“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” —1 Corinthians 13:11
“I’m big,” a child claims at the age of 5.
“I’m big,” the same child says at age 9.
“I’m mature,” the 21-year-old says.
“I’m old,” the 45-year-old moans as he looks in the mirror.
Truth be told, we’re all still growing. None of us has “arrived.” Those of us who think we’ve arrived may be the ones most in need of further journeying.
The apostle Paul observed how people advance over time in matters of spiritual education. “I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly — mere infants in Christ,” he said in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2. “I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.”
The writer of Hebrews lived with the same reality, trying to explain certain spiritual truths: “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. 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!” (Hebrews 5:11-12).
Both passages seem to say, “Hurry up and learn!”
Growth comes from grappling with the biblical principles of mercy, honest dialogue, accountability, and others.
If I want the richest, fullest possible life, I must do the hard work of growing up. “Show me your ways, O Lord,” David said in Psalm 25, “teach me your paths … guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” David recognized that he had to lay down his pride in order to truly grow.
Spiritual growth — in spite of the pain that the process may entail — will be good for me AND good for the people around me!
My prayer this week: God, don’t let me off easy — keep growing me, molding me, making me more like Jesus. Help me become everything you’ve dreamed of me becoming, by your power and your Spirit!