3 times as long to do, so I’m just starting to adjust.

For the next 6 weeks I cannot put Any weight on my leg.  Here on day 3 (only 5 weeks and 4 days to go!!), I am noticing something beautiful taking place.  Although I have casually taught my children how to do laundry, sweep, etc., they are now going to get a deeper experience with it as they help out around the house.

This morning my son not only cleaned up his mess, but put everything exactly where it should be without me reminding him to do so.

My children are wise.  They know how to do quite a bit.  What I am witnessing and realizing now, however, is that by the end of this 6 weeks, they will be much wiser and much more capable of taking care of themselves and our house.  They are going to grow in ways they otherwise would not have.

This is how it is with the Lord.  No matter how much we know about the Lord, His word, and His precepts, the more we dig and study the more we will learn.  His wisdom will continue to fill us throughout our lives.  When we are willing to be taught, we will continue to learn.

Maybe we have read the parable of the wicked vinedressers 84 times.  We may have read the book of Galatians through every few months for the last 20 years of our lives.  There may be times when we find ourselves mindlessly speed-reading through them, but the truth is…we can always learn more from the Word of God.  Because His Word does not return to Him void, there is always something to glean from it.

If we find ourselves casually reading the Word, we can ask the Lord to help us give a deeper experience by taking more responsibility upon ourselves for what we’re learning.  Perhaps we need to find someone who needs to be instructed.  That may cause us to look for more wisdom as we read.  Things we never noticed in those scriptures will suddenly have new meaning.

Maybe there is some kind of ministry for which we need to become responsible.  Learning God’s word to ensure we are filled with Him in order to pour Him out onto others will cause our study time to become more intentional.

Maybe our light has just grown a bit dim.  Reading with the goal of raising the wattage in our light that shines for Him may help us to take on a bit more responsibility with our study time.

Like my kids, maybe it’s the time in our lives when we need to learn more, dig deeper, and grow in ways we didn’t realize we were ready for.  Perhaps now is the time when God has something even more for you…and for me.

Growing with you,

jamie

Training them

Pr. 22:6:  “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

When I went to church this morning, I tried to type a post about this verse, but my wi-fi on my phone wasn’t working very well.  I am glad it wasn’t.  The Lord changed what I needed to say during my time at church.

My Sunday school class was on my mind when I woke up this morning and this verse made me think of them even more; and of my job as their teacher.  Occasionally I wonder if it matters.  This verse reminds me that it does.  As I minister to these 4th graders each week I am training them in the way they should go.  Like training a vine to grow in the direction you desire, we are all training children to go a certain way.  I have been charged with caring for these certain children and I must take my job very seriously, as it has eternal consequences.

I want the children in my Sunday school class to head towards the Lord, therefore I must train them and guide them towards Him.  To encourage growth I have to prune them to get the unwanted or dead growth from their lives.  (the things of this world that don’t truly matter)  To point them in the right direction I must attach the Word of God upon them to hold them in place.  To encourage that they continue on the right path I must pray with them and for them.  I am also encouraging them to pray for one another as they journey together towards the Lord.

Each Sunday I am giving them all the care and attention I can to ensure healthy growth that ends at the only place that matters—with their Savior, the true Vine.  Today we learned a lesson on patience, played games, shared personal concerns, and then I taught them how to look up scriptures in their Bibles.  These things may not seems glamorous while in the classroom with distracted students; however, they couldn’t be more important.  I am helping to equip people to grow in their spiritual maturity throughout the rest of their lives.  I am trusting that God will do the rest once they leave me, and that truly when they are old they will not depart from the truths they are learning even now.

It’s never to late to train, but your example is the loudest teacher.  Stay strong in the Lord and continue your journey.  God will bring the harvest.  What you are doing matters!

Lord, bless my students today and throughout this week.  Let them hear your voice and feel your touch each week as they grow under my care.  Let them remember the truth of Your Word that we learn each week and help them to continue to apply it to their lives.  Lord, please help me not to grow weary in well-doing but to remember that one day You will reap the harvest of their souls.

Happy Gardening!

jamie